There was a delightful article in a recent Australian Weekend Magazine stating that over 50,000 items had been donated to the Australian War Memorial over the last two years. Covid cleanouts have unearthed long-lost wartime relics from all across the country.

One 80 year old gentleman stumbled upon letters from his Flying Officer father to his mother, to whom he wrote nearly every day. The gentleman hasn’t read the letters stating that they “are too close to him, too personal”, and has them neatly boxed until his death.

This resonated as I recently came across information that my own father’s war diary was held by the Australian War Memorial.

Who? What? Where? See here:

Cat Balou (AKA Columbo), my super sleuth youngest daughter, has discovered that my father’s diary formed part of an Estate that was recently donated to the AWM. It appears that at wars end my father gave his diary to the family of a good mate killed over the skies of Germany. With the passing of a generation the family then donated the diary on to the AWM. Apparently, this is not an uncommon practise.

It is “too close……too personal” for me to read but young Columbo has a two hour appointment for viewing next week.

Plus Book Of The Month for January:

I’ve been chasing this one for yonks : the diary of Betty Jeffrey who alongside 64 other Australian Army Nurses was evacuated from Singapore, and who went down with the Vyner Brook, which had been bombed by the Japanese.

The women made it to safety at Banka Island where they were captured and held captive in various camps across Sumatra. They formed an orchestral choir in an attempt to beat boredom with their story becoming the basis of one of my favourite movies, Paradise Road.

These women suffered woefully over the three year period of captivity with only 24 surviving the ordeal. Despite being a “difficult” read at times these women were courageous, resilient and simply magnificent human beings. I tell you, it has certainly stopped my whinging any further about any self imposed isolation!


Betty received the Order of Australia for services to ex-servicemen and women in 1987.

7 thoughts on “Diaries…….

    1. Filmed west of Cairns in FNQ with a strong multi cultural cast. Was one of Cate Blanchett’s early roles. Not a huge money maker as the content is a bit confrontational for those with a penchant for sci fi and superheroes.
      Sweltering on this side of the Island. Hope you are doing okay 🙂


    1. Not a big hitter for those entrenched in the superhero market but a good story based on fact. The book was excellent. Not particularly well written as it evolved from a diary written in short bursts and hidden from Japanese guards, but with so many lessons for us all to learn.
      P S Happy Birthday.🎂


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