Unbreakable, by Jelena Dokic

Publisher:North Sydney, N.S.W., Ebury Press,, 2017.
Characteristics:310 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : colour illustrations, colour portraits ; 24 cm.
Additional Contributors:Halloran, J

I remember Jelena’s father, Damir Dokic, when he was on Bourke’s Backyard, and he looked ready to explode at any moment. I’ve never seen Don Burke be so careful with a guest. This was a small sample of what Jelena’s father was like. 

Unbreakable is very dark in places, the abuse both physical and verbal is frequent and disturbing. Being a successful professional tennis player was not enough to stop it. It’s hard to comprehend how a father can treat his own child in such a way. Her mother was abused but it’s unclear if her brother Savo suffered the same fate.

Damir suffered abuse as a child, but mainly verbal abuse degrading his abilities and then later being a war veteran would not have helped his mental state. His behaviour is so crazy at times that I think he must have some sort of psychological issue. Tennis Australia did try to intervene with professional help but Damir refused, no doubt he thought he had no problems.

Migrating to Australia proved problematic, Damir could not get work and when he realised Jelena’s tennis talent he saw her as a meal ticket. Jelena needed her father’s keen knowledge of tennis to succeed. She missed his coaching but this came with a terrible price. His behaviour embarrassed her and impacted on Jelena’s relationships with her tennis colleagues. Being a migrant the local talent was jealous of the help she got, and this resentment was made worse for example, by Damir shaking the fence behind Jelena’s opponents when serving,

I couldn’t understand why Jelena always publicly defended Damir’s behaviour. I was hoping Jelena would rebel and get out of the situation, but she didn’t want to break up the family and she dearly loved her brother Savo.

She later on had trouble getting rid of Borna Bikic, a coach, who not only gave no advice but began dating a tennis opponent. I think Jelena is too “agreeable” for her own good. She needed someone to defend her but the one person, her father, who should have defended her, abused her. Jelena met her supportive boyfriend, Tim Bikic, the coach’s brother; so something good came out of the relationship.

Damir’s determined coaching may have helped Jelena’s start in tennis, but his abuse and many bad decisions severely hampered Jelena’s professional tennis career later on. 


A highly moving story about Jelena Dokic that gives the reader a behind the scenes view of a volatile father and a determined daughter. You just wish that it could have ended sooner for her. Highly recommended. 


Ford Australia, The Cars and the People Who Built Them

Publisher: Chatswood, NSW, New Holland Publishers Pty Ltd,, [2016]
Copyright Date: ©2016
Characteristics: 335 pages : illustrations, portraits ; 27 x 28 cm.
Additional Contributors: Wallace, D. M. – Author 

Ford job ad. From the 1920's.
Ford job ad. From the 1920’s.

After reading about Holden’s history I was happy to see one about Ford in Australia as well. The book is very well researched and illustrated with many photos. It would have been good to see more about the manufacturing process and some of the heavy machinery used, but it’s possible that being every day scenes no one bothered recording their existence. 

And Ford have been around in Australia for a long time, the first Ford car arriving in 1904. About twenty years later local manufacturing began in Geelong, but mainly as CKD (Completely Knocked Down) kits imported for local assembly. Once more equipment arrived more of the car building process could be built at Geelong.

Not only did they make cars but also in 1941 armoured vehicles, patrol boats, cargo ships and sea mines.

Every car from the first Model T to the 2016 FGX Falcon XR8 is covered, but there’s not much information for my Ford Cortina Mark IV.

Car and engine development is well covered which left me with the impression that Ford engines were more efficient (due to some clever but simple porting in the head) and more advanced than the Holden ones. 

Economics, Government and Unions

Economics affect car companies significantly and they are also sensitive to changes in Government policy. The most significant change was in tariffs for overseas made vehicles coming into Australia. The rate was 59% and John Button had the intention of slowly bringing it down to 25%. However successive governments took it 5% and then 0%, something that was never intended at the start. 

During this time, to their credit, Ford was making progress with getting the work force to be more productive through building understanding between management and the workers. The productivity gains were not enough.

With Australia’s small population and remoteness building cars wasn’t viable, in fact some vehicles were costing manufacturers money to export them. So with unfavourable winds Ford, along with all other car manufacturers shut down manufacturing in Australia. Now Australia has no car industry or the means to make significant military equipment.


An excellent book which goes into much detail about Ford and also the car development and the surrounding politics and economic history that affects car companies. I particularly liked the small panels which talked about interesting individuals within Ford, they gave a real personal touch to the history of Ford.

Lake Lysterfield Walk

A short 6km pleasant walk around Lysterfield Lake, wildlife and scenic views of the lake make this walk most enjoyable.

Lysterfield Lake not only provides an excellent walk around the lake but it’s a mecca for mountain bike riding. In fact the venue was used by the 2006 Commonwealth Games.

Near the car park there is a separate area for cyclists and it seemed to run a fair way parallel to the walking trail. Once past the kangaroos there are many trails accessible north of the lake. Next time it will be a cycling day!


Disused Boat Ramp

When I lived in the area around the early 90’s Lysterfield Lake was one of the water bodies I tried the Hobie Cat 14 catamaran on. There’s not a long way to go in such a fast sail craft and you soon run out of room. But what spoilt the place was the park ranger who insisted I couldn’t take the boat trailer down the ramp even without the car. I had only a short distance to go wheeling the trailer down the ramp when he came running saying I couldn’t put the trailer down the ramp!

Without the trailer it was heavy to carry even with his help. His reason was that if I used the ramp then everyone would want to; but isn’t that what the ramp is for? At the time the place was almost empty as it was almost closing time so no one would’ve seen the favour. Anyway it’s now disused and I hope it at least got some use before its abandonment.

Disused boat ramp. Lysterfield Lake walk, July 2018.
Disused boat ramp

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