Makan – No. 138
The Annual Reunion was held at the Royal Institute for the Blind on 14th November, a Saturday. The Reunion was most enjoyable for those who were there because we met some of the lads we had not seen for years. Arthur Purdon was one of the newcomers. Arthur makes caravans for a living and is doing well in the business. He really doesn't look very different from his old self, a little grayer perhaps but with the same infectious grin he always wore. Arthur came down from Newcastle way with Starver Jones. Starver has recovered from his recent illness, sufficiently anyway to allow him to make the trip to Sydney from his home at Swansea. Starver is an institution and loves to be around when the boys get together.
Bill Liddell looked well as did Lennie Lansdown. Bill Liddell's new address is Manly. A newcomer was Bruce Upcroft who was in Sydney on a short visit from Tasmania. Bruce lives at Hobart. Les Southwell, our one-legged lad from A. Coy. was much in evidence. Les comes from Canberra now and cannot get down too often. He enjoyed talking to his old platoon mates Sammy Hall and Jack Salisbury. Alf Harding was there, still the same old Alf. He told us that his mother died late last year. Alf's mother was a grand old lady with a very good sense of humour. Reg Ellis used to have great chuckles over her letters.
Arch Dickinson was at the Reunion, he hasn't missed one yet. He has given up his own business and is working for the C.M.L. Assurance. Ron Maston works for the C.M.L, also, but is in a different section. Arch said that it would be too much to have Ron in charge twice in a lifetime. We must tell Ron when we see him, he will enjoy that little crack. Arch has changed his address and is living at Turramurra.
Arnie and Lofty Ferry were there as was Bruce Ford, looking very fit. Alex Dandie, Jimmy Hill and Jack Lonie. Neil Huntley was down from the bush. Snowy Stevens was there. He hasn't altered in the slightest and at one stage wanted to light a fire in Hyde Park to cook some potatoes.
We invited Slim de Gray along to sing a few songs and his items were quite refreshing. Ward Booth and Des Kearney dug up a very old one which they sang at Batu Pahat at an "A" Company dinner. It revived a lot of old memories as it mentioned former comrades who are no longer with us. I am not sure what it is about these two fellows and their ditties but it just doesn't seem like a 2/30th show unless they render their song,
The Old Man was not at the Reunion this year. It was most unfortunate for us but he is Honorary Colonel of a South Coast Battalion and was obligated to be present at a function which was attended by all local dignitaries including members of Parliament. He sent his greetings to the lads.
Although the Reunion was a most enjoyable function for those who were there if one stands back and quietly examines the position one can see just what a miserable attendance it was and has been for a number of years. There were no more then eighty members of the Unit present. We have had our losses of course and there are those who cannot attend because of distance or from illness, but an attendance of about eighty members is such a poor effort that one wonders at times whether we should bother, to hold a reunion at all.
The Committee had thought that the change of day from Friday to Saturday would assist with the members attending but apparently the main reason is that the majority of our members are not really interested in reunions. Perhaps it may be that the Makan supplies all the news which other units hear of at their reunions. The regulars, of course, always attend. We asked Stewart Blow which day suited him to attend a reunion. Stewart didn't turn a hair when he replied "any day suits me when the fellows get together, and I'll go any place."
Jimmy Dinnen was married on 17th October to Eileen O'Connor at St. Jerome's Church, Punchbowl. Dutchy Holland and several other members of the Unit attended to wish the couple good health and happiness in their marriage. Jimmy has had a lot of bad luck, more than most people since the war, and we hope that his troubles are now over. The best wishes of the whole Unit go out to Jimmie and his bride.
Dave Tate has written from his home at Garradunga, via Innisfail, sending regards to all his friends. Dave hopes to pay a visit to Sydney this year. Harry Griffis of Macquarie Lane, Taree, also sends greetings to all his friends in the Unit.
t4th JANUARY: GEMAS DAY: This year the 14th January falls on a Thursday and the Unit will commemorate publicly our respect for our Fallen Comrades. Our commemoration will take the form of a wreath laying at the Cenotaph at 7.00 p.m. Lt. General Gordon Bennett has generously consented to place a wreath on the Cenotaph for us. The new time of 7.00 p.m. was fixed at the last Annual General Meeting as being a time which would allow members to make the trips comfortably from the outer suburbs. None of us have ever paddled the Old Soldier line and our Unit policy decries the P.O.W., approach, but we still remember with pride the men who died in the service of this country and those who have fallen since the end of the war, most of them dying prematurely as a result of their war service. Of course, most people have forgotten them and with the repeal of the Preference to Returned Soldiers Act it is obvious that even Parliament no longer places an importance on the worth of a Returned Soldier, so let us then, in our own Unit cherish the memories we have of these tough, hard lads who made the supreme sacrifice. A bugler will be present to sound the Last post; come if you are able.
Bert Welch of North Arm, N.C. Line, Queensland, has been cane cutting this season. Bert is feeling a little poorly these days, has lost a stone in weight and like most other folk has found it fairly difficult to make ends meet. We hope that he has a better year in 1960.
Lloyd Stuart of Rockdale, is well but still finds it difficult to write a latter. For years his mother wrote us and his wife has taken over the letter writing in the same way as the other wives in the Unit. As a matter of fact were it not for the wives and mothers we would hear little of the members. After having written the last sentence I have just picked up a letter from Stan Larkin's wife. It is such a good letter that we publish it here as we received it straight from Evans Head:
"As we have left Theresa Creek please address the "Makan" to this address also. Like most men my husband won't write letters, so I should have written before this. We gave up farming at Theresa Creek three years ago and have lived in Evans Head since then. My husband works for a Mineral Mining Company, beach mining, and seems to like the work. He keeps fairly good health and we have one child, a boy. Stan appreciates the "Makan" coming, as he likes to hear news of his Army friends. I would like to thank you for the work you do towards sending the "'Makan" out.
My brother George Lister, who was a P.O.W, with Stan, is still farming at Hogarth Range. He keeps good health and he and his wife have three children, two boys and a girl. He recently had some luck in the lottery as he and a friend shared 4th prize. Another friend of George and Stan's "Curly" Fraser, lives in Casino and works with one of the auctioneers in Casino. He also has a property at Old Bonalbo on which he runs beef cattle. They have two children, a boy and a girl, both going to school.
Well I think this is all the news I can send along for now. My husband and I send you our beat wishes, and the best of luck to all 2/30th Bn. members."
Vince Leonard is playing in a small dance band and consequently was unable to attend the reunion. Vince's music was sadly missed at the reunion as he is a pretty popular lad. However, it is good to know that he is making out with a dance band. It looks like better times for Vince, he has certainly had a run of bad luck for a couple of years past.
Vince wrote that Curly Wright's son was married on the night of the reunion and it would take such an event to keep him away.