of March, 1922, in a house that my father built. And I was the third in a family, eventually there was seven kids, but I was the third, and we moved to Sydney when I was about two years old. And, then I went along and when we moved from Repton to Woollahra, and then we moved to Paddington and I started
school at Paddington School. And we moved around a bit, my father was a builder, and or well a carpenter in the building trade and eventually I finished at Leichhardt School. I passed the intermediate [certificate] there and started work and worked in office work until the war came along
and in my late teens I was interested in motorcycling so I bought a motor cycle and then during the war years, when the men were getting called up. Kodak who had developing and printing business, wanted people for their delivering, motor cycles. In those days all the photos were left at chemist shops
and the films had to be picked up and the prints delivered back to them, so I applied for a job there, which was more interesting than office work, and also paid better. And went and stayed there, this was involved riding Harley and war Indian motorcycles with big side boxes
on to carry the loads, and we rode every day in winter and summer and the wet weather and everything else and there were eventually four girls going this and I stayed there until I decided to join the air force and as a technical trainee.
Went into the air force and did my rookies [recruit training] at Bradfield and then we went to Adelaide for basic training and then to Melbourne where we lived in the showground, starting off in the cattle pavilion and then the horse pavilion and to do our flight mechanics course. And then it was
interesting there we started off as an all girl course, there were 15 of us and you had an exam at the end of each week. The first week was mainly on basic engines, auto cycle and the various parts of engines and the, at the first weekly exam. The exams were always on the Saturday morning,
six of us passed and the others didn’t and if you didn’t pass you got another chance, but we went on and we then integrated with male course. And from then on we just went and the first week there was on Gypsy engines out of the Tiger Moths [training aircraft] , and we then progressed
to the more advanced engines and until we got through at the end of three months we passed out as flight mechanics.
Hill, which was an aircraft depot, of course we had hoped to get to flying stations, where, at Forrest Hill, the engines came in, or the aircraft came in. They did have an airframe section too, but we were in the engine section, the engines were just stripped down and cleaned and reassembled. And I stayed there at Forrest Hill,
until the end of the war and then after that I came back to Sydney and went back to Kodak for a while. And stayed there until one day I was riding along George Street, in the days when they had trams and a man leant out of a tram and yelled out to me, “Why don’t you give a man back his job?” So I went back and
resigned, but I had to wait about a month until they found a man who’d do the job. Some of them would come along, when they found they had to ride in wet weather they’d say, “No way.” So, and then I went back to office work, until I was married and that was in 1947. And then I went on, I was in the motorcycle club and involved in a lot of motorcycling and things, and
that was how I met my husband who was also ex air force, he’d been a navigator in bomber command. And so we were married and I kept on motorcycling and so forth until I ended up with twin boys. So I stopped the motorcycling and three years later I had a daughter,
but we were still very much involved in the motorcycling. And my husband was involved in racing, motorcycle racing, both the small tracks and at Bathurst. And in 1956, he was taking part in one of the around Australia
car trials and he and his co driver were both killed in an accident and that put an end to almost to my life really. And so then when I got myself together. I eventually went
back to work, once again to office work, and I, well after Bill died. He’d been a partner in a motorcycle business. I worked at that for a while, but it was too far from home and involved too much travelling with the small children and things so I then got a job at Victa and
at that stage they were making mowers. And I was secretary to the works manager of the mower factory and then they started building aircraft, the Victa Air-Tourer. So, because of my interest in aviation, I was transferred to Victa Aviation, and once again in a secretarial position
but when they wanted an extra pilot…oh, meantime, while I was there I started to learn to fly and just for something different. I found I was getting into a bit of a rut, and I couldn’t bear to go back to the motorcycling crowd. So I got my pilot's licence and then and then managed to get a bit of flying with Victa.
And stayed there for a few years and then when thing change, as they do with these places with change of personalities at the top, and things I left there and eventually got a position. Oh, I worked for a while as secretary to the manager of the Aero Club at Bankstown
but then ended up as secretary to the general manager of Ansett General Aviation which was the light aircraft division, they were involved in the sales of the Piper aircraft and stayed there until I retired.
