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"Not only are his photos wonderful, but he's not short of talent with the pen either. His stories are frank yet delicately respectful of even the most contrasting of personalities, and he has the most impressive talent of extracting from almost everyone their full name, origin and life story ... seems he was a born hitch-hiker" -

Hitch 4

April 10, 1998

Jane Males, 26, from Sydney (NSW), and Dot Soden, 59, from Ulverstone (Tas)

Two-hour wait, Strahan to Queenstown/Burnie T-junction, early 1980s Toyota Corolla

Photo taken at Queenstown/Burnie T-junction

* * * * *

A two-hour wait brought with it the sad realisation this hitching malarky was over.

After waiting for two hours, pondering whether it was going to rain or not, I saw a car with two women, one of them holding a map, slowing down. Even from a distance they appeared to have that ‘lost tourist’ look and I thought they were going to ask me for directions.

“Strange;” I thought to myself, “Why would they ask a hitcher for directions?”

When they stopped next to me, the older of the two women leaned out and asked, “Where are you going?”

Before I knew it I was in the car with this madcap mother and daughter duo. They were great fun.

Daughter Jane and mum Dot were heading back to Dot’s house at Ulverstone after a night in Strahan.

Dot was a gem and it turned out she’d been picking up hitchhikers for years, even when on her own. She’d recently started getting her hitchers to write in a wee notebook she kept in the car at all times. When I got in the car, Dot said they’d give me a lift on the condition I wrote in her book. Not to be outdone, I retorted that I’d only write in her book if they allowed me to take their photo – and a deal was struck (at first they didn’t think I was serious).

Dot was quite adventurous and a few years earlier had taken off around Australia for nine months with a friend. She was much younger in her outlook than her years suggested and didn’t seem fazed by anything.

Jane, who lived and worked in Sydney, was visiting Dot and it soon became apparent they were great friends (they’d even been to Nepal together the year before).

They were a happy pair and joked amongst themselves while I scribbled notes in the backseat. There was laughter and noise the whole time I was with them and, at times, I felt as though I was in the midst of the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.

Dot scolded me when I hadn’t written anything in her book and it got to the point where I was having so much fun I didn’t want to leave. They laughed their way through the photo shoot and then I was on my way.

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