Peter and John Twomey
Peter: “They called me socket”
The dogs were madly barking as the car wheels grated on the gravel. Going to the gate, I undid the clothes peg being used to keep it closed. Pushing passed the sign on the gate, ‘enter at own risk’ I looked down at the two terriers the sign referred to. They were excited at the newcomer and barked defiance at my intrusion. The old weatherboard home sat in the troughs of the Tumut hills and upon the verandah, the twin brothers rose from their seats to meet me. It was early and the mist hadn't quite cleared round their base. I wondered how many time these men had looked out to the view and if, even after all this time, it still awed them. They welcomed me up onto the porch.
Peter and John were born on the 18th of November 1937. Turning 81 this year, they still lived on the family farm, 200 acres just out of town. Their parents had been born here and although they felt like their contribution to the place had slowed and were “crashing a bit now”, the continuity was comforting. They and their two siblings had grown up here. There was a real sense of home for these two men that went beyond the life they had spent here. Their parents had a history with the place.
They remember milking the cows before school and going to school covered in feed and smelling of cow. Times have changed since then. They said they look at the young people today that are “too busy doing nothing”. They want them to be more ambitions, get off the doll, work and understand the value of money earned yourself. I asked them where they had worked when they were younger. Peter worked at the Cabramurra Store and John worked on the dam out at Calbinga. After asking what they remembered about their parents, they said they had hating seeing their children smoking, “they would always be crook on that”.
They told me of their love for fishing. John and Peter make it out to Burrinkdunk Dam nearly every weekend to fish for cod and yellow belly. After all these years, the excitement of pulling in a fish has never lost its appeal. John remembers one of the times they went to Bourke and caught a 64.5 pound cod. Peter still retained a glimpse of the inner larikan as he showed me a picture of himself surrounded by the 52 schooners had had drunk for a bet. They both still head to the pub at ten to 5pm to have a drink or two, but often enjoy just having a drink together on the home verandah.
I have a stockpile of question that I use to gauge the personality of my subjects so I can try for a photo that best encapsulates them. I asked them both what they couldn’t live without. Peter laughed and said, “..oh, a bit of liquid I s’pose”. John said he’d never be able to live without his lamb chops and being able to kill his own meat. He mentioned that they send the carcasses in the the butcher who sends back the cuts. “What would you change if you had your life again” I prompted. Peter thought and said, “maybe to be thinner if I had the time, but I’m healthy and that’s all that matters… never had any trouble really”. John said,“If I had life again…? No. Nothing.”
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