Election day made history
We knew it was going to be what I would call an interesting day.
I have been involved in the Labor movement and its campaigns in various places since the early 1960s but we knew this would be a difficult day.
I decided to go back to my old home base for the day.
I grew up in Park Ave so I spent most of the day working (no, enjoying myself) at the entrance to the Park Ave polling booth in Tung Yeen St.
As usual, the locals came in their hundreds to vote, some very old like the 94-year-old lady who has lived in her Cowap St home since it was built in the early '50s, some in their blue singlets and thongs, many with their children.
They all came.
A lady - whose hair was mostly grey and not styled in some smart salon, in her badly fitting dress, which did not come from a fashion shop, and her equally old black shoes - took her how-to-vote card from me.
She put her hand above her eyes to shade them from the sun and fixed her steely eyes on mine.
"I've voted Labor all my life and I ain't going to change now," she said.
Some words of a poem Henry Lawson wrote in the great 1889 Queensland shearers strike came to me:
I've wept with them in strikers camps,
Where shivered man and beast,
I've worn since then the badge of men,
Of hell! And London East!
White faces by the flaring torch!
Wraith wives! -the slaves of Fat!
And ragged children in the rain-
Yes! - I'm too old to rat.
She came out from voting and I noticed she did not limp as badly as when she was walking in.
She handed me back the how-to card and touched my arm.
"Good luck," she smiled and walked away.
Whether you voted for the Australian Labor Party or not last Saturday, you will be able to tell your grandchildren, "I was there in March, 2012, when Rockhampton made history.
"I was there when Rocky did not rat."