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Makan – No. 126
Dec 1957 / Jan 1958


Dear Dig,

Blair Taylor is now living permanently at Deakin A.C.T. It is a new home and Blair bought it after being transferred to Canberra where he will work as an Inspector for the Taxation Department. Blair and his family are thriving in the country air and putting on weight like heavyweight wrestlers. They would be pleased to hear from any of the 2/30th in the vicinity.

Tommy Grant has shifted from Urbenville to Mt. Burrell on the Tweed River. Terry O'Rourke is still growing trees for the Forestry Commission and is growing children for Australia, the score being three to date. Terry was an R.S.L. delegate to the Congress a few months ago. At home Terry is on the local R.S.L. Committee, the Committee of the ex-service Club Committee, and Vice-President of the Town Tennis Club. Just as well those old trees keep on growing. Terry writes that Vic is doing well at Boree Creek and that Tommy Stevens and Keith Mulholland are both well.

Jack Ellis' wife writes from Binaroo:- "Just a few lines to let you know how the Ellis's are. Jack doesn't seem to get around his mail and it usually falls to me to write for him. He has been keeping fairly good health with a few children's complaints thrown in, that is Chicken Pox and Measles, with both he was pretty sick, but otherwise he seems fit enough.

Although he never seems to put on any condition. It might be he needs a new cook. We were in Sydney two months ago and Jack went to see Ernie Ross at Auburn and he said Ernie has never looked better which was good to know as he was having a rough spin for a while, wasn't he? Cyril Pluis often sees Jack at the front gate as he's passing through to Condo, he also looks well and has put on a fair amount of weight. Being away out here we don't got the chance of seeing any of Jack's mates and its very seldom he goes to Sydney, unless its the Wool Sales. I don't think Jack will make the reunion this year as he is flat out trying to make some green feed. Last reunion he came home quite sober and the reason was every time he went to have a drink someone wanted to shake his hand so he had more handshakes than drinks and he'd also lost his voice. We have three daughters and no sons, our eldest now is ten years, next seven and last three. Well I think that's all I can tell you at this stage except that its as dry as a bone up this way and everyone is hoping for rain."

Frank Ryan of Coogee, is getting bigger and bigger and bigger. He works for a large advertising agency and revels in the game. Frank can not only sell you something you don't want, he can make you think you like it. Jacko Jackson is still playing good golf. This year he and his partner won the Club foursome partnership.

Lyn Booth has been transferred to Ingham, Queensland by the Colonial Sugar Refinery Company, for whom he works. Lyn is a Public Relations Officer, and likes his job. He will be moving around from Mackay to Cairns quite a lot and hopes to meet our lads, who live on that coast. At the time of writing to us Lyn was not too happy as there was a mix up in the transport arrangements and his wife and three children were shot up to Queensland a month before he was.

LAST POST - REG ELLIS. - died 5th December, 1957

Your old mate Reg Ellis died without prior warning on Thursday, 5th December. His death was due to a heart condition which had been accelerated by excessive debility and hardships during war service. It is difficult to write of Reg. One might as well say "Just write about the Unit, as Reg was an integral part of it," or one could say "just write about the Unit Association and all it has done since the war, because Reg has been to the foremost in all its activities." However, idly tracing over the events of the last few years we can recall Reg Ellis' happy smile in a thousand different ways. What an important man he was before action when with his irrepressible companion Joe Carew he delivered to us one of our most important necessities - our pay. Always on time, never wrong, he saved many a thirsty soldier from a slow death as we waited around the orderly room with thickened tongues and a frightful thirst for the pay which was immediately transferred to the cash register in the canteen. For many of us whose thirst exceeded our pocket, Reg instituted his "little black book" in which we were all good for five dollars until pay day. The troops honoured their promises and redeemed their good name on pay days until the following week, when a hesitant enquiry "Reg I wonder if you could see your way clear " and immediately the little black book was brought to light and five dollars were pressed into our hands. Reg was wounded on the Island and was too ill to go to Thailand with the bulk of the Unit. Instead he worked on the Aerodrome and whilst at Changi, away from the Unit, he formed a large circle of friends from other units. It was in 1942, when the Unit Association was formed at Changi that Reg was elected Treasurer of the Association, a post which he held to his death. The duties of Treasurer during the P.O.W. days were not heavy, but were most important. Monies were collected to supplement hospital rations for the gravely ill and to provide welfare for cases in dire need. For example, one entry from the minutes of the Committee meeting, held at Changi Gaol an 25th February, 1945 reads: "Approval was given to a grant of $12 being paid to Pte. McKenzie, a limbless soldier of this Unit, to purchase some aluminium to have a peg made for himself at the Artificial Leg Factory..........”

