Makan - No.18.
Official Organ of 2/30 Bn. A.I.F. Assn.
Les Southwell, A Coy., nuggetty fellow, one leg, writes that he has completed a C.R.T.S. course in Horticulture and Arboriculture. This gives him all the knowledge required to plant the right flowers and shrubs at the right time and to graft tress and so on. Before the war, Les was a shearer , but the loss of one leg in Malaya put an end to his former trade. He is one of the growing number of the lads who have successfully adapted themselves to the changed post war conditions. Les is married, has built a home through the Commonwealth Bank and is holding down a good job in his own line at Canberra. He is doing well.
The congratulations of the Association go this month to Keith Broughton on the birth of a daughter, "Johan" (named after the old ship); to Harry Abraham for a new baby and to Jimmy Cooper who has bobbed up on the second time around of course with another son.
Ray Kuskey has been unlucky. Arthritis and trouble with his feet have given him a very bad time during the last two years. He has been in Yaralla a few times and has had his knee operated on. He still attends Randwick Hospital three times a week. He writes that he continues to grind his teeth when asleep. If you ever slept near Ray you will know what his wife has to put up with. When these teeth start to grind, sleep flies out of the window. Needless to say Ray cannot golf as he used to.
Bertie Hodge, A Coy., is still working on the Gilgandra Shire Council. Bert keeps good health and takes a keen interest in the local R.S.L. He and his cobbers are looking forward to the opening of their new club house shortly. Most of the labour used in the erection of the Club was voluntary and they have socked away large lashings of grog to celebrate the opening. Bert is the latest member to transfer to Life Membership.
Ian Pryce is teaching at Walla Walla. I have made exhaustive enquiries as to the whereabouts of the town but the Ordnance Maps do not mention it at all. The Walla Walla Parents and Citizens' Association is quite proud of the fact that the Education Dept. has provided the maximum number of teachers for the school, in accordance with the Department's ideal of smaller classes for teachers to handle. Ian gives the only pupil individual tuition.
Jackie Fell has left his job at the Wyong Golf Club and is working as a gardener on a Sheep Stud near Canberra. The job is a pushover for Jack and it carries a nice little flat for him and his wife.
We have received two items of interest from the 8th Div. Council. The first is that the President of the Council has been elected as the R.S.L. representative on the Peace Terms Advisory Committee, and, secondly, that the Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. J.B. Chifley, has expressed his willingness to open the 3/- per day subsistence claim, provided that fresh evidence can be collected. He has also offered to help in the collection of evidence.
The importance to you, personally, from the first point is that the representative will make a claim for reparations on the basis of ill treatment of P's. 0.W., such monies to be paid direct to individuals on a variable scale, to include (1) those who have been satisfactorily rehabilitated (2) those who have permanent or persistent disability, and (3) the relatives of deceased P's. O.W. The basis claimed for each class will be (1) £500, (2) £1,500 and (3) £2,000. The total cost would amount to about £30,000.
In the second case re a claim for 3/- per day subsistence money, a Committee has been appointed to collect fresh evidence and Major Johnston is one of the appointees. You may rest assured that, at least, the matter has not been forgotten and we still have a chance.
Archie Dickinson has been doing very well in a small store out East Hills way, until a few weeks ago. The local thieves then lifted £60 of stock from him and, for a small store, this was a considerable knock back. As far as I can gather, he was not living on the premises but is doing so now.
Bob Gibbet ex A. Coy., was in to see me a short time ago. He is to be congratulated on his recent marriage, and certainly looks better for it. Bob was living on his own before he married and batching took the condition right off him, but now, with three good meals a day and half a bed to sleep in, he is putting on weight. Bob has a property on the Namoi River, a thousand acres of river frontage, good sheep country. He is putting up a new homestead for his wife and will probably buy a big car. The property is seven miles from the town and they are quite suburbanised. They have all the fresh meat they require so Bob blackmarketed all his meat coupons.
Harry Holden saw Jimmie Parsons at Katoomba recently. Jimmy was dishing out the grog at the local R.S.L. Club and is keeping much better health these days. Harry is one of those big contracting farmers we city dwellers gape at on the local picture screen. The recent wet summer set him back a few dollars but he hopes to trim the pockets of the local farmers from now on.
Sally Allen is working in a garage at Cooma, his home town. My informant writes that "Sally is a little on the thin side, too much grog, but since the beer strike he has been in wonderful spirits."
Alex McKenzie, one leg, A. Coy., has drawn a block of land in the Edgeroi ballot and is digging in for dear life. He has a tent, one camp stretcher and a hurricane lamp, but is working hard and hopes to put three hundred acres of wheat in this year. He has already planted a little "Tappy", of course, and a few Papaya. He writes that he would like to have the services of Len Brown with the old water cart trailer which Len used to fill every morning at Changi for the Garden Party.
Bill Robinson, an original member of the band from the day it was formed at Tamworth, is doing a course in Art at East-Sydney Technical College. Like many others of the unit, he is studying under a C.R.T.S. course and is doing well.
The Third Annual General Meeting was a very cosy little affair at which everybody threw bouquets at each other and a general atmosphere of good fellowship swamped us all.
The offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer and Hon. Legal Adviser were elected without alteration, but the election of four Committee members was quite a keen affair and the voting was quite close for all the nominees. Bill Clayton, Garry Evans, Sid Grounds and Arch. Thorburn were finally elected as the new Committee.
Major Johnston was in the Chair, in the absence of Jimmy Cooper and among other things, he mentioned the need for some person or persons to come forward and take over the complete running of a dance or two. Garry Evans and Sid Grounds have volunteered for the job,
The Secretary enlightened the meeting as to the vast amount of work carried out by Alan Penfold and Ken Crispin on the unit history. The history will be published this year we hope.
After the general business was over, the keg was opened and the grog flowed like an amber torrent. The rain teemed down outside, while we grew warmer and happier and by half past eleven we had arrived at the stage where all present were leaning on one another's shoulders and peering closely into each other's faces so as not to miss the slightest piece of rot, of which all were talking. It is remarkable how a get-together and a glass of grog starts the train of memories again. We were trudging through the rain in Thailand, marching down to the drams and pulling the trailers over to the goal like nobody's business. It was a great night.
In the next issue of 'Makan" we will give you details about the Anzac march.
Hon. Treasurer: R.E. Ellis, 21 Military Road, NEUTRAL