Makan – No. 131
Nugent Gieke's brother Neil writes from Singapore - "We recently made a trip up north and stopped at Gemas. We kept imagining the likely place as we approached and pulled out of the town - it's very small, the big highway passing through it and that's about all. Since your time the old garish buildings have probably been pulled down - a fearsomely modern petrol station and a cinema. Now, of course, it's just a peaceful hole. We visited the war cemetery at Kranji, near the causeway - looking for your fellows. It is beautifully maintained and in a high position; it makes one dreadfully aware of the lives it cost us too. While I think of it I have seen Garry Rickwood fairly regularly - I met him first time up in a bar (that's our Garry, Stan Arneil) and once he'd established my connection with the 2/30th through a brother he was my friend for life. Quite a good bloke. He's inordinately proud of the 2/30th and stoutly maintains that the Sergeants were the backbone of the army. He's flourishingly successful, owning among other things a garage - a big one at that."
Jim Deveigne has joined our association as a new member and will be warmly welcomed at the forthcoming reunion. Jim lives at Westmead.
Jackie Pope has a nice little cottage in the suburbs and if you can remember Jack's great care for the needs of his section you will not be surprised that his cottage and surroundings are as neat as a row of new pine. Arch Thorburn inspected the front lawns and garden and could not find a blade of grass or one plant out of place. The back yard contained an enormous orchid house and here the orchid pots were just as neatly arranged. Jack is a happily married man, his son is a chip off the old block - in our opinion the old block is first class quality.
The Fashion Parade at Princes was a huge success and was attended by almost one hundred people. The Old Man enjoyed the parade as did all the men, in fact at one stage the applause from the men was so great that that particular part of the parade was repeated. The part of the parade which caused the enthusiasm was, of course, the swimsuit section. Col. O'Donnell was a surprise visitor to the function; he was down from Brisbane for a conference. Incidentally the appeal for the cost of the memorial will close with the next Makan, when the full result of the appeal will be given together with a list of all donors.
Johnny Parsons is doing very well in his little Post Office Store at Como. It is not so many years ago that Johnny decided to leave the security of a steady, moderately paid job and venture into the business world. He has worked hard but the results are quite up to his expectations.
Darby Young is a character of whom we like to hear. He writes now and again and his letters are too good to précis. Here is an extract from his latest letter. "We country fellows perforce must miss out on many functions we would like to attend, but distance and travelling time are the factors operating against us. It certainly is pleasant though to keep just a little bit in touch per medium of the "Makan" may it never grow less. I was ordered off work for a few months back during a bout of nerves and we took a round trip which included Bathurst. We visited the old camp site arriving there about mid-afternoon. Was quite deeply affected as we stood looking around at the silent countryside. I found myself walking again with the ghosts of men, some alive and some dead, my own amongst them. The wife declares I didn’t speak for two hours after. Went from Bathurst to Lithgow that night, got in touch with Phil Bailey and gave it a really good "splurge." Kempsey ex 8th Div. Members organised a reunion last month and a very excellent affair it was too. Smooth, organised and completely enjoyable. 2/30th representatives included Tom Davis, Ben Pearce, Jack Conn, Claude Worth and yours truly, not to mention Scotty Wallace who was secretary. A thoroughly polished affair, this Kempsey "do". Although I've never met Mrs. Geikie, please convey my good wishes to her and congratulations regarding the Bathurst Memorial. I think its wonderful and so does my wife Merle, who with the two children Ann and Paul (11 & 10) are quite well and giving plenty of cheek".
Snowy Mason dropped out of sight for a while but we tracked him down to his new address at Dundas. Snowy will be at the reunion this year.
Stew Plowes wrote from Yaralla some months ago that he was there in the company of your friends Tom Nixon, Jimmy Deveigne and Georgie Camborne from Lithgow. They were not there for long you will be pleased to hear. Norm King of Golspie via Taralga recently passed through Bathurst and of course revisited the memorial at the old camp.
Jim O'Connell's wife, Ellen, writes that they are very busy at the moment looking after a new baby, "Alanda", who arrived some months ago. Jim is preparing to make additions to his house as the whole family now revolves around the baby and nothing but the best is good enough for this little scrap who is giving the O'Connell's more fun than they have had in years.
We had a letter from Terry O'Rourke some time ago. Terry mentions so many of the lads that the only thing to do is to give you an extract from his newsy letter. Terry is a forestry wallah at Narrandera by the way. "All well here, has been very cold and frosty. I'm still the forester here and am battling on. Play a bit of tennis and can still enjoy a few noggins. Am on Committee, of Club and R.S.L. Have been appointed delegate to attend this year's Annual R.S.L. Congress in August. Might strike a few of the boys. Our Club was officially opened, on Saturday by General Wooten, very good, Club cost £56,000 with all mod cons. Keith Mulholland is still at the Bowling Club. Tom Stevens at the Hospital, Les Perry at the R.S.L. Club, Vic Hamlin, working hard on his property at Boree Creek (he's the President of the Boree Creek Branch of the R.S.L.) Struck Bill McPherson at a Bush Fire a few months back, still as tough and outspoken as ever. Abbie Hutchens 2/20th Bn. sailed for England last month and before he left, ex 8th Div gave him three send offs. All very good nights too. Saw Curley Heckendorf .last week. He looks fairly well."
Lloyd Stuart's mother has sent his subs along again. Honestly, without the wives and mothers of our chaps this association would be on the rocks in a couple of years. Lloyd is well. Still plays a good game of golf.
We have lost track of some of our members and we request that you telephone the correct address of any of the following direct to Mrs. Bessie Ellis at WX3198 or Jackie Boss at WX2680. Names and the previous addresses are:
R.H. (Harry) Brown,
VISIT TO BATHURST MEMORIAL, ON SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 8Th
It is proposed to make a visit to Bathurst to the old camp site. The Old Man will lay a wreath on the memorial at 2.00 p.m. and others are also invited to lay wreaths if they so desire. We hope to have a good attendance but would like to obtain an idea of the numbers going, as soon as possible. Would all those who intend to make the trip please ring me, Stan Arneil, at X35453 or Arch Thorburn at B1M6574. We particularly want to hear from members who have seats available in cars and also those who desire to go but have not transport. We will attempt to take all who are in this latter category by placing them in cars with spare seats. Try and make this day if you can, the scenery on the trip is superb and you will enjoy every minute of your day. Remember the day SATURDAY 8TH NOVEMBER, at Bathurst.
ANNUAL REUNION FRIDAY 14TH NOVEMBER
This year the Committee has decided that it is time for a change and will introduce some now features. At the 1946 reunion the accent was on beer, but it is a different tale now; the lade still enjoy their beer but they don't enjoy so much of it. There will still be ample refreshments available, but we will take it steady, enjoy a modest supper and will be in the hands of the great Ward Booth for perhaps an hour or two later in the night We have in mind a diggers' sing song with a few of the old ditties and songs and to assist the memory song sheets will be available. However another big point is the news that Padre Paddy Walsh is coming all the way from Bundaberg for the reunion. The Padre enjoyed himself so much last time that he is making a special effort to got down and hopes to meat as many of his old friends as he can. Every man in our Unit likes Paddy the Padre so make a real effort to come along and enjoy the company of all your friends. Remember the date - it is NOVEMBER 14TH, FRIDAY, at the Railways Institute Chalmers Street. See you on the 8th and 14th November,