I’m looking for Liberty Plains – L, I, B, E, R, . . .
No! Not the motel!
I know – it’s the first thing that comes up on Google!
How big is it?
Well – it stretches all the way from Parra Road
To the Cooks River
From Rookwood to the Hume High the way.
You see – it was sort of half-way between the bush
And the sea.
No – long time ago – when the British came and took the place over.
Yeah. Long time before you – you’re from the Middle East, right?
Apparently the duck shooting season then was MAD around here!
(I mime the action of shooting until I see the attendant kind of frowning)
It was a place where the bad guys hung out too!
Escapees from justice!
(By now I have let the ‘gun’ fall)
What’s that? No, I don’t when the motel was built!
(Part two) ON THE STREET
What is Liberty?
You are reflected in a shop window. You’ve got your lab coat on.
And your gloves –
What are you? – an anthropologist?!
Does anyone remember Liberty Plains?
You’re standing in it.
You’re looking at this house where the Mahmoods live now.
Which matches a picture from that book in the library.
You can walk through some fruit trees – planted by the Vaccarellas.
You hear the muezzin call
You could be in downtown Amman!
And I know – I’ve been there!
It’s probably the Gallipoli Mosque
An old man is approaching
Will I ask – ‘do you remember what used to be here?’
RUM CORP RAID
The dirt in the road is marked by the hoofprints of the Rum Corp . . .
If there is going to be rebellion we have to strike them tonight!
While they sleep! In the space that would become a cemetery
Best seen from this hill
Sorry – THAT hill that’s been flattened.
We’ll strike fear into their hearts like Black Caesar – one of the original
escapees out here, did. But we don’t have to rob farms like that spectre!
‘I didn’t see them come here – I was busy digging my spuds’
Settler Webb said. ‘I didn’t want any trouble. But my neighbor
he was a braggard! And look what it got him! They arrested him
and took him to town – leaving his wife and two children alone.’
Meantime I blink in alarm. A redcoat looks like he’s noticed me.
I’ve got a coot in each pocket of my coat – their necks are still
warm where I’ve wrenched them!
The sounds of bells – is it a wedding? – come to me as the redcoat approaches . . .
What could happen to a young man – if only he could be patient.
My father’s father’s father’s father was a Bligh sympathizer.
He came to evade Rum Corp rule and seek camouflage.