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A Bunch of Battlers

telephone at the Ranger Station so that he could contact his
brother to come out from Mildura and pick up the family later
that evening.
Pete, Robyn, and Billy waved good-bye to the family and Pete
said with a sigh of relief as the taillights disappeared down the
track“Thankgoodnessthoseadultsweretooworriedabout
their own losses to even think of asking about our parents. I
reckon that tomorrow we should shift camp to a spot between
the river and the lake – awayfromanywalkingtrackswhereit’sa
bitmoreprivateThedayafterthatI’llgointoMildura”
At 5am the day was already warm and Pete had no need of a
sweater as he pedalled along the sandy track that led to the main
tarred road to Mildura. In the half light kangaroos hopped
frequently across his path. By 7am the sun was strong and the
kangaroos had gone toshelterfromtheday’sheat
His hazards now were the occasional dreaming motorist.
Soon after eight am he rode past the last of the orchards and
vineyardsonthecity’sedgeandintothewelltraffickedstreets
At a cool, green, shady park Pete refilled his water bottles, had a
wash, and changed into clean clothes. Next he went to a milkbar
for a second breakfast.
A while later Pete collected the mail at the post office, and with a
feeling of mounting excitement he found his way to the
Employment Service office.
“Sixteenyearsoldson?Bitonthesmallsidearen’tyer?Shrunk
inthewashdidja?”theclerkbehindthecounterhadafeeble
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