Gary Blinco: Author
A short explanation for our non-Australian readers
Most of our families who migrated to Australian spelt their name as either Blencowe or Blinco very few variations exist even to today. Almost all obtained land and became farmers for the first couple of generations. Hence when you hear the term the bush it means a rural area, town was the nearest business centre-either a village or township and the big smoke referred to a city such as Sydney Melbourne or Brisbane. Rural Australians still live in the bush and go to town for supplies but instead of the big smoke we go to the city. With the quest for further education and good jobs the number of Blencowes and Blincos now living in cites would outnumber those in the bush.
The Book: Down a Country Lane
Gary Blinco is a descendant of Alfred Blinco who migrated to Queensland Australia from Hedgerley in 1850. Garys parents, Norman, a poorly educated jack of all trades and his wife, Grace purchased a small farm growing vegetables on the Darling Downs in 1948. They travelled there by horse and wagon with the courage to face the challenges of the bush. The large, ever expanding family existed in poor and very primitive circumstances for those days.
Gary's book, Down a Country Lane, portrays a harsh childhood more akin to a family growing up between the wars rather than in the 1950s and 60s. Things I took for granted such as electricity and hot running water, school and motor transport were not part of his life.
Gary flourished in the freedom of his isolated existence and the magic quality of the untamed bush. He worked alongside his siblings and parents from dawn to dusk eking out a meagre living just to put food on the table. Life was tough and the pleasures simple.
Gary yearned for more. His parents made no effort to send the children to school however, the "government" got wind of the fact and the elder children were made to go to school, leaving Gary to be chief farm hand. He'd spend hours trying to teach himself to read from his sibling's books finding that comics provided word association with the pictures. Gary was 11 when he finally got to attend school and left again by aged 14. As a student he focussed on improving himself and did amazingly well.
Being conscripted to the Army in 1967 during the National Service era presented adult education opportunities which Gary extended into the regular army after completion of the National Service. Over 13 years of service he completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, the first of which is graphically covered in the book. It is here we see firsthand Gary's personal development. By 1986, after a obtaining a string of academic qualifications Gary occupied a senior position in a large financial institution in Brisbane.
Gary Blinco has written five books, covering several genres. I chose to read Down a Country Lane as being autobiographical, it recounts challenges and hardships of an isolated lifestyle similar to what many of our Blencowe immigrants would have endured, all be it the earlier generations, as they pioneered many areas of the Australian bush.
Although I read the book from the historical point a view, I should not over look the sensitive character portrayal of his father, Norm. "My father always had a vision. Unfortunately the vision was generally a moving target and was therefore never something he could run to ground; but he was always after a new idea to make money."
I did have a problem with some coarse language but he was telling it as it was. Garys books published by Zeus Publications are available in many libraries and online as ebooks http://www.gary-blinco-books.webcentral.com.au/