It’s All About The Journey.

Home after a week pottering around the beautiful small townships of the New South Wales, South Coast Region. This trip, despite its short length, was a celebration of the end of one phase of my life and for the beginning of the next. The goal was to purge some sad memories and to create some that were new and fresh. It is amazing how quickly those goals were achieved.

This part of the world is a continuous coastline on one side of the highway, and soft green hills or rugged timberland on the other. It’s a part of the world where you don’t have to share a beach and there is a plethora of space to stop and think. Space where there is no white noise. Any plans for an overseas jaunt in coming months are seriously being overhauled.

My favourite travel writer, Bill Bryson, who totally cracks me up said “ To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.”

Road trips are the source of much fascinating information. After a quick feed at a pub in Nowra, I learnt that The Archer Tavern was named after the racehorse that won Australia’s first and second Melbourne Cups in 1861 and ‘62. Archer was a long distance specialist having walked the 600 miles from Nowra to Melbourne for the big race.

This was the basis of a truly dreadful mid eighties movie starring Our Nic before she met that bloke Cruise, and a young Brett Climo. Whatever happened to him, I wonder?

In Moruya, further south on the Moruya River, you can’t miss the recently closed Air Raid Tavern situated on the Highway. A wooden carving of The Airman stands proudly outside. Moruya ?Air Raids? The hallmarks of a failed education system in the 1970s were once again raising their ugly heads.

Three trawler men lost their lives during WW2 when a Japanese Midget submarine bombed them off the Moruya Coast, on their way up the East Coast. Who knew that? Some more unpalatable history, apparently.

So, of course I had to look at the Midget Sub on display, very much bruised and battered, at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Fascinating stuff.

For the penultimate in Trivia a celebration of another kind taking place further south near Narooma had themed food to match the quiz like game at hand, set up in tents in a back garden, with a soft summer breeze, the hum of cicadas, and a playlist of music from the last five decades.

Much thanks must go to these good people, these Adventurers, who have convinced me to add “Watch Dr Who Christmas Special” to my Must Do List. An achievement considering never having watched a Star Wars, Harry Potter, or Lord Of The Rings movie  which I rate highly as Personal Bests, right up there with my No Tupperware Policy.

And I picked up a first Edition copy of Rudyard Kipling’s, Kim, for my Errol Flynn Collection from a second hand bookstore in a little country town that served the best coffee.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said , “It’s not the destination. It’s the journey.” So true.

Cyclones and Peter Allen

A cyclone went through my house on the weekend. A cyclone with a penchant for singing Bing Crosby dolls. I’m still in recovery mode.

It seems that a respected and much loved football player of 16 years standing was retiring and the local Leagues club was putting on a special function for fans. Just another interest I shouldn’t have shared with the offspring, I guess.

Hand on heart, I swear it was not I who introduced her to the concept of having a punt on the horses. Not Guilty, Judge.

Still weary, I am now travelling south across the border to a sheep and cattle town with an interesting history. An Old Girls road trip with the promise of museums, galleries, lavender farms, wineries, and farmers markets. My friend informs me she has home made soup in the boot of the car. Sorry, sweetie: a country town means a meal at the pub with a steak half an inch thick and enough blood to soak the fresh bread, washed down with something red.

It will be close to 0 degrees in Tenterfield, but I have a loud shirt ready for the Peter Allen Concert.


Enjoy your weekend peeps.

And daughter of mine, I know you snuck out with The Quiet Man DVD.

Updates Only.

News in from the Uniting Church’s Hands Up monthly newsletter states : “January saw the Brisbane Bookfest and what a whopper it was! Over $1.459 million raised to support our 24 hour Lifeline Crisis Support line which was over $200k above the target!”

That’s a lot of preloved books, comics, magazines and CDs sold for charity. And here’s the rub – Brisbane is Australia’s third largest city. What must the figures be like in Sydney and Melbourne? And who said it was the time of electronic reading devices?

We do it all again mid year. I’m already squirrelling my gold coins away!


The Little Street Library Project which I instigated will be fully functioning by late March. After spotting one of these mini constructions whilst holidaying I initiated the building of something similar on my own front lawn, only to realise that in a cul de sac there would be minimal traffic to take advantage of the facility.


So I took the concept to my local Councillor who ran with the idea of erecting a mini library in the local parkland. Construction has been completed by the local Men’s Shed as a community project using steel for anti vandalism purposes. The Councillor has arranged for the locking and unlocking of the Little Street Library to be part of the daily tasks of the cleaner, employed by Council, when he attends to his duties each morning and night. So that’s kicking Vandalism’s butt also.


So why the delay? In an attempt to beautify the area in which the Little Street Library will be installed, and because the surrounding area is native bushland that abounds with wildlife, the Councillor has organised a bushland mural which will soften the look of the building to which the facility will be attached, adding to the total ambience – touch wood.