Excellent, that was a really great summary, I think that’s the best one we’ve had all week. Okay, so you moved, obviously you’ve got no memories of the place where you were born, you were only two when you left, what are your earliest memories?
Well, where we lived at, when we first came to Sydney, that was when my next brother was born and I can remember Mum bringing him home from hospital and he’s three years younger than I am. And generally,
I remember when my mother was in hospital, my grandmother came to look after us and things and she was a bit of an old martinet. And she used to make my brother, who was two years older than me, work. Sweeping the yard and doing things like that, so that’s part of the memories there. And then I remember the day I started school,
which was in 1926, I was at, I was nearly four, but I was a bit of a nuisance at home. So they told the school I was five and sent me off to school.
infants school and then eventually got to primary school and fortunately I was not too bad at school. I could always get through, and I then I did what they called the QC, the Qualifying Certificate which we used to do in sixth class to see if you were
fit to go onto high school. Well I’d have liked to have gone to high school, but this was in the Depression and my father was out of work because the building industry was one of the first things to collapse during the Depression. So there was no question of me going to high school and having a proper uniform and all that. But, and then
at the end of that year my father got a job finishing a cottage which had been started at Leichhardt and we were able to live there, while he worked on it. And so I went to Leichhardt School and did a commercial course
and passed the intermediate in 1935 and started work at office work.
pretty tough, because in 1931, October 1931, my mother had a baby who at that stage was the most premature baby to survive in New South Wales. He was a 26 weeks conception and he weighted two pound, two ounces. I know they have smaller ones these days, but in those days, the
basic humidicrib [infant incubator] and things that they had, it was a miracle. They called him Crown Street Miracle and he was three months old before he left hospital. And my mother was not very well and with the lack of an income and things and in those days they didn’t pay out the dole
the way they do. They used to give groceries and things and you got an order for the butcher and things that they couldn’t but Dad used to go off with a big suitcase and come home with it you know with flour and sugar and various things in. And so it was a pretty stressful time and I know I didn’t have a school
uniform and fortunately my mother was pretty resourceful at making over things. So I always had a dress to wear but sometimes it didn’t last very long. And so there were that sort of. Although, I suppose as children we didn’t regard this hardship and there were so many of our friends were in the same position so we just
accepted it and went along with it.
the four rooms. And my father had extended and put the front on it and various other things, sold for $625,000 because we saw it, at the auction. In fact a friend of mine, one of my school friends, who also lived, she lived close, she saw it in the real estate news. And she went to the auction just for fun, to
tell me what it was like. And of course she’d been in the place when I was there and it had been changed and sort of tarted [smartened] up a bit. But when I think back to, you could have bought it for about 500 pounds, at the time that we had it.
What about, you said it wasn’t a lot of fun, but you must have had a bit of fun, what sort of things would you eat or do for a treat?
Oh, well all I can remember is that when our birthdays came around, there was always a cake and things, but no, I think the food was fairly basic. We didn’t get around to many treats and things. But I can remember going to the
butcher one day to get the meat and he was a kindly sort of friendly fellow and he said to me, “How many kids are there in your family?” When I told him he went away and added to the meat that I was buying I think about half a dozen sausages one each for the kids. And so there was those sort of things that made a difference and then
of course, you know, when I got home I almost got in trouble, “You weren’t saying anything to the butcher.”
younger sister was born in the February and I was kept at home so that I could look after the household while Mum went into hospital. There were two pre school children and Mum went off to hospital, Dad went off to work, older brother and sister went off to work. And I was left
to look after the two kids and keep house and do the washing and the housework and everything else. And then when Mum came home from hospital I went and got a job and I know I was going to work in the city but I didn’t pay full fare on the tram until you were 14. And
I used to hand and the tram guard said one day, “You’re going to work aren’t you?” And I said, “Yes, but I’m not 14.” So I still paid my penny fare.
