During a period of more than 60 years I have met and interacted with thousands of people. This website serves as an autobiography of my life, travels and work.
When I was about 9 years old I first started collecting articles and writing notes on subjects of interest to me. This activity had its roots in composition time in Grade 3 at West Launceston Primary School when I was eight. I started my proper diary when I was twelve and over the years I have kept up a fairly consistent recording system. I was always writing up stories and keeping records of births, deaths, marriages, fires, floods, pestilence and general family life. As I grew up and left home, got married, had kids, worked, played, prayed, grieved and overcame, the writing continued. It was the natural thing for me to do.
This website contains factual accounts of the mining side of my life. It focuses mainly on events that relate to mining and the life of a wandering geologist and his family. The diary excerpts that I am including are the ordinary continuous thread that you can skim read and relate to work, family and the day to day things. This helps keep the extraordinary events in perspective, and hopefully maintains a balance.
Other sources I reference are my work diaries, articles I have written for work publications, letters I’ve written or received and stories I’ve heard that I know are true. I have a big list of these stories in the back of each of my diaries. In my writings are the names of hundreds of people I’ve worked, played and prayed with and I haven’t edited out any, as names of people I know bring back memories.
Of course, even in diaries you absolutely cannot write without bias. The exact same event will be written up in a totally different perspective by two different people. It’s like viewing a house from different angles. I’ve included some of the writings of others to give perspective. The same travel diary as described by me, or Val, will be entirely different, as we have different things that turn us on and we view the world through a different set of previous experiences.
Many of the ways of living described in my journals as everyday happenings in life, such as climbing vertical ladders down the side of a 1.3 kilometre deep shaft without safety platforms, just would not happen today. Also, many other things we consider everyday occurrences were not common or even invented back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Things like TV, computers, calculators, jet planes, Playstation, microwave ovens, Ipods, mobile phones, portable radios, fast food outlets, cassette players and tapes, CDs, DVDs, air-conditioners, dishwashers, TV dinners, Block models, computerised ore reserves, underground jumbos, decline mines, mechanised selective mining in open pits and women working on mine sites.
Other things described in my journals still happen all the time and haven’t changed, if we open our eyes and look. The behaviour of nature — birds, animals and people, but people’s attitudes to them have changed remarkably over the last fifty years. There were no ‘greenies’, no swearing in public or on TV, no working on weekends, no sport on Sundays, no late night retail trading, no shopping complexes with cinemas, ANZAC Day and Australia Day holidays were always on the closest Monday. There was no daylight saving, no 38-hour working week, little casual work, few or no executive women, the police did not carry guns, but lots of people had guns at home, few killings, rapes and robberies, no home invasions, no litigious action, kids played in the street and mine sites, towers and building sites were unfenced. There was no such thing as ‘stranger danger’ no ADD, ADHD, RSI, CFS, PTSD, PMT, PMS, IVF, HR, cloning, Mr. I, CT scans, king-size beds, ensuites, four bedroom homes, ultrasound, contact lenses, gophers and street kids.
It’s a different world now and most of the fabric of the world of 50, or even 20 years ago has vanished.
Throughout my journals in this website I attempt to bring in my broad view of life, people and our planet. This becomes more evident in my writings after I stopped full time work and went ‘Rambling’. As I rambled, I wrote on all subjects as a therapy and for fun. Those selected and published relate mainly to mining and a couple of others are my observations of the world around us.
Of course, the views expressed on this website are purely my own and the people and events are not fictitious, but of course, are coloured by Bob Watchorn glasses.
The content in this website is set out roughly chronologically with some exceptions, where I include notes that I’ve written years later, when travelling through my old haunts, to give a backward perspective on some of the places I worked at. You’ve got a lot of fortitude if you attempt to read my publications like a novel.
I have had the following poem in the front of my diary for many years and it explains a bit of the attitude I’ve had to life!
— Bob Watchorn
TO TAKE A RISK
To laugh is to risk appearing the fool,
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental,
To expose feelings is to risk exposing your true self,
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowds is to risk their loss,
To love is to risk not being loved in return,
To live is to risk dying,
To hope is to risk despair,
To try is to risk failure,
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing, The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing and is nothing,
You may avoid suffering and sorrow, but you simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love or live,
Chained by your certitudes you are a slave,
You have forfeited freedom,
Only a person who risks is free.
— Author unknown