Welfare of this nature appealed to Reg and on his return to Australia he threw himself into the task of building up the Unit Association. Since 1945 he received all monies and replied to every subscription or donation received, even if it were only the writing of a few personal lines on the back of the receipt. The members all addressed their letters to Reg and he loved to receive them. Assisted by his wife, Mrs. Bessie Ellis, his late father, and, before she married, his daughter Cecilia, the Ellis family typed 400 envelopes, folded Makans and posted them month after month, year in and out. The work of the Ellis' placed the Association on a firm foundation and made it a small and personal part of the interests of 400 families. Reg was a sentimentalist with a great respect for the traditions of the Unit. He it was, who always recited the Ode at our Reunions and who loved to recall the happy times we had with all our dead friends. One of his proudest moments was the Anzac Day on which he carried the banner of the Unit throughout the March. Reg attended the Bathurst function on the 23rd November and appeared to be in good fettle. He was certainly in good spirits then due to the completion of the memorial project which he had supported strongly from its inception. The news of Reg's death came as a great shock to his friends. Sixty members of the Unit attended the funeral and another ten who arrived later were at the cremation. They came from as far as Bathurst, from the South Coast and from the Newcastle-Maitland area. It was a magnificent tribute to the worth of the man and to the esteem in which he was held by his friends.

Many members brought their wives to the funeral as Reg's name was such a byword with them also. At the funeral parlour the Old Man gave a short address to those present, stressing in a most dignified and simple way of the affection in which the Unit had held Reg, and of his integrity and his excellent administrative capabilities. He stressed the great contribution the Ellis' family had made to the Association and he conveyed on our behalf the sympathy of the Unit to Mrs. Ellis and her daughter Cecilia. Reg 's last journey from the funeral parlour was slowly made through a guard of honour of sixty of his friends who had joked, and swore, and drank and laughed and soldiered on with him for many many years. It was sad to see our old mate go, but it was good to see that his friends remained with him even on his last journey. A special van was requisitioned to carry the floral tributes away, but as the hearse drew away, the sun shone into relief the wreath which had the place of honour at the head of the casket. It was a simple laurel wreath with a brilliant splash of purple and gold ribbon at the base. The inscription on the card was simply:- " We will remember him". Whilst we still live, we will always remember you, Reg; Old mate of ours.

Office of Treasurer

The vacant office of Treasurer of the Association will be held by Mrs. Ellis until the Annual General Meeting when the elections will be held as usual. The address of the Association will remain unchanged and all cheques, postal notes and money orders should be made payable to Bessie Ellis, G.P.O., Sydney. Arch Thorburn has asked us to thank all those members who volunteered to assist with the task of Treasurer.

January 14th - Gemas Day

On January 14th a wreath will be placed upon the Cenotaph by the Association at 1.30 p.m. The .members should assemble on the G.P.O. steps opposite the Cenotaph a few minutes before 1.30 p.m. As there will not be another MAKAN prior to January 14th we request all members to make a note of the date now and telephone your cobbers at that time to assure that a good roll up is made. At 1.30 p.m, on January 14th a wreath will also be placed on our own Memorial at the gates of Bathurst Camp.

A Christmas message from the President.

Arch Thorburn writes: "There have been too many losses from our ranks for this Christmas for us to be an occasion of unmixed rejoicing. If sorrow has touched your home I hope the New Year will be a happier one for you. To all our other members, friends and well-wishers I extend best wishes for a Happy Christmas in the bosom of your families and safe and prosperous New Year.

A Christmas message from our patron

The Old Man writes: "I send my best wishes to all members of the Association for Christmas and the New Year. I am mindful of the importance of this year 1957 in our Association history. We now have our own Memorial to our comrades at Bathurst - the type and location of which is probably unique in Australia. The erection of the memorial is a real milestone in our history. The official history of the war in Malaya has been published but it does not impress me. In recounting the exploits of our Unit it is far from complete and instances not accurate. 1957 unfortunately saw the passing of several of our comrades who were stalwarts of the Unit, and to whom we all owed much. They will be missed, but we will ever remember them. I congratulate the President and members of the Committee on a successful year and wish them on your behalf all the best for 1958. Good luck to you all. Bless you all".

With every best wishes for Christmas.


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