near the sheep-strewn town where i was weaned, three surnames own thousands of gum-speckled acres. a blue-eyed blonde boy was my best mate. the majestic high-ceilinged homestead always cool in summer heat wide hallway cavernous pool room lawn tennis-court sculpted gardens etcetera where he resided stood against the old squatters’ cottage made of mud stones & sticks which grew into my family home. he was & remains a warm good-natured bloke like his father entitled without imperiousness. were they better farmers, harder workers than us. did they deserve their 4000 acres while we warranted 40 because instead of being a WWI infantry man inheriting a few rocky acres of land as pension for service my friend’s father’s grandfather happened to be surveyor for Angas one of those serious sepia-coloured big-sideburned men who divvied the state giving swathes to mates arrogantly ignoring millennia of occupation & ensuring the deck would remain stacked for generations
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