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Makan – No. 132
Dec. 1958 / Jan. 1959


Dear Dig,

The Annual Reunion which was held at the Railways Institute Hall, Chalmers Street, on the 14th November, was most enjoyable. Attendance, however, was not good, only about one hundred making the effort to be present. The small attendance was not due to the lack of country members who came long distances to be present. Padre Paddy Walsh came down from Bundaberg, Stewart Blow from Berry, John Haskins from Oberon and Ray Musgrove and Bob Dixon from. Newcastle way. A new innovation for us was a sing song conducted by Ward Booth with Vince Leonard at the piano. Song sheets were provided and the sing song was a great success, Ward Booth and Des Kearney gave their usual duet which brought the house down. During the evening, name plate badges were issued to most of those present. Those badges are-very necessary now and will be used at all our functions in the future. The disappointing attendance will give the Committee food for thought during the next few months and we can expect a few more changes in reunion procedure next year. One of the changes which will be considered by the Committee will be a changeover to Saturday rather than the Friday night as we have had in the past.

The suggestion came from a country lad who was of the opinion that Saturday night reunions would allow the near country members such as the Newcastle and Wollongong residents to attend. The idea is well worth considering. The venue of the reunion was also criticised by some. Certainly the Railways Institute Hall is not suitable for Vice Regal Patronage but the choice of Halls in the city is very limited. The matter will be considered.


Five car loads of members, their wives and. next of kin made the trip to Bathurst this year. The attendance to say the least„poor, and the Old Man severely criticised this aspect at the Annual Reunion. However, in fairness to all concerned it must be remembered hat at the present time the majority of the Unit are very much the family type with small children. Perhaps it will not be for another five to ten years before most of our members can make such a long trip without the worry of small children becoming sick and uncomfortable on the trip. On the other hand, there are lots of members who could quite easily have made the trip and indeed who intended to go but at the last minute decided otherwise. This Memorial which has been raised is unique in Australia and we all have a share in it as the outward and visible sign of the esteem in which we hold the memory of our dead comrades. The committee hopes for a bigger attendance next year. The memorial itself has been surrounded by a bed of white limestone chips within a brick square again surrounded by a stock proof fence. Some of these things have been donated by the local residents and tradespeople at the behest of the Custodian, Herb Pratley. In addition, the flagpole which stood on our own ground at Bathurst has been erected at the memorial.


It is with great regret that we advise you of the death of your friend Rex Rowe, ex W.O. 11, A. Company. Rex died without warning from a heart attack last month in his own house; he leaves a widow and two children. Rex was a very popular member of our Unit, a good soldier from the day of his enlistment, to the executive of the local R.S.L., a member of Legacy and of any other of the local organisation which merited assistance. Rex was part of Muswellbrook and Muswellbrook as a town has mourned his passing, on your behalf we have expressed the sympathy of all members to Mrs. Rowe and her children.


Neville Gear, your quiet young robber from Don Company has died prematurely and left a widow and two young children. Nev was stricken down with illness some months ago and sent to Yaralla Hospital for examination and treatment. However,, it was found there that his expectation of life was almost nil and he was sent back immediately to his home at Young Wallsend near Newcastle where he died within a few weeks. Nev was a good lad and a great favourite with Don Company. He did not take part in Association affairs mainly due to the distance from Sydney. Les Hall visited him, as Welfare Officer, whilst he was at Yaralla Hospital and passed on to him the interest of his friends during his illness. We have extended to Mrs. Gear and her children your sincere sympathy.


Lew Cohen has also died within the last two months after a long illness. Lew was not a demonstrative chap and consequently did not make his presence felt at our reunions as do most of the other lads; however, he was devoted to the Unit and never missed a function whilst he was in good health. Lew was friendly with us all and was highly regarded as a man of solid worth. Fellows like Rex Rowe, Nev Gear and Lew Cohen, each different from the other were all united with the common bond of a fierce pride in the Unit and in its achievements. We will all feel the loss of these good friends.


On January 14th at 1.30 p.m. the Old Man will place a wreath on the Cenotaph at Martin Place, Sydney, in memory of our deceased comrades. We need say no more than this that if you are in accessible distance of the cenotaph on that day, you should be there. At 11.00 a.m. on the same day, the R.S.L. will officiate at a wreath laying ceremony at the Memorial Cairn Bathurst in the presence of the Custodian of the Cairn, Herb Pratley, and local civic dignitaries. We request any 2/30th members within accessible distance of Bathurst on that day to be present at the ceremony.


Full particulars of the picnic will be published in the next Makan, our first Unit Picnic, which will be held at Lane Cove National Park on the first Sunday in March. To enable the Committee to gain an idea of the members of children who will be present a small return slip is attached to the bottom of this letter.


As Christmas comes upon us and the old year draws to a close, I wish you all a happy Christmas in the bosom of your families and trust the New Year will bring you good health and prosperity.


I send to all members of our Association, my best wishes for Christmas and 1959. Looking back on the past year it does seem to me that the future calls for a little more effort from each one of us to ensure not only that the spirit of the Battalion is maintained but that we continue to cement friendships which were so expensively obtained. Might I say to you all, do your level best next year to be present on the 14th January at the Cenotaph, on our Anzac Day march and at our reunion. I take this opportunity to thank the President and the Executive of the Association for their efforts over the past year, in continuing the good work of our Association.

FINALLY I am sorry that this Makan has been delayed slightly and that it does not mention many letters which we have received during the past two months. Since my wife brought home our new twin babies, Matthew and Mark this month there just doesn't seem to be as much time in our house as previously. Little things like ironing shirts and cleaning shoes have had to go by the board although I simply must start shaving again as it is so demoralising for the other three children. However, what can we do? The twins are fed every four hours and it takes an hour and twenty minutes to feed them. Still has anybody received a nicer Christmas present? Cheerio and all the best for a happy Christmas and New Year.



I hope to attend the Picnic in March. I will bring .......... children whose ages are as follows:

1st Child .......... 4th Child ..........
2nd Child .......... 5th Child ..........
3rd Child ..........6th Child ..........

...................... (SIGNED)

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