Wednesday 24 February at 8pm on ABC
Stan Grant spent the first year of his life living in the shell of a Model T Ford on a mission on the outskirts of Griffith in rural NSW.
It’s perhaps fitting that his early days were spent in the back of a car because he spent much of his childhood travelling along dusty roads and living in bush shanties as his sawmiller father followed work all around the state.
Despite the transient lifestyle, Griffith was always home, and in this revealing episode of Home Delivery, Stan takes Julia back to where his unlikely journey from gifted but unambitious boy to acclaimed globetrotting journalist, writer and commentator, began.
Their Griffith tour begins at the end of the long main street where Stan bundles Julia into a ‘ute’, far shinier than the one his Dad once owned, and he points out his old haunts. They drive to the Three Ways mission and take a walk around the block his grandparents and parents called home. Many of the old mission buildings have gone, and the roads are tarred these days, but the area is redolent with memories for Stan.
Stan drives Julia to the housing commission bungalow the family lived in for a few years. He remembers how excited they were when they moved in and how the humble dwelling was to them a palatial mansion. Stan recalls his parents determination, strength and dignity of and how his mother’s storytelling instilled in him a love of reading and writing.
They visit a nearby community hall and finish the day at Griffith High School where they meet Stan’s former bestie, ‘Didge’ on the footy oval. Stan talks about his career as an international correspondent for CNN – often reporting from warzones – and how he has always gravitated toward stories of the dispossessed. He candidly reveals how the weight of working in this environment for many years took a huge toll on him, breaking open a well of pain related to the trauma his family and forebears endured. He reflects that the young boy he once was would never have dreamed of the life he’s since led and how being home for the day reminds him all the more how bewildering it is.