Makan No. 217
OFFICIAL JOURNAL 2/30 Bn. A. I. F. ASSOCIATION
Subscription Rate: $1.50 per Year
Registered for Posting as Periodical: Category A
LIST OF MEMBERS AND NEXT-OF-KIN
Firmly convinced that very few, if any, would have made the more than 60 alterations to the previous List, your Editor decided to produce an up-to-date one.
Having sought and obtained the co-operation of the Typist and the Assistant Printer, the work was put in train (it had to be completed well before work on next MAKAN required to commence) and, as usual, no sooner had the stencils been cut than a real crop of amendments came to hand. So, in order to have a really up-to-date List, it will be necessary to effect the amendments as shown in the accompanying Advice No. 1. Would all recipients also please check the particulars shown against their name, and advise the Editor promptly of any required alterations.
Our apologies are extended for the extraneous marks and poor printing evident in some of the copies, and the Editor hastens to assure his Readers that it was NOT the fault of the Boy/Assistant Printer. For some unaccountable reason, the otherwise well-behaved Gestetner played up on a couple of occasions towards the end of a run - even to the point of mucking up the stencil on one occasion - but the printing is still more or less legible, so the Editor craves your indulgence.
It is only fair to warn all recipients that a new List will not be produced each year as a matter of course - it is in fact most unlikely that a fresh one will issue next year - so please effect the amendments advised from time to time if you wish to keep the List up-to-date.
TAMWORTH BIENNIAL 8TH DIVISION REUNION DINNER
Saturday, 12th October
next at the R.S.L. Club
Activities extend over the Sunday, with a brief wreath-laying ceremony at the Club, as well as a barbecue luncheon. Sunday is also the Annual Diggers' Day at the Golf Club, and all those golfers attending the Reunion are invited to participate in any of the events.
It is regretted that advice of this Reunion was not available for inclusion in a previous MAKAN. Because of the lateness, and in order to facilitate catering and accommodation arrangements, would any member desiring to attend (if they have not already done so) please contact D. BUSSELL or ALAN POPE, C/Tamworth R.S.L. Club, Phone: 66-4661.
NORTHERN RIVERS BRANCH Ex-P.O.W. ASSOCIATION REUNION DINNER
Saturday 16th November next at the District Services Club, Grafton.
Wreath Laying: 5.00 p.m.
This Reunion generally has a lot of our members in attendance and presents an excellent opportunity to meet up with the boys on the Far North Coast. Quite a lot of the boys gather at the Crown Hotel at 4 p.m., where Ian McLaren (a 2/2 Bn Ex-P.O.W.) is mine host, for a bit of a get together; and anyone in Town for the event will be welcomed at the gathering.
An acceptance form is included with this issue (see page 32) and anyone wishing to attend is urged to use the form and let Harry Rhodes know as soon as possible.
ANNUAL REUNION DINNER, SYDNEY
Because of the crowding, and somewhat unsatisfactory conditions which developed at our former venue, it was decided to change the location of the next Dinner; and quite a lot of real research has led the Executive to the belief that the new venue chosen gives every promise of offering the best facilities available. The Dinner will be held this year:
ON SATURDAY, 9th NOVEMBER
at 6,30 p.m. for 7.00 p.m. meal
It is regretted that a suitable location could not be found in the City, but the Club is quite easy to reach, and ample parking is available.
For those proceeding by car, Gregory's Map No. 59 - K13 gives the exact location of the Club. For those travelling by bus from the City; The Northbridge Bus will let you off at the corner of Miller and Ernest Streets, and the Club is clearly visible on the left-hand side; just off Ernest Street, proceeding in the direction of Manly.
While most of you apparently like to make up your mind at the last minute, conditions regarding catering have got extremely tough of late, and it is essential that Bob Jack has a definite indication, well in advance, of the actual numbers attending. For your convenience an acceptance form is included with this issue (see page 31) and all those who will be there are urged to use it; and send it to Bob Jack at least before the end of October.
PLEASE NOTE that as postage and other costs are prohibited, NO FURTHER CIRCULARS OR REMINDERS concerning the Dinner will be sent, so please record the date, place and time in your Diary, or on the Kitchen Calendar, and use the acceptance form immediately. PLEASE DO IT NOW
SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR 1975
The Executive have set
the Subscriptions for 1975 at the same rate as for 1974, viz:- Ordinary
Members: 50c Membership and $1.50 MAKAN Sub., Total $2.00.
Many of you are already paid in advance, and a notice will accompany the Nov/Dec MAKAN advising you of the exact position regarding your Subs. in Advance A/c; while the usual Circular will also go out with that MAKAN to all other Members who require to pay Subs for 1975.
You would assist your Editor/Chief Correspondent a lot if you would start sending in your Subs now. If in any doubt as to the classification you hold, take the risk and bung a couple of dollars and your name in an envelope and send it in. Your C.C. may be relied on to ensure that it is dealt with correctly.
B.J. MEMORIAL PORTRAIT
Following the decision by the Executive to endeavour to have the portrait of B.J. hung permanently in Newcastle (Where he was born in 1897, and commenced his military career in the Cadets - in those days, compulsory training - at Cooks Hill High School) Alan Pryde was assigned the task of making personal contact with the City Authorities, with a view to achieving our objective.
That his efforts were crowned with success is evidenced by a recent event in that City, and we quote from Alan's Report:
As indicated in last issue of MAKAN, His Worship The Lord Mayor of the City of Newcastle, Alderman G.C. Anderson, and other City dignitaries, were enthusiastic and most co-operative in having the portrait of our former Commanding Officer and Patron added to the City's record of distinguished citizens.
