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Lord Howe Island - New Year 1993
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31st December 1993

Today was New Years Eve. We had gotten the low down on where to go for the best party the previous day. We spent the day going on expeditions. There were some terrific walks to the top of mountains with some truly spectacular views. We split up as the day wore on and went our own ways. The island wasn’t big enough to really lose anyone and consequently we kept bumping into each other at different times. Then we would all meet somewhere and have afternoon tea and perhaps wander off as a group again.

Later that afternoon we went back out to the boat, got changed and had dinner. We all then went back over to the island and lobbed into the RSL club. This was where the action was supposed to be and sure enough before long the place was packed. It seemed everyone on the island was there and they all seemed intent on having a good time.  I cut out for a while and rode my bike up to the public telephone to ring Sandra. She had previously told me that she was going out to David’s for New Year. I rang reverse charges and Charles answered the phone, accepting the call. I had a nice chat to Sand as well as David, Phil and Rosie. I then returned to the RSL.

The party went on until about 9:00 PM when the club announced that it would be closing for a while. It was a hell of a thing to do on New Years Eve but there was no option. It was all in aid of the yearly bonfire up near the main part of town. Everyone went, you couldn’t say ‘I don’t feel like going, I’ll just sit in the club till you get back’, it just shut.

Going up to the bonfire was an experience in itself. There were about 300 people leaving the club all at once. The bonfire was about a kilometre away. Because of the transport situation on the island a large proportion of the people used their push bikes to go to the bonfire with a few people in cars and the rest walking.

One of the oddities of life on Lord Howe was the police situation. There was one policeman who spent his days cruising around the approximately 20 kilometres of road in a big fancy Nissan Patrol police vehicle wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts as well as a gun, just like in Hawaii Five 0.

His one big sacred law was ‘thou shalt wear a push bike helmet’. He had even given Ian a chat about it the previous day and offered to fine him if he didn’t put his helmet on. So the situation was, heaps of people leaving the club, all with a skin full and here was the copper in the crowd under the weather himself and telling people to put their helmets on. He didn’t bat an eyelid at the fact that there were no street lights anywhere and we were all riding around dark roads without lights on our bikes. Nor did he worry about the fact that every single car driver was a bit pissed and that there was 10 people in some cars. All he was worried about was helmets. So, who the hell were we to worry, we were on a tropical island and it was New Years Eve.

The roads around Lord Howe were all unlit and overhung with palm trees so it was pitch black as you were riding. It was almost a point of honour that you ride flat out every where.

The bonfire was good with almost the entire population of the island there all intent on having a good time. When it had burned down some, the crowd that had been ejected from the RSL, all wandered back and took up where they had left off about an hour earlier. The drinking and dancing went on until about 1:00 AM when then club shut. Most people went home but a large crowd trouped over to Ned’s Beach as the locals had set up a makeshift stereo/loudspeaker rig and the partying continued. Going down the hill to the beach we had to go through the main Mutton Bird nesting area and it was really spooky with these birds making their mournful cry and rushing past you in the dark. About 3:00 AM Ivan, Rosalin and Jodi headed back to the boat. Ian looked like he was doing OK with a local girl. The girl was the local Park Ranger and it appeared she was a bit of a Rambo, apparently she was in a travel video for Lord Howe with her abseiling down 1000 foot cliffs and such. I was hoping Ian was up to the job. I was keen to head back to the boat but didn’t want to leave Ian in case he struck out and was stranded on the island for the rest of the night. We got a lift back to this girl’s house in her 4WD with our bikes in the back. When we got there I gave Ian some space and rode back to the dinghy and layed down it for a rest. It was just starting to get some light on the horizon.


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