a chemical place, it was in the city and it was to be for typing and things and when I got there, and yes they gave me the job. And I found that I was to start the next day so went in and started the next day. And then I was informed
that in addition to the typing, that would only be a very small part of it, there was packing these chemicals. Actually they were teething powders for baby, but the whole place had, was Fisher’s Phospherene or something, and it was this chemical smell about the place but. And I was
to work in that and every now and again I was to do a bit of typing, and only typing of labels and things they hadn’t explained all this to me, so after about half an hour I went and said, “Is this smell here all the time?” And they said, “Yes.” And I said, “Well I’m afraid I won’t be.” And so, I went out and bought a paper and went, there was a job advertised at
one of the shops and they wanted shop assistants so I thought, “Oh well.” So I went and applied and got that, and asked if I could start right away so I said, “Yes.” And so, when I went home they said to me, “How’s the job?” And I said, “Good, but I’m not working where I started this morning.” When I look back on that and thing I wasn’t quite 14 and
yet could, had the confidence to walk out of one job and go to another, but only stayed there for a couple of weeks until I got a job in an office where I was working at doing shorthand and typing. Because I had done shorthand at school and I was pretty good with the shorthand so.
Again, referring and comparing to these days, a 14 year old girl walking around those parts of the city, would be a ‘no, no’ these days, what was it like then?
Oh, just didn’t think anything of it, in fact, well at that stage we were, I didn’t say, we were living at Glebe, we’d moved from Leichhardt. When
he was in about second year then and I think his first job was with a boot manufacturer. And my sister, she started off as a millinery factory, making hats and she was the only one that could ever
tie a proper bow and she, Jean stayed at millinery all, until she was married. But, of course she got to be a senior and then Allan, as he got older he got an apprenticeship with Sonnerdale’s which was one of the engineering firms
and he stayed there until he eventually started his own engineering business, but much later of course. And so he was into engineering and Jean was making hats and I was typing, so.
some of them were terraces. And it was a pretty low sort of, well most people were deprived, the rents were cheap and I think that was the main reason that we went there. And, it, where we lived, the name Glebe means, you know, the property of the church, well it was owned,
all the whole area I think was owned by the Church of England. And someone came around and collected the rent every week and if there was nothing very much there and along Glebe Road there was trams running then. And there were a few shops like green grocers and
various other little shops and the grocers and no big shops or anything. And I think the high light of the place was the Chinese temple that was there, that, along further. But out towards Glebe Point there was bigger houses, that had, which are now selling for millions,
but they were sort of, probably you’d say better class than we were in the terraces. We were a few streets back from Broadway but.
amongst the people, most people sort of kept to their own so we knew the people on either side of us but other than that we didn’t’ know many and sort of the children all got to know one another and so forth. And I still continued to go to Leichhardt School and
so I didn’t get to know any of the local girls of my age or anything because at that stage. As far as I recall it was only a primary school I don’t think they had the secondary school there at that stage. They did later on but, I know for, don’t know whether it was because I was doing the commercial course,
that was available at Leichhardt and not at Glebe. But, so.
How would you, looking back at yourself around 14 when you left school, how would you describe your character then, what sort of a young girl were you?
Oh that’s a bit hard. I suppose I was, although it may have been through lack of opportunity, but I was good and obedient at home, of course I daren’t not to be. And I, no I think along with my sisters and brothers, we just were brought up to do the right thing and we just,
you know, I don’t know that we did much good, but we certainly didn’t do anything too bad.
although they didn’t have any money, there was never any question of any dubious goings on or anything. And, my mother particularly was industrious shall we say, because she was quite good at dressmaking
and supplemented the income a bit with dressmaking, even though she was so busy with all these children. And always sort of managed to make some money that way and she had some fairly influential, or not influential, but fairly good clients of. I can remember one woman who
obviously had quite a bit of money, but after she got Mum to make her dresses she sort of insisted on Mum doing it. And because Mum was very good at that, at dressmaking and so, and that was the one thing that she sort of treasured in the house, her sewing machine. And
it was a long time before we were allowed to sew on it and things because she, well she needed it for the dressmaking but.