Lord Mayor Anderson arranged for the portrait to be permanently hung in the History Collection section of the Civic Library, in the War Memorial Cultural Centre. This Centre is an imposing example of modern architecture, incorporating a library, art gallery, and music and motion picture theatres. The Centre is beautifully located. The frontal facade is on to a splendid central City park, which has a magnificent illuminated fountain on the facing side of the park is a grand City Town Hall.
In the time available after the Lord Mayor allocated the date, it was not possible to circularise or personally contact all members of our Association, to acquaint them of the forthcoming presentation. Some members whom we contacted undertook to spread the news, and for their efforts we are very grateful.
The presentation was duly made at noon on 18th September, by our Vice-President, Bob Jack, in conjunction with Lady Galleghan, and in the presence of a good representation from our Association, the City Librarian and other personnel of the City Administration, and the media.
Lord Mayor Anderson (who was accompanied by the Lady Mayoress) in his acceptance reply, indicated that two of his family relations were P.O.W.'s in Changi; and that he had invited a Newcastle niece of Sir Frederick's, with whom he was acquainted, to attend the ceremony.
At the conclusion of the presentation, our Piper, Jim Webster of Merewether, rendered "Amazing Grace" on his Gordon Highlander Pipes, a rendition which the Lord Mayor seemed to appreciate very much, as did all gathered there.
The striking portrait is hung in an elevated position in the corner of the Library. We all felt Sir Frederick "Black Jack" Galleghan would enjoy "eyeing" the situation from such a commanding position.
The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress entertained Lady Galleghan and her escort, Stuart Peach, for luncheon; and a large number of the gathering adjourned to the nearby Workers Club for drinks and buffet luncheon. In very agreeable conditions, we were all able to reminisce, and catch up on recent family news.
The Newcastle Herald gave the hanging of the portrait good coverage in a long article (with a couple of minor errors, which were obvious to all.) We also had a good T.V. coverage in the evening news session on Newcastle National Station (Channel 3). The Manageress of the Motel at Corlette (Nelson Bay) where Alan and Betty Pryde stayed overnight after the ceremony, was delighted to see one of her lodgers on T.V. This coverage was undoubtedly due to the efforts of Jack Black, who had notified the Press and T.V. of the function and had given them details of B.J.'s background.
Apart from those
previously mentioned, our representation included:
Alan expressed his appreciation of those who assisted in the organisation of the event, together with those who participated in it.
B.J. MEMORIAL SHIELD AND BATTALION BOWLS AFTERNOON
The Memorial Shield has been obtained and will be presented to the Bankstown R.S.L. Bowling Club at a function organised in conjunction with a Bowls afternoon to be held at Bankstown Club.
Particulars are as follows:
DATE: Sunday, 20th
GENERAL: It will be recalled that B.J. was a keen bowler during his lifetime, and the idea of perpetuating his memory in his favourite sport was engendered by several of our bowling members at a Bowls Afternoon held at the Bankstown Club just twelve months ago.
It was decided to present a Memorial Shield to the Club, to remain permanently in their Club Rooms, which was to be competed for annually by teams from our Association and the Bankstown R.S.L. Bowling Club.
With Executive approval and an assurance of financial backing; our Bowls organisers, Jack Maclay and Kevin Ward set about bringing the idea to fruition; and Jack would be the first to admit that the lion's share of the work involved has fallen on Kevin's capable shoulders. At all events, their enthusiasm, and that of bowling members of the Association, who backed their original suggestion with generous gifts, has resulted in the Shield being established without requiring to draw on any Association funds.
It will be officially presented to the Club on Sunday, 20th October and it had been hoped that at the conclusion of the competition, Lady Galleghan would make the award to the Winning team. Unfortunately, Lady Galleghan will be Overseas, in America, attending a Seminar on Human Environment at that time.
Bankstown have agreed to provide fours for as many teams as we can produce, and in order to arrange the competition and assist with catering etc., it is essential that all bowling members desiring to participate, advise Kevin or Jack of their desire well in advance - by 12th October at the latest.
Bankstown have also invited non-bowling members and wives to attend, and they have indicated that they will entertain us with a high tea at the conclusion of the events. It is most important that Kevin is able to advise the Club, well in advance, of precise numbers who will be attending. Will all those intending to be present please advise Kevin promptly - by 12th October at the latest.
If the hospitality and fellowship extended to us on our last visit to Bankstown can be taken as a guide, the forthcoming afternoon promises to be one that will long be remembered.
IF YOU WILL BE ATTENDING, EITHER AS A BOWLER OR A SPECTATOR, PLEASE LET JACK OR KEVIN KNOW BY 12th OCTOBER AT THE LATEST.
Ex-P.O.W. ASSOCIATION REUNION DINNER -TAREE
Our Cessnock Correspondent has furnished an account of the Taree Ex-P.O.W. Reunion held on August 10th, and we quote:
Firstly, at one stage it did not look as though we would be able to make it, owing to the shortage of petrol, but by dint of getting a couple of dollars worth here and there, I was able to get sufficient to get to Taree, where Jack had organised five gallons for me.
We were guests of Jack and Una Clune for the weekend, and also there were Beatrice and Curly Hardman. They had been away from home for about three months caravanning, and were on their way home.
