The Olden Days – The second last chalkie

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  • Published 20080808
  • ISBN: 9780733322839
  • Extent: 296 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

In late 1989 it fell to me, the senior chalkie at the Brisbane Stock Exchange, to train my successor. At the time I did not know he would be the exchange’s last trading floor clerk. I had been a chalkie on and off for five years from the mid-1980s, between periods at university. Now I was doing both: reading for my final semester of English and chalking a few days a week.

A call from the exchange’s deputy manager – a slight man who fiddled too often with the tongue of his tie but who had been kind enough to hire me when I flunked uni at eighteen – saw me chalking at the stock exchange’s new premises in the Riverside Centre in Eagle Street for the first time. His original offer had saved me from the dole queue and the wrath of my parents. His new offer saved me from a cleaning job in a Toowong office tower where I was in charge of all polished surfaces. Back at the exchange, I was responsible for thirty metres of trading board space: the two metre-high blackboards that listed five hundred or so stocks under their three-letter codes: ANZ, BHP, CSR, MIM and so on.

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