Well done, were there any other items in the household that had that sort of prize status as the sewing machine?
No, I can remember when we bought a wireless, because until then the only thing we had was a crystal set that my brother and I had made. And we used to spend hours sort of picking up a word here and there and that would have been in about, oh,
probably was in the late ’30s before we got a wireless. And so, because I can remember hearing the declaration of war on it, but we certainly didn’t have it while I was at school or anything. So, and no the, there was nothing else, we didn’t have all that much.
and you know having a boyfriend or anything of that sort. In fact I was quite late into my teens and in fact I think I was about 18 before I went out with a boy and then it was just, I wasn’t all that interested, at that stage.
I don’t know I, when I, my sister had always, she was in the [Girl] Guides and then she joined the Sea Rangers as she got older. And I was never in the Guides but I did go into the Sea Rangers and we used to go away camping and things. Anything that didn’t cost too much money and
I know that we used to, one girl who’s father had a cottage up at Toukley, we used to sometimes go up there. Well it used to cost us about two and six I think for fares and about five shillings we’d all put in and that would feed us all for the weekend and things, and so, I had those, that interest but.
So I didn’t have time for boys and so forth.
Just before we get too far into that Hazel, I just want to ask a few more questions before we get to that point and go into more detail there. When did you start to get a sense that perhaps there was a war looming in Europe?
I think from reading the papers, probably twelve months or so from before it started. When there was all the negotiations with Chamberlain [English Prime Minister] and that and I can remember you know my parents talking about it. And
then my father was quite convinced that there was going to be another war but I used to remember thinking, “Oh, I hope there’s never a war in my time.” And, but you know from the news, I think it was from the news and reading the papers about.
And also, I think about that time, I did go to the movies and they had a news reel and I can remember them showing them the Germans marching, you know with the goose step and thinking, “Oh, they couldn’t keep that up.” And so on, so it was those sort of things that made us realise that
there could be a war but I think most people were convinced that it wouldn’t happen.
be, or uncles or something that had been to the war. And you felt kind of a bit left out of it when your father hadn’t been involved in it and at that stage I didn’t know that one of my father’s brothers had been at Gallipoli and it wasn’t until much, much later that I found that out. It was in fact during
our war I found that out and I was quite surprised. It was never talked about. I can’t remember Dad ever mentioning it at all. And, so no, we didn’t, it’d get mentioned occasionally at school, you know, when, but on the whole it was, we didn’t know much about it or
I didn’t know much about it.
and realised that there wasn’t much future in it. And so I then decided to look for elsewhere, for where there’d be, you know a bigger place where, and where I could probably learn more. And so I went to a place called Paper Products,
which was out at Waterloo. And I was there working for the accountant and I was called an accounts clerk but I used to do, take dictation from him, do his letters and as well as a lot of filing and not very interesting really.
But it was, as far as I remember, better pay and a lot more varied work. And, so.
Oh, from there, yes, I, actually I had an accident on a pushbike, I went, my mother had a cousin at, up at Ourimbah and I went up there for the weekend. And the only time I ever rode a pushbike and
I still can’t ride a pushbike even though I rode a motorbike for years, and I came off and I twisted my knee very badly and I was off work for several weeks. And eventually they wrote and said, you know, “If I couldn’t’ come back, couldn’t give them a date to come back, that they wouldn’t hold the position.” So, I then I’d been there probably a couple of years or so
and I then went to a place called Cloudust Manufacturing Company. They were agricultural chemicals for fertilisers and all that, their main office was in Adelaide, but they had an office in
Sussex Street, Sydney. And so I went there where I was doing just about everything and then eventually I was doing everything because the man who owned it went back to Adelaide and left me to run the place. And it was in a building and then he let part of the, he was only renting, this part of the building, because it was just a depot more or less.
