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A Bunch of Battlers

The little boy snuggled further into the corner seat and shutting
his eyes he began to plan his escape. In a few seconds he was fast
asleep.
Eleven year old Robyn glanced at Billy and smiled at the blonde-
haired child. He looked such a baby and so easily hurt. She
reminded herself of the great responsibility that was now hers-to
be both mother and sister to him, and hoped she could do the
job.
The events of the last month had left Robyn stunned. Ever since
Billy was three months old the children had lived with their only
grand-parents. Their parents had died in a car crash, and Robyn
scarcely remembered them. There had been little money but lots
of happiness in their home in the tiny valley. Peter and Robyn
rode their bikes each day over dirt tracks six kilometres to the
school. Billy was due to join them after these summer holidays.
But then the dreadful thing had happened.
A bout of Sars influenza had swept the district. The grand-
parents became very ill and were put into hospital, where they
died of pneumonia a few days later. The local authorities had
located some distant relatives who would take the children.
Neither the children nor the relatives, who lived in one of
Sydney’s‘better’suburbswereverykeenonthearrangement
Robyn just knew she could never cope in the big city.
PeterhadaplanHe’dbeenquietlyworkingonitforseveral
daysbuthedidnotwanttotelltheothersHedidn’twantthem
to be disappointed. Also he did not want the child welfare officer
to get even an inkling of the plan, or it would certainly be
stopped.
Peter had phoned his relative, Mr Bingham-Jones, from a
telephone box in the large country town where the children had
been staying for a few days while the welfare officer waited for
train day.
Peter had explained to Mr Bingham-Jones that he was getting a
job on a sheep and cattle station and that if it was alright with
himthey’dnotbecomingtoSydneyafterallMrBingham-Jones
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