Jack's place is pretty aptly named, being called "The Ranch". They have a bull, several cows, fowls, two horses, an unknown number of cats which only appear at meal times, three dogs, one of which is allowed in the house, and can do anything but talk, and last but not least a Rosella which greets everyone with a wolf whistle and "Good Morning."
After a can of beer, a snack and a change of clothes, Jack, Curly and I went into the R.S.L. Club to make sure that the beer was the right temperature. Harry Griffis was on the door taking the money and handing out the identification cards and he appeared to be doing a good job.
At 5 p.m. we assembled in front of the Club, and led by the Taree Municipal Band marched to the Cenotaph in the main street. The local C.M.F. unit had mounted a guard of honour here, and wreaths were laid on the Memorial by members of local organisations. After a brief but nonetheless impressive ceremony the parade was dismissed and made their own way back to the Club.
On return to the Club, we sat down to a tasty dinner prepared and served by hard working members of the R.S.L. Ladies Auxiliary. Stewards moved among the tables to make sure that no one died of thirst.
The Guest Speaker was Sir Adrian Curlewis, and in introducing the Speaker, the M.C. traced his illustrious career through the various fields in which he had been most active.
In his reply, Sir Adrian made reference to the fairly large number from the 2/30th, considering the fact that petrol was so short. He said that it was no doubt due to the practice we received at Bukit Timah that we had probably been able to knock off sufficient petrol to get to Taree. His speech was quite brief and interesting, and set the pattern for the other couple of speeches that followed.
In proposing the toast to the visitors, the M.C. invited all of those present to stand up in turn and identify themselves by name, unit and area in which they were P.O.W.'s. In addition to Singapore, other areas were Amboina, Italy, Germany, Dunkirk, and a member of the Royal Ulster Rifles who had been captured in Korea.
After a vote of thanks to the ladies who had prepared and had served dinner, we moved upstairs to the main lounge, where the rest of the evening was spent in drinking, dancing, reminiscing, drinking, reminiscing etc. until it was time to go home.
2/30th members present were, Vera and myself, Jack and Una Clune, Curly and Beatrice Hardman, Ted and Edna Skuse, Joe and Norma Veivers, Harry and Noeline Griffiths, Harry and Ethel Rhodes, Jack Conn, Bruce Campbell, Bob Stevens and Ted Hicks. I feel that I should make special mention of Bill Newton. Bill was accompanied by wife Mary and his lovely daughter, Gloria. Mary does not have the best of health, but stayed with us to the end of the night, and enjoyed herself immensely. Daughter Gloria is obviously devoted to her mother, and made sure that she wanted for nothing and she was ever solicitous of her mother's needs. She is surely a girl of whom Bill and Mary are justifiably proud.
Guest entertainer was well known former footballing priest John Cootes. After his show, he came down and spent some of his time with us. If any of Beatrice Hardman's friends notice a dirty spot on her forehead, it is where John Cootes planted a kiss; and which she vowed she is never going to wash off.
The Clune's guests, accompanied by Joe and Norma Veivers and Cec. and Kath McCaffery from Mitchell's Island, with whom Joe and Norma were to spend the night, returned to "The Ranch". Here we carried on and managed to toast everyone and everything that we could think of until our wives managed to get us to bed at about three a.m.
Curly, who has a secret ambition to own a boat, was dressed in his naval uniform of good suit and yachting cap, on the front of which is emblazoned the words "Captain Hornblower". Not possessing a boat, the Hardman's caravan is called the "S.S. Florida."
Paddles put on the best turn of the evening by endeavouring to get both feet into the one leg of his pyjamas. As everyone knows, this is a pretty difficult feat even when one is sober, but Paddles being in a slightly inebriated condition came down with a resounding crash, which immediately set the place in an uproar. Dogs barked, fowls clucked, cows mooed and the Rosella said "Good Morning, Good Morning."
Shortly after 9 o'clock Sunday morning the first of the night's wounded/casualties started to crawl out. Beatrice was firmly convinced that Curly was dead, but he belied this with a lively series of awe inspiring grunts and groans, followed by a paroxysm of coughing which signified that he had just taken the first intake of nicotine for the day. It was not until the arrival of Joe and Norma, that Paddles was induced to move, but then, only because he was forcibly ejected. Everyone was firmly convinced that the Rosella had escaped from it's cage during the night and had camped in turn in the mouths of those drugged sleepers who had their mouths open.
We returned to the R.S.L. Club to take part in the sick parade, and to say farewell to those of the Ex-P.O.W.'s who were still alive on their feet. We had a most enjoyable weekend and say thanks to the Taree R.S.L. for the able manner in which this function was carried out.
Once again thanks to Jack and Una Clune, our hosts for the weekend, for a most enjoyable stay.
As an annexure to this report, we quote an unabridged version of the aftermath of the dinner, received from Beatrice Hardman.
Well after the Dinner (where Curly met fellows he hadn't seen since the war), home we went, in convoy, to Paddles' home.
These fellows had already consumed vast quantities of the amber fluid. Can you imagine the talk between Joe Veivers, still looking remarkably well, Jack Fell, Paddles Clune and of course Curly. We wives (2nd place), still attired in our evening wear listened and laughed.
I think they toasted just about everybody in the Battalion - mostly absent friends - and they talked of their experiences during P.O.W. days. It was amazing - and they were drinking Hunter Valley wine. It was a sight to see, I can tell you, let alone listen to.
We managed, how, I don't know, to get them to bed at 3 a.m. - the roosters were crowing and Curly was still talking when I went to sleep.
