Behind the overt racism and discrimination in public spaces, there stood ordinary Australians who reciprocated my egalitarian attitude and courteous behaviour. A cake shop across the road from my guest-house was owned by a Danish family. I would sit with them in a room behind the counter whenever they were not busy over a weekend. Their daughter, Australia-born, went to the pictures with me in the city, except that we never travelled to the city together. The family atmosphere they provided compensated for being a lonely stranger in a foreign country with strange attitudes.
My room-mate in the guest-house was of pure Irish descent. Yet, he insisted that he was Indian, because he was born in India, where his father was some sort of colonial poobah. But Tom, almost pink in colour, confusingly did have an Indian accent. I remember that his socks always seemed to be ready to walk out of the door, because he never seemed to change them or wash them.
There was a Chinese-Australian resident who was bedding a blonde fellow-resident, except that they pretended a casual connection before bedtime. The landlady and her husband claimed to have arrived in Australia pre-war from Sweden; but, as I discovered later, they were Jewish-Austrians. They fed us well, except on Sunday evenings. Then we were served, as dessert, stale cakes bought as such from across the road.
For a short while, there was a most dapper young Dutchman from Indonesia, always wearing a bow-tie, who chose to talk to me frequently in his English-sounding accent. From time to time, there were also a few very feminine girls of European origin, who reminded me of Asian girls, in contrast to the Aussie girls.
I soon discovered 2 landladies in the district who were bedding an Indian and a Malayan tenant respectively. The latter once rang me late in the evening for advice; his protector had become torn. My advice? Grab your passport and head for the hills!