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The last time I crossed the Nullabour Plane the jet stream was so strong that we were blown in an easterly direction so fast that after we landed at Melbourne's Tullamarine Airport half the passengers sat down to watch the end of the film. The first time I crossed was in 1946 and it was a four-day train journey in un-airconditioned carriages pulled by a steam locomotive. I was six and my sister was seven and it must have been a nightmare journey for my mother. Unlike the sleek monster which crosses the continent now, the train travelled in stages from one water supply to the next, filling up the boiler at each siding in order to keep up the head of steam. At each siding the train would stop and we were able to disembark and walk beside the carriages as the train moved slowly into position under the water hose. When the tanks were full the train hooted and we all climbed back on board to journey to the next water stop.
Six months later we flew back from Perth to Adelaide to spend the summer holidays with my grandparents in the Adelaide Hills. No three hour journey then; we left early in the morning in a DC3 aeroplane, climbing in at the tail end and walking up the sloping aisle to our seats. a curtain shielded the pilots from the gaze of the passengers. Years later, in the early 70's I again travelled in one of these planes, still doing sterling duty on the milk run to Port Hedland and still the pilots were shielded from the passengers by a canvas curtain.
To reach Adelaide from Perth we had to land at Kalgoorlie, Forrest, Cooke and Ceduna and it took us all day to make the journey, finally arriving at our destination in the late afternoon. I was sick each time we went up and sick again each time we went down. And at the end of the holidays we did it over again in reverse. A year or two later saw Skymasters on the Perth-Adelaide run and the journey was done in one hop - much easier on my stomach and no doubt very much easier on my mother's nerves.
Very soon there will be a plane able to make the trip from Perth to Heathrow in one hop and the days of hopovers and stopovers will be a thing of the past. But you can still find airsickness bags in the pockets in the backs of the seats.