But Oh! The Sick Parade the next morning! A sight to be seen to be believed. Una Clune and we womenfolk put on a breakfast /lunch - call it what you will - the next day.
It was indeed a wonderful weekend, and our thanks to Jack and Una Clune for their hospitality to us for those nine days. Jack Clune is well and his wife, Una, a very busy and clever girl.
Ex-P.O.W. ASSOCIATION REUNION DINNER, BALLINA
Our F.N.C. Correspondent has been good enough to send in a report of the event, which was held at the R. S. L. Club, Ballina on Saturday 17th August last and we quote:-
We had our Wreath-Laying Ceremony at the Cenotaph at 5.30 p.m. where the Salvation Army Leader took the Service. He spoke very well, and reminded us that though we often read of great names in our History, there were no greater names than those of the men and women who gave their lives, and also many years of their lives, willingly in the defence of their Country. Sid Jamieson and Noel Hampton laid the wreath, and Len Clavan recited the ode.
We then adjourned to the Club, where the boys had, as usual, decorated the area lavishly with coconut palm fronds, bamboo and bananas, etc. There was also a large hand-painted mural of a P.O.W. Compound (complete with Nippon Guard patrolling the area) and some very humorous sketches of some of the boys on balloons. With the help of the artists, Mrs. Ross Reid and Miss Lesley Schreider, the organisers, Sid Jamieson, Len Clavan, Noel Hampton and Norm Watkins were responsible for the decorations.
An excellent smorgasbord was laid out, and the tables were very tastefully set. There were plentiful supplies of the accompanying fluids for such a meal, and a most enjoyable evening was spent by all.
Our chief guests were Alan and Doris Wilson. Alan is President of the Club and of the R.S.L. Sub-branch, and he is also Northern Country Vice President of the State R.S.L. Arthur Jux, President of the Lismore Branch of the Ex-P.O.W. Association was also there.
Our representation was very good, and included:
We are very pleased to have these associates with us at these functions, and particularly the sons and daughters, as we all look forward to having them join in these gatherings with us. We contemplate making a special effort in future years to have our grown-up sons and daughters participate in these pleasant events with us.
Kevin Ward reports the state as at 24th September:
In R.G.H., Concord: Lawrence Elliott (D Coy)
In other Institutions: Harry Law (A Coy)
Discharged from R.G.H., Concord: George Gough (BHQ), Reg Etherington, Jack Goodwin, Gordon Preen (All HQ Coy), Arthur Carroll, Ron McBurney, Curly Simpson (All A Coy), Jack Commans (C Coy), Don Schumacher, Jack Tomsett (Both D Coy).
Discharged from Royal North Shore: Noel Johnston (HQ Coy).
Discharged from Ryde District: Doc Wilson (A Coy), who is now convalescing at home.
Discharged from Rosedale Nursing Home: Phil Higgins (A Coy), who died on 11/8/74 - see LAST POST.
At Home: Harry Abrahams (A Coy). Following his discharge from the R.G.H., Concord, Harry is being cared for by his family, at home. He is not at all well, and his illness has caused him to retire from work, at the early age of 58.
PHILLIP DUDLEY HIGGINS (A Coy). He died on 11th August last - from cancer, after a somewhat protracted illness, at the age of 67.
He was a second reinforcement to A Company, having joined that Company during the actual fighting, and quickly settled in. A rather quiet, reserved man, and older than most of his mates in the Battalion, Phil proved himself to be a good soldier and a staunch friend.
During P.O.W. days, Phil served on "F" Force, where he suffered the usual complaints (though rather more severely) which most of us endured, and his generally poor health kept him off further work parties until very near the end of hostilities, when he went out on a Tunnelling Party in Johore.
Following his return to Australia, Phil continued with his former occupation of a linotype operator working for a considerable period for the Catholic Press. But he suffered rather indifferent health, which resulted in his retirement some eight years ago, well before the usual retiring age.
At his funeral service, at the Rookwood Crematorium on 13th August last, we were represented by Keith Broughton, Alex Dandie, Les Hall, Syd de St. Hilaire (Hennessy), Joe Geoghegan, and Phil Schofield.
Phil did not marry and as other members of his immediate family had predeceased him, his closest surviving relative is his widowed sister-in-law, Mrs. M. Higgins; and to her and her family we extend our deepest sympathy.
We were saddened to learn of the death, on 28th July last and in his 81st year, of our old friend Padre George Polain. Although Chaplain of 2/26 Bn, George was particularly well known to many of us and has attended, and officiated, at many of our functions since our return.
At his largely attended funeral service at All Saints' Church of England, Parramatta on 31st July last, where the Bishops of Parramatta and of Grafton assisted, we were represented by Alex Dandie and Johnny Parsons.
We mourned with George the death of his wife, Edith, just six months ago, and to his son, John, and his family we extend our deepest sympathy on the occasion of this further sad loss.
We were also saddened to learn of the death, on 12th August last, aged 85, of Alfred Norman Peach, widower father of Stuart Peach.
Famous for his prowess at tennis, Norman Peach captained Australia's Davis Cup Team in 1921. The team included J.O. Anderson, J.B. Hawkes and C.V. Todd. They were beaten by Japan.
An Interstate player for N.S.W. for many years Norman Peach won a N.S.W. doubles title with J.O. Anderson in 1923. He also won several City of Sydney titles in both doubles and singles, and was ranked No. 2 in N.S.W. behind J.O. Anderson.