This is the pattern of the mural:


The books are ready for inclusion, thanks to friends for donations, especially the magazines and children’s books. I’m wondering if I should add a couple of small family board games…….


I also have a box of pre loved DVDs and CDs , all very playable, though have concerns about possible claims of damage to electronics. I’m told a couple of blokey sports books would also be appreciated. Yeah, like I have anything of that genre laying around…….

The LOML is donating a couple of books festooned with Dragons, and is adamant that the collection include a book covering chakras/meridians/astrological influences. Because the local Leaf Blowing Brigade will just love that!

Any additions required, you think?


The 76th Anniversary of the Fall of Singapore.

Read any good books lately?

I recently finished Paul Ham’s Sandakan, The Untold Stories Of The Sandakan Death March, which was yet another atrocity of  World War 2. Ham, a historian and journalist, specialises in the writing of historical events involving Australia during the 20th Century. Interestingly, Ham’s summation of how and why the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese occurred was clear, concise, and took only 20 pages, making my four years of history classes a total waste of time.(Tip: make sure you have taken your  blood pressure tablets before embarking on said 20 pages).

This is an uncomfortable book to read. A Review in the Sydney Morning Herald summed it up perfectly. “ The most comprehensive account written about the worst single atrocity committed against Allied prisoners of war by the Japanese. Ham has written of these events with great power and assiduous research. Surely this is now the definitive account of the Sandakan death marches”.


Those readers under a certain age may not be aware that the Fall of Singapore to the Japanese in 1942 is considered to be one of the greatest military defeats in the history of the British Empire. Singapore was considered vital to the Brits and impregnable as a fortress. The surrender indicated that the Japanese were truly a force to be reckoned with.

According to figures from the Australian War Memorial over 22,000 Australians became prisoners of war of the Japanese in south-east Asia. The wave of Japanese victories, ending with the capture of the Netherlands East Indies in March 1942, left in its wake a mass of Allied prisoners of war, including many Australians. Most of the Australians (14,972) were captured in Singapore; other principal Australian prisoner-of-war groups were captured in Java (2,736), Timor (1,137), Ambon (1,075), and New Britain (1,049).

My first job back in the 1970’s was with the Department of Repatriation, now known as Veterans Affairs. I had a natural affinity with the old boys and girls from several Wars across the ages and developed a particular interest in Australian POWs, having grown up surrounded by older people who had lived through the Depression and a World War. It was only ever discussed when I left Pumpkin on my dinner plate as a child and suffered a massive lecture about the days of rationing. No matter – I’m still not a fan of pumpkin.

I mention this because the 76th anniversary of the Fall of Singapore will be commemorated at the Shrine of Remembrance, Ann Street, Brisbane on Sunday, 18th February, 2018.


Government and services representatives will be present. The  Military Wives Choir will sing the Captives’ Hymn, composed by female captives in the South East Asia regions, and will be followed by a half hour wreath laying ceremony, irrespective of the weather.

Is such a commemoration still relevant? I certainly think so. As a product of the baby boom era I went to primary school with many children who had fathers that went missing for long periods, or whom “drifted” from place to place towing their families along with them. Some of my friends grew up without a father. We all had a friend who was a ” Legacy Kid”. There was no stigma attached as it was not an uncommon occurrence. It was not something that was ever discussed either. It just was. It is only with hindsight and age that I look back and realise why a school mate was at the playground one day, gone the next.

Social gatherings and dinner parties with friends in their 50s, 60s, and even in their 70s, is when we now share stories from our childhood, and most stories are too personal, and sometimes too tragic, to share here.

Three of my best friends are the children of POWs who were detained in Changi. Their fathers may have survived incarceration, though each died prematurely. Funnily enough, each of my friends, though wonderful, loving and funny people, still bare psychological scars of sorts from their childhood.

( Read about Digger Shears in War On Our Doorstep).

Too long ago? What does it matter?

This commemoration is not a celebration. It is a reminder of what happened all those years ago, and in remembering, it is an affirmation that it must not happen again.

Those to be remembered at this service include the chief Queensland Second World War military units of the Eighth Australian Division (2/10th Field Regiment (Artillery) and 2/26th Infantry Battalion) which were comprised almost entirely of young Queenslanders. They suffered inhospitable conditions, slavery, brutality and malnutrition. One third of them died during their three and a half years captivity as prisoners of war of the Japanese. The nurses and civilians will be remembered also.

The program will commence at 10am and the General Public are most welcome to attend. Some seating will be available.

Central Station is the closest Railway station and this area, Anzac Square, is also accessible by bus.

If you are interested in reading more about the resilience, bravery, and guts of the POWs here are a couple of book titles that I have been carting around for thirty years or more, far longer than any husband/s.



If you have a loose hour on the day  consider lending some support to families and friends.

We mustn’t forget.