kolff: de colve: XI: 1


Artikel overgenomen uit De Colve XI - 2006: Rocking Down Under (1/2)

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  Door Lennard A. Kolff van Oosterwijk (CCA XIXy) Volgende >
Lennard Close FamilyI never knew the places that rocks could end up taking me. But 9 years out of university and seven countries later… here I am, recently married to a beautiful Australian wife and living in country New South Wales, Australia.

It all started with collecting fossils on the south coast of England with my father, Leo Kolff van Oosterwijk. Several years later I graduated in Economic Geology from the Royal School of Mines in London and was working as an Exploration Geologist for Rio Tinto in southern Spain. This quickly led to several overseas postings mainly in Africa and in particular Guinea. I loved it; I was getting paid to travel around the world looking for copper, diamonds, iron ore and gold, as well as visiting fascinating places and meeting remarkable people… and a few crazy ones too. I was in my element.

One day my boss said, "Len, how would you like to go to Australia for a while?" I quickly accepted the offer and was on a plane bound for Sydney in January 2001. I remember leaving Schiphol in sub-zero temperatures and arriving at my destination in Parkes, NSW in a sweltering 45° heat! This was Australia.

My trip was made more memorable by the fact that at the time an Australian film called 'The Dish' had just been released and was screening on the flight. Just to put you in the picture, this film is set in Parkes and tells the story of Australia's involvement in transmitting the first images of man walking on the moon through a massive radio telescope aka 'The Dish'. The film was a success and as with all things big in Australia, the Dish instantly became a tourist destination. Here I was, sitting in a plane at 30,000ft reading an article about The Dish and Parkes thinking that I was going to be living in Australia's version of Hollywood. After four years of bush camps, tents, generators and suitcases this was going to be paradise! Little did I know!

I ended up living in Parkes for two years; about 500km west of Sydney. It's a small friendly country town of 10,000 that survives on farming, transport and the mine. As with a lot of country towns you could not get a decent coffee in town other than Nescafe or International Roast. Often I would drive the 100km to Orange (a bigger town of 40,000) to cross the 'latte line' -an imaginary line west of Sydney where you can get 'real' coffee. As well as the lure of good coffee it was also an excuse to meet women!It was during this time that I met my future wife, Melissa Williamson. She was working as a Geologist in Orange (incidentally named after Prince Willem van Oranje). The 1-hour trip to the latte line soon became a weekend pilgrimage as we spent more time with each other. This became a standing joke at work as the 'Orange Dash' or the 'Flying Dutchman'.