With his brother, Frank Peach (who pre-deceased him and who was at one time President of the N.S.W. Lawn Tennis Association) Norman conducted a successful real estate business in Sydney for many years.
At his funeral service at the Northern Suburbs Crematorium on 14th August, where dignitaries of the Sporting world - particularly tennis - were in attendance, we were represented by Ward Booth, Phil Schofield and Lady Galleghan.
To Stuart and his three sisters and their families we extend our deepest sympathy.
WE WILL REMEMBER THEM
NEWS, VIEWS AND WHOS WHOS
Your Editor's bleat, in last MAKAN, that he had scraped the News Barrel dry was not an idle statement; and these columns were threatened with being the shortest on record, with a nil report. Fortunately, a few noble souls heeded the plea, enabling us to produce a few pages of news.
Our Cessnock stalwart, Jack Fell (B Coy) not only sent in a report on the Taree Reunion, but also furnished some further interesting material, which we quote:
I have just finished reading the latest issue of "Makan". Once again I feel I must congratulate you and your underpaid and overworked Office Boy on another excellent and interesting issue of a journal that I feel sure must be the outstanding newsletter of its kind amongst any ex-servicemen's publications. It has the effect of keeping those of our members in remote and not so remote areas in constant touch with those of our mates that we see on only rare occasions.
Regarding your appeal for more of our members to contribute some items, however small, you have my heartfelt sympathy. I have the dubious honour of being publicity officer for East Cessnock Bowling Club, and endeavour to publish a monthly newsletter. Although this publication is well received each month, I have the devil's own job in getting contributions from many of the members.
Vera and I have just had four weeks holidays spent mainly on the North Coast. We spent the first week at Yamba, playing in the North Coast Greenkeepers bowls carnival. Whilst there, we had the opportunity of inspecting the Ex-P.O.W. Association holiday cottage, and I must say that I was most impressed with it. Any one interested should contact Harry Rhodes in Grafton.
On our way back, we spent a week at Coffs Harbour. We have been coming here for about seven or eight years, and have never yet contacted Joe Veivers. This time I had made up my mind to get in touch with him, so accordingly I betook myself to West Coffs Harbour Bowling Club, where Joe has the distinction of being a vice President. We enjoyed a few noggins of the amber fluid together and during the time I was there, Joe introduced me to quite a lot of the members, most of whom were Italians. Joe put the word on one of them for a bunch of bananas for me, and it was arranged that Vera and myself meet Joe and Norma and go out to this gentleman's banana plantation on Saturday morning. This we duly did, and I obtained a beaut bunch of bananas for which I was to be charged two dollars. However the old bartering spirit, the apprenticeship for which I served in Singapore, came to the fore and I ended up swapping a half gallon of wine, which I had in the car, for the bananas.
After leaving Coffs Harbour we journeyed on to Taree where we spent the night with Una and Paddles Clune. I omitted to say that on the way North at the start of our holidays, we spent the night with this couple, and together with two of their friends had dinner at Taree R.S.L. Club in an early celebration of Una's birthday. As Paddles was leaving next day to spend a few days at Nambucca Heads, where he was to meet Curly Hardman, we decided that we would also call in there on the way up.
On arrival at the caravan park where they were staying, the first person we saw was Paddles, nonchalantly strolling around the place in pyjamas and dressing gown at ten o'clock in the morning. He directed us to Curly's caravan where we met Beatrice for the first time. She said that Curly was away fishing and pointed out to us a scruffy looking figure perched on the breakwater, hopefully waiting for a fish with suicidal tendencies, to swim along..
We spent a very pleasant hour or so with Curly, whom I had not seen for quite a number of years, before taking off en route to Yamba.
Vera and I are going to Taree for the P.O.W. Reunion, where we are booked in at Clunes Hotel, and at your behest I will take my notebook and pencil; and on my return will attempt to duly transcribe it by the hunt and peck method of typing. If my account should become somewhat incoherent towards the end of it, please bear with me, as events may become a little hazy as the evening progresses.
Then President Arch Thorburn heeded the plea, and sent in an interesting, though brief account of an Overseas trip. We quote:
I do not propose to weary you with a detailed account of the trip Daphne and I were fortunate to make, but I thought some random notes could be of interest.
I had a note of introduction to the Captain of the jumbo-jet on which we travelled, from a fellow Captain who is in my golf club. This resulted in my brother, who with his wife, travelled with us, and I being invited onto the flight deck. We stood enthralled as he put the great bird through its paces and explained just what he was doing. From the rarefied air of the flight deck we returned to our seats in time to receive a glass of champagne each with the compliments of one of the stewards, who turned out to be a patient of my brother. We had three weeks on the Continent and then about two weeks in England. We thought of seeing Ireland, but there was no need to, the I.R.A. came to us and blew up part of the Tower of London while we were in England. We did not think this was very gentlemanly of then so left there and went to York University, where we took part in a legal seminar with some of our English counterparts and their wives. We had a very interesting and entertaining weekend, climaxing with a dance. The Edwin Harper Band provided the dance music. Mr. Harper was the pianist. He played the whole evening standing up, but in a sitting position without a chair under him. It was subsequently explained he had gained his early training in Western saloons, where he had had the chair shot from under him so often that he got used to doing without one!
The President of the English Law Society had presided at the conference and was the most polished after dinner speaker I have ever heard. He said that when he had been learning the art he had inquired from an acknowledged authority just what constituted a good after dinner speech. He was told "bring religion into it and perhaps the aristocracy, with a bit of sex and with just a hint of mystery, such as "My God" said the Duchess "I've been raped! I wonder who did it?".
