July 10, 2012
We’re just saying our farewells to the Post Office Hotel in Chillagoe, in the outback of Far North Queensland, and I’m telling Dorothy Lawler, the hotel’s 70-year-old part-time cook, that the coleslaw she made with the steaks we had the other night was the crunchiest and most delicious I’d ever eaten. (It’s a great place, Chillagoe. Go there!)
Dorothy says she’s off tomorrow to visit her 103-year-old mother for Mother’s Day. ‘Wow, that’s amazing. How many great-grandchildren does she have?’ I ask. Dorothy tries working it out by counting the number of brothers and sisters she has and what became of them: ‘…and there was Alan. He died of snakebite. Then there’s….’ ‘Wait. Alan died of snakebite? How old was he?’ ‘Fifteen,’ says Dorothy.
It happened in 1951…
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