In 1966 a 17 year old English migrant arrives in Australia seeking a new life. His passage has been smoothed by Australian authorities he is a 10 pound migrant. He finds lodgings in a Sydney boarding house close to the centre of the city. The House is full of boys like him. Some are migrants from all over the world while others are Australian drawn to the ‘big smoke' for work and experience.
The English boy quickly finds work and fits into the daily routine of the house; working, eating, sleeping and waiting for the weekend. On Saturdays the boys go out exploring, dancing, looking for girls. They roam a hive of nightclubs, strip joints and eateries. It is full of exotic people and its history of danger goes back a hundred years. Long a haven for sailors on shore leave it is now flushed with a new breed – US Servicemen on R&R from Vietnam.
The world is changing and change is catching up ‘down under'. Some change is small and annoying, pounds to dollars. Others seem small but have greater impact. The first Australian soldiers to serve in Vietnam are coming home. Not home to a heroes welcome as their grandfathers and fathers did but to antiwar demonstrations and abuse as they march through the streets.
Each boy in the House is there for a different reason each has a story to tell and share. But soon after his arrival the English boy sees them start to leave. They find new jobs, they go home happy or disillusioned. Some new faces take their place but only for a few weeks. The House begins to empty and the English boy is soon without companions. He still finds his new home strange and confusing not what he expected. What was easy before becomes a daily struggle.
The review of this Book prepared by Derek Smith