We then teamed up again with my brother and his wife and hired a station-wagon and toured Scotland for a fortnight. We travelled to John O'Groates, the Northernmost tip of Scotland; also visited the Isle of Skye, the birthplace of our father; and then wandered at will over this fascinating country.
We attended a service at the Free Church of Scotland in Dingwell, where my great-uncle had been a famous Scottish preacher - there is a monument to him in the church grounds. He was John Kennedy and I was called after him, you might remember my full name is Archibald John Kennedy Thorburn. The Wee Free, as they are called, are a very contrary lot. The collection plate is at the door as you come in, it is not passed around during the service. There is no organ, the singing is led by two men with strong tenor voices, who took it in turns to do the leading. There are no hymns, only psalms. When a psalm is commenced you sit to sing, you do not stand. When a prayer is commenced, instead of sitting or kneeling, you stand up - altogether it took a lot of following but they are very sincere. The following Sunday we attended the Cathedral Church of Scotland on the Royal Mile at Edinburgh. You might say it catered for the carriage trade. The ushers wore frockcoats and striped pants.
I hope I have not unsettled anyone who may chance to read these jottings. If I have, let me hasten to assure her, him or them, as the case may be, that Australia is still the best place to live.
A very brief note from Frank Hannan (HQ Coy), from Bowral, indicated that he was obviously doing a bit of moving around. He was then about to move off to Gayndah, Q., and then on to Rockhampton, where he hoped to catch up with Padre Paddy Walsh. Meantime, his address in Wollongong is the place for mail, as his niece is attending to matters for him.
Bruce Greer (HQ Coy) was pretty brief, in his letter from Balling, merely mentioning that Ray Simmons (BHQ) had spent a week with Bruce and Billie, having made the trip to cover the Ballina Reunion, which he enjoyed immensely.
However, Bruce did enclose a clipping from the local paper, from which we quote:
The post office at Binna Burra will be no more after next weekend. Jackson's store and post office there have been a landmark for more than 50 years. The store closed last October but Mr. Ossie Jackson carried on the post office. Now ill health has forced him to retire and the PMG will not continue it. The Jackson store and post office came into being in 1921 after a remarkable voluntary effort.
Mr. Jackson Snr. was killed in a fire at Bangalow, leaving his wife and young family. Mr. Jackson's workmates at the Binna Burra butter factory ran an appeal and then organised volunteers to build the post office and store to give Mrs. Jackson an income. Mrs. Jackson conducted the business until 1946 when it was taken over by Mr. Ossie Jackson on his return from the war. He operated it in partnership with his brother Mike.
The Jacksons have taken a leading part in the district's affairs. Ossie served nine years on Byron Shire Council. He will continue to live in the Binna Burra residence but that famous Jackson service from store and post office sadly will end next week.
For some unaccountable reason, Jock McKenzie (B Coy) got an idea that he was behind with his Subs so he bunged a bit of currency in with his letter from Leeton, which put him in an even further advanced position than he already was.
Jock recalled the potato-throwing incident (mentioned in July/ August MAKAN, under the heading "Do You Remember?") and also an experience he had with B.J. when his driver, Nugget Crummy, was away and Jock relieved him.
One afternoon, as they approached one of the Company training areas, they noticed, from a distance, that the men were all standing around in small mobs. Although he suspected that the odd game of two-up might have been on, in answer to the Old Man's query as to what was going on, Jock stoutly affirmed that he wouldn't have a clue, and stuck to that.
When the car drove up and stopped, the mobs dispersed and Des Kearney threw B.J. a smart salute as he stepped from the car. B.J. looked him straight in the face and said "when did you shave last?". To which the reply was "Six o'clock this morning, with cold water." In typical fashion, B.J. countered with "Well, in future, stand closer to the razor."
He then enquired as to what was going on, to which Des replied that it was only a friendly game of wrestling; and he offered to put on a bout for B.J. But B.J.'s only reply, as he moved away, was "How are the pennies falling?"
Jock also recalled the famous kit inspection strike, and expressed the opinion that Bill Bailey and himself started it.
It took quite an effort to get them going, but Jack Burke (C Coy) finally got his arthritic fingers working to advise a change of address, still in Dalby, Q., but in a location less disturbed during the night by heavy transports.
Jack also sent down a small book he had acquired, written by an officer in the R.A.F. who was stationed at the Air Base post-War, entitled the "History of Changi". It covers the period from the early days, when the area was a swamp and had to be drained and filled before work could commence on it, through the construction days, briefly through P.O.W. days, and up to the post War period. One of its attractions is that it is a very limited edition and was printed at the Changi Gaol.
Jack has kindly offered to let it circulate amongst any interested members, but he has stipulated, and rightly so, that its condition must be preserved, and it must be returned to him in due course. Anyone interested, please apply to the Editor.
Bill Robinson (BHQ) didn't get tired of looking at the bikini clad beauties of Surfers, but he managed to sell his house at Burleigh Heads, Q. He had been tempted to hang on to it, but his health has deteriorated of late, making it rather difficult for him to manage on his own.
It will be recalled that Bill lost his left leg below the knee while on "A" Force, and severe arthritis of the spine and left hip have worsened to a stage where, when added to his deteriorating nervous condition and a dozen other accepted disabilities, he has been reduced to a point where he has to have regular treatment; and he finds it almost impossible at times to manage on his own. (Bill has not married).