And, to a carrier and so then eventually I worked part time for him and part time for the other one. And, that’s where I was until when the war came and before I went to Kodak, I did go to Lark, Nevin, Carters. They
wanted someone, by then we had the despatch riders running and they wanted - approached one of the fellows who was in charge of the despatch riders and said they wanted to ride their bike, which was an Indian Trike, a one wheel at the front and the box was across the back for courier work. And because
all the engineering places had to get releases from the defence department before they could buy equipment or material or anything. And all these applications had to be approved which meant, you know, sort of they had to be prepared and then taken to the, office to get stamped and so forth. The man who had been doing it had been called up, so they wanted
someone so they, I was recommended for it and I went along. And I was very happy doing that and they were quite pleased too because not only could I do the riding the bike, which the man had done, I used to type all these applications and so forth too. And so I went from the agricultural place to, and
it was quite interesting I mean and so, but then Kodak wanted somebody and they were paying a lot more money. So.
of the first things to be rationed of course was petrol. And which meant a difference to me because I only got one gallon a month for my motorbike. But, but when the food rationing and clothing rationing and things came in, and I think that was probably in the early 1940, you know when they, as far as I can remember.
But until then it, and I can remember that it was a feeling almost of excitement around, that with all these things going on and fellows we knew going off to war and so forth. And I think that when it started I didn’t realise how
horrible and dreadful it was going to be, it just seemed another thing that was there. And also the uncertainty of it. I think that was what, but, when it, the war started, everyone was so convinced that, you know, it’d be over in six months and then that’d be it. And then as it dragged on,
the rationing, I think it was the rationing that effected most civilians more than anything.
foolish young fellows who joined up when he was 16. And, I can remember Mum coming in and shaking me one morning, she said, “Do you know where Les is?” She said, “No.” She said, “Well, he hadn’t come.” Les was a bit more of a free spirit than, and he used, I think in those days they always had this
recruiting thing down in Martin Place, particularly on Friday nights. They have chocolate wheels and you know a bit of a fair atmosphere going on and he apparently got carried away by this. And anyhow, this day had just gone out and joined up and put his age up and all sorts of things.
And so we didn’t know where Les was and it was unheard of, you know, someone being brave enough to stay out. And then in the, when the mail came there was a letter from him saying that he joined up and so forth and so Dad did go over to the barracks and sort of. They said, “Look, these young fellows will never be sent away
or anything, so, if he’s that way inclined, well.” So Dad reluctantly agreed, but what had happened was that we had a, Les’s name was Norman Lesley but he was always called Les but we had a cousin Les, the same age as myself. And so Les had used his cousin’s parents and everything else and so forth,
not realising you know, the stupidity of it but just being keen to get into it.
and he was there at the time of the bombing of Darwin. And he, in one of the early raids, a medical officer was in charge of the medical side of things was killed in one of the early raids and because Les had done a stint
as a St John Ambulance cadet and used to go out with the ambulance fellows when they went to sporting fixtures and that, to hand them bandages and to this, that and the other. He was the only one with any first aid knowledge at all so he was called upon to do some of the patching up and so forth of people, of the, soldiers
who were injured, which was a pretty responsible job for a 17 year old kid. So but, he seemed to cope with it at the time but I think it did have an effect on him later on, because some of the injuries were horrific. And he, did come back to Sydney,
and was here at the time of his eighteen birthday and then straight away after that he was sent up to the islands and was there until early 1946. But when he came home, we could see that he’d been effected by it all, because his eyes sort of used to shift, you know, backwards and forwards and he felt that he could never stay in the city again. But because
he’d been so young when he went into the army he was able to do a course through the rehabilitation system and he did a builders course. Although he always said he was never going to follow in his father’s footsteps and got work down at the naval base at Jervis Bay and was fortunate that he met a girl down there from,
had been brought up on a farm. And she was, didn’t expect a great deal out of life and sometimes I think it was just as well but. And so eventually they married and they’re still together and he’s still alive, he’s not in good shape, because while he was up in the islands, he got some horrible skin disease and
they’ve never been able to cure it. Veteran’s affairs have tried everything, for every new treatment and so forth that comes out, but he’s still got this scungy itchy skin rash and so he has his problems lingering on from the war.