His married sister has persuaded him to stay with her and her family at the Tregeagle P.O. (just out of Lismore) until he picks up, and decides what to do for the future. Apart from noting his departure from Burleigh Heads, we will not record Bill's present address for the time being, but Bill would sure appreciate a visit from any of the Lismore/Casino boys who happen to be out Tregeagle way.
Our Central Coast Correspondent, Andy Hyslop (BHQ) bunged in a report to keep us up-to-date with the news.
The gales and floods must have been somewhat frightening up that way. One cobber of Andy's at Point Clare literally stared when the bow of a sizeable half-cabin cruiser shot suddenly into his living room. Another keen bowling friend awoke in the middle of the night to hear swishing and rolling under his bed. Thinking his bowls had come adrift in the severe storm he hopped out of bed to find his feet in water and his whole house awash.
Umina Beach (as reported in the Press at that time) suffered rather badly, with a section of the concrete esplanade being washed away; and the flooding has left semi-permanent, lakes dotted over the landscape.
Andy continued with some news of a couple of our members, and we quote:
Gordon (Digger) Preen (HQ Coy) is retired and now lives with wife Jane, at Ettalong. Health is reasonable, except for some eye-trouble. Gordon reckons that being blown up at Mersing didn't help his constitution any.
Jack Grossmith (HQ Coy) leads an idyllic life in a picturesque waterfront cottage at Blackwall Point, Woy Woy. Health is very sound for Jack and for wife Hilda, who does a stirling job with the local meals-on-wheels organisation.
Bowling at Woy Woy Club rounds off the joys of maritime retirement and as Jack justly remarks, "When you've got everything in a place, where can you go from there?". Another of Jack's hobbies, plus bowling and fishing, arises from the possession of a fine woodworking lathe. His superbly finished inlays and cabinet pieces would do credit to a professional.
A new telephone number for Ray Simmons (BHQ) and regards to all, rounded off Andy's report.
Beatrice Hardman, wife of Curly (HQ Coy) has joined the unpaid Secretary/Wives Club and was kind enough to let us have a nice newsy letter for openers, from which we quote:
Well, after 29 years, I thought it was about time that Curly became a member of the Association. It has taken a long time but as I am the letter writer in this family, (Curly seems to get paralysis of the right arm, where letter writing is concerned; and many other excuses) I have to do it all.
Curly has retired now, owing to his ill health, but he is enjoying his retirement very much. Breakfast in bed, etc. - he's really spoilt rotten. I have many memories of my association with the 2/30th Comfort Assoc. during those war years and have always been interested in the doings of the 2/30th Boys. I know so many of the Battalion, and must admit to being very proud of the Battalion.
Curly still has his off days, with his bladder condition, and has to have regular check-ups for that; and as well is plagued with bronchitis. He has just had five days in hospital, much to his displeasure - doesn't take kindly to hospital - but he is not too bad at the moment.
In May, after having purchased a caravan, we took off on a three months safari up the North Coast, from Woy Woy, up as far as Southport in Queensland. We saw quite a few of his fellow 2/30th Boys. Curly fished, and got some too. He is a very keen fisherman; as is our son, 26 years old; and we only have one grandson as yet.
The highlights of our tour were the nine days we spent at Taree, with Jack (Paddles) Clune and his wife, Una, at their nice home; and most of all the mid North Coast P.O.W. Reunion on August 10th. What a mighty night that was! Sir Adrian Curlewis, who was guest of Honour, had quite a few words to say. You will have received a report from Jack Fell about that, but I would like to add my version of the aftermath at the Clune home. (Published as an addendum to Jack's report - Ed.)
Curly has some lovely slides of the Reunion in Taree, of Bill Newton, Joe Veivers and Ted Skuse, in colour, and all of their wives. They will be a talking point for years to come. Bill Newton and his wife and lovely daughter were with us at the Dinner. Bill looked well, Ted also, and Curly says he hasn't altered; except that we have all got older. Both Curly and I are sixty years young now, me, 61 next Friday, 13th Sept. - I'm going to get a lottery ticket that day.
(A most sincere welcome to the Club, Beatrice, and please keep up the good work. Without the help of the wives, news of their men, their families and their doings would be very scant indeed, and Lord knows how we would ever get most of the lazy wretches to pay their Subs. - Ed.)
Our Grafton Correspondent, Harry Rhodes (B Coy) required to use up most of his letter with particulars concerning the forthcoming Reunion Dinner at Grafton (see page 4.) but from the balance, we quote:
On our holidays, Ethel and myself called on Don and Judy Garner at Nambucca Heads and found them very well and enjoying life. Also, whilst overnight at Terrigal, I rang Fred Butt; and the next day spent a couple of very enjoyable hours at the Gosford Leagues Club, yarning and sipping some amber fluid.
Ethel and I attended the Reunions at Taree and Ballina on successive Saturday nights, and had a very enjoyable time at both.
I was beaten in the semi final of the South Grafton Bowling A grade singles recently 31.27, the chap who beat me went on and won the final.
Harry enclosed a spot of Subs in Advance, and concluded with regards to all.
George Kinsela (HQ Coy) freely admits to being a poor correspondent, but he did put pen to paper to advise his new address at Grenfell.
It appears that George decided to give the Building game away so he sold his place at Northmead and bought a few acres up at Grenfell, on which there was a very old cottage, which he is rebuilding.
George has also acquired a small tractor, with which he intends to do "a spot of gardening to fill in my spare time." Although he made no mention of his health, his building and gardening activities would appear to indicate that George is keeping fairly well.
George did much better than Dick Tompson (HQ Coy) who advised change of address from New Town to another Hobart suburb, and merely added that he and Anne were moving into a new house, and were both well.
From various sources we have learned that Bill Senior (HQ Coy) was recently the victim of poor workmanship by a most unsatisfactory Building Company. Bill was apparently not the only one. The only apparent satisfaction Bill got was that the Company had its licence suspended by the Builders Licensing Board. (Bad luck, Bill, and we hope the trouble has since been corrected. - Ed.)
We also heard that, following the loss of his previous yacht (Jul/Aug-issue) Des Kearney (B Coy) has acquired a larger and better yacht. (Here's hoping that you enjoy freedom from any further disasters, Des. - Ed.)
When forwarding the report on the Ballina Reunion, our F.N.C. Correspondent made mention of a most successful visit by Sir Adrian and Lady Curlewis to the Far North Coast during the recent Legacy Week, during the course of which Sir Adrian addressed gatherings in several areas in a most capable and interesting manner.
Our Correspondent enclosed a couple of newspaper photos, one showing Sir Adrian sharing a joke with Harry Riches, Stan Scarrabellotti and a Mr. Alf Staff at Brunswick Heads; and the other showing Sir Adrian, Rogo Sweeney and a Mr. John Llewellyn, armed with long-handled shovels, moving along the railway line at Kyogle, and subsequently simulating working on the line - as the newspaper article remarked:- "It seemed natural that they try their hands on the rails again - voluntarily this time."
Alan and Betty Pryde (HQ Coy) used attendance at the Ballina Reunion to make a quick trip up North, and we quote from their supplementary report on the function:
Joe Johnston (D Coy) compered the function and did it very well. I had been specifically requested by Phil Schofield to give Joe's wife, Sybil, his very special thanks for the grand work she has done in keeping him posted with news of the Far North Coast boys. I was also directed to give Sybil a very special kiss of thanks on Phil's behalf, (although this seemed to be punishing rather than thanking the lady). I carried out both instructions and found the second of them so agreeable that I sought and was granted a back-up. At. the end of the evening Sybil asked me to thank Phil for his message and give him a kiss from her. Now I draw the line at kissing Phil, but I had another back-up from Sybil. I hope that Vi Schofield may act as an intermediary and let me keep my purely heterosexual attitudes intact.
An excellent smorgasbord was laid out and the tables were very tastefully set. Some of the fellows took such enormous portions of the goodies (and rice) that it seemed that they had just been released from P.O.W. starvation camps: Harry Riches, aged 71, but looking very much younger than that, helped himself to a plate of goodies three times as much as I could ever cope with. He has his troubles, but seems very cheerful and he is a pleasure to talk to. But so are the rest of our blokes that I encountered at the Reunion. It was good to see how well most of them looked. As, unfortunately, so often happens, one never has time to talk for any length with our blokes at a function, or with their wives, and the situation is not helped when it is realised that, living some 500 miles away, I had a lot to learn about our blokes in the top corner of the State. These country fellows come in from 80 to 120 kilometres and more to get together. Imagine driving home such distances after winding up at 11.30 p.m. after a big night at the Club!
Jock Logan, from Palm Beach, South of Surfers Paradise, was in fine form. He put on an act trying to mate a bamboo trunk with a rubber tree and provided very good entertainment in the process.
Artie and Nancy Power came down from Kyogle (about 95 kilometres) and like Bill Sorenson who came from the same town, accompanied by his wife Flo, intended to drive back home after the do. Unless I had become befuddled by the time I was talking with him, I gather that Bill and Flo have six grandchildren, but still have two sons and one daughter yet to be married off. If such is the case, Bill and his wife are very much in the Grandpa Stakes. Fortunately for me Artie Power was quite circumspect, although none the less enthusiastic in his request that I convey a special good wish to both our Patron and to Phil. I was not ordered to kiss either of them, but would happily do so if such an act could express our thanks for their efforts.
As indicated previously, our fellows looked to be in quite good health. Certainly Noel Hampton has a fair bit of trouble with severe osteoarthritis and Ray Simmons seemed somewhat tired after a long train trip up from Wyoming. There is one positive thing certain, few of us looked as frisky at the end of the very congenial evening as we did at the start of it. Betty and I had a splendid evening and thoroughly recommend any similar Reunion to other Association members who can make it in subsequent years. Our personal thanks to all who helped to make it such a grand occasion.
As a final commentary, let me make this remark. Have no fears at all, at the present time at least, that our blokes in the Ballina, Knockrow, Tintenbar, Bangalow, Byron Bay, Murwillumbah, Billinudgel area will starve. Despite not very good seasons, the grass is so lush that one feels like getting out of the car and nibbling it. (“The grass is so much greener around at the back" idea.)
We tend to forget until a Reunion such as this most pleasant one, that there were personnel made Prisoners of War in other theatres of operations than Malaya/Singapore/Java. Present at the dinner were Ex-P.O.W.'s who had been caught up - and locked up - in Germany, Silesia (Poland), Greece, Crete and so on. Representatives of such circumstances were at this Ballina Reunion.
Jack Thorne, formerly of H.M.S. Glory, and now living at Sandgate Brisbane, asked if we would try to locate, and refer to him, anyone who was evacuated from Penang by "Glory" to the Naval Hospital at Colombo, Ceylon (now known as SRI LANKA).