attached to the Central Motorcycle Club. The woman who was a really driving force in it, Marg Golder, was the wife of a Central Motorcycle Club member and a little, very attractive blonde, the daintiest little thing you could every see, you wouldn’t’ think was into motorcycling. And she
was a bit older than the rest of us, the ones that came along and they were attached to the National Emergency Service Ambulance drivers. Only sort of on an administrative footing, and at times when they were having
practices and things we’d go along too and eventually we sort of formed into this despatch riders corps. and got our uniform and so and so and we worked in with the air raid board and things like that on the exercises that they used to have on, when the time came.
and then I got very keen and keen and mean. I wouldn’t spend money on anything else until I had the money to buy a bike and it was just a little second hand 250 BSA [Birmingham Small Arms (BSA motorcycles)] that I bought. And so, and I was probably one of the keener members of the
despatch riders and eventually became second to Marg Golder. She was the captain and I was the next and so, and we, when I think back on it, we probably didn’t do very much but the time that Sydney was shelled. And there was an air raid warning,
sirens went and so forth and my base was at Sutherland of all places. And well, the idea was that if the communications got knocked out that they might be able to use the despatch riders for communication between the different NES [National Emergency Services] air raid stations.
And so forth, so that was the only time that we turned out in, in earnest and we, as well as our own one gallon a month petrol allowance. We were given coupons for one gallon we could keep as an emergency thing so that if you got a call out, you could
fill your bike and go. And of course my bike used to do well over a hundred miles on a gallon of petrol so that meant when the air raid warning went, scrambling into your uniform, lacing up your boots. And this warning took place just about a week after they’d decided that there was so many accidents happening
with people using the blackout masks on their cars and bike headlights that you could take them off and run on dim lights well. It meant that you had to put the black out mask back on and I was still on my way in about ten minutes, from the hooter going. And we got down there and of course eventually the all clear came and it was just a matter of turning around and going home again.
Dad’s first words were, “Get rid of it.” And this went on for a few weeks and I said eventually, “If it goes, I go too.” And finally he accepted it, at first he thought it belonged to someone else and that I, because by then I did have what you might call a boyfriend, and he was, that I’d met through
these friends in the despatch riders. And he of course had a motorbike and used to come calling on me on a motorbike but he used to leave the bike there, you know when we went to the pictures or something of the sort, you know. And, Dad at first thought it was his and one of his and said, “Tell him to take it home and get rid of it.” And I said,
“It’s not his, it’s mine, you know, I bought it.” So, yes it was always a bit of a bone of contention, but.
I know that with the Hells Angels [motorcycle gangs] and all the rest of it, and all the drugs and everything else that are going now, and all these feuds between them and the fights and so forth. There was nothing like that. The worst they ever did, I think, was assemble at like milk bars,
or something like that. And some of the were known as ‘milk bar cowboys’ and things, or after a club meeting congregate at some hamburger place and have a hamburger or something and that was about the extent of the misdeeds. And but could I say that not all of them
these days are disreputable. This Ulysses club they’ve got going for the over 50’s, mainly, you know for the mature age, they’re mostly. Well a lot of them are very respectable business men and my husband was manager of a place and we’d go to work all the week in his collar and tie and all the rest of it. And yet get into his leathers on the weekend and race
and they, certainly we had, you know the motorcycle clubs had parties and balls. In fact come the night of a ball and quite a lot of them in their dinner suits and some of them even ran to tails and so forth, and all very respectable, and no.
Oh, there were a few larrikins of course, and bits of fun, but on the whole they were a very responsible and mostly family men and when they’d have their outings and things. There’d be families go and there was, on those occasions, I can’t remember
anyone ever taking any alcohol to any of the picnics and things. The only time you’d see alcohol would be at a ball or something like that and in those days, most of the men would drink beer and then they started with these things like Barossa Pearl [bubbly wine] and
Palfrey Pearl and things and Star Wine or something. And that was when people were starting to get around to drinking wine, but my husband was a teetotaller and he didn’t drink although after all these years in the air force, didn’t drink or smoke. And so you know there was no, I suppose some of them
might have been a bit what you’d call roughies, but on the whole they were, quite a respectable lot of people. I wouldn’t have been there if they hadn’t have been.
You mentioned at this stage you had a boyfriend who was also into motorcycles. What was involved in dating and courting with him?
Not a great deal. Oh no, we used to go to the movies or things, but nothing too much, and then he joined the air force and also became a pilot and he - I was writing to him and
then I wrote and told him I was joining the air force and got a letter back saying, straight away saying, “Don’t do anything, I’m coming to Sydney and he had a better idea.” And which I rejected and so we decided to come to the end of the way.
at a chemist, mainly, some of the little shops did have it, but mainly it was chemist shops and they, took them there and from there we’d go out on the bike and pick up - they had canvas bags that they used to put all the films and things in. And picked them up and delivered the ones that we had picked up and had been processed
about two days before. I think we used to call on these places about three times a week and there were various runs, as we called them around. Some of them were the eastern suburbs and that went out as far as Watsons Bay and western suburbs went out as far as Liverpool and things. And
and we brought them back in, they were processed and printed and then on the next pick up and delivery you’d deliver one lot and pick up the next lot and so that was how it all worked.
like George Street and Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street and the main problem I think was parking. But even then it wasn’t difficult like it is now and there wasn’t all the restrictions on the parking areas and nothing like loading zones and ten minute kind of, and we never had to park on -
you’d rush in and drop a bag and pick up another one and be back. And in fact, most of the time we used to just leave the bike running with the brake locked on which you could do on the Harleys and the Indians. And, although policeman did tell me that was illegal and you shouldn’t leave it with the motor running, but it’d save kick starting it.
I often reckon that, I’ve just had a knee replacement, but if they’d had electric starts of motorbikes in those days, I mightn’t have had to have a knee replaced now.
tie the scarf around our hair. And the only people who wore helmets in those days were anyone who was racing and none of the people who just rode on the roads wore helmets. In fact it was not until probably about, mid ’50s before
people started wearing helmets and the road safety council got the idea that motorcyclists, because of the injuries and things they were getting should wear helmets. And my husband was on the Road Safety Council, Motorcycle Road Safety Council and they provided two helmets and so Bill took one to wear
and gave one to his brother. And they were both very big strong men and people used to sling off at them a bit at first and I’ve forgotten just what Bill saying was, but it was something you know, “If you had anything worth protecting inside you’d protect it.” So and so, and of course even then they weren’t these full face helmets, or
you know nowadays the helmets all have to be to a certain standard before they can be sold. And it was, as far as safety and things, so that was really the start of the helmet wearing thing back then.
not very efficient but, more or less canvas overall things, mine, the one I had was some navy disposal ones that I’d bought at a disposal store. And just a leather helmet and leather, more or less, you just to see the old aviators wearing and so forth.
And yeah, that was the wet weather gear, but I had bought two or three suits at this disposal store, and when we got back, from a run in wet weather. We used to take them and hang them down in the, close to where they dried he films, which was all dried with warm air and things in those days.
They’d dry the prints, so we used to put one in there so it’d be dry for the next morning when you’d go in there.
with shades on which directed the light just to immediately in front of you. You couldn’t see 20 yards ahead of you or anything, you just saw what was immediately in front of you and very dim because of the limited light that came through so that anything from the air wouldn’t see any bright light and
so forth. In fact, I think on the whole, we were very fortunately that Japan was stopped where it was, because eventually they had to relax these black out masks a bit because there were too many accidents and so forth because some people wouldn’t drive sensibly and within their limit.
And other people would sort of try to keep to their 30 miles an hour with practically no visibility.
would take girls in as despatch riders and some of us did apply to both the army and the air force at that stage we didn’t know the navy had despatch riders. But then we found out they did and their response was that, “They probably would but not in the immediate future and would keep us on a waiting list.”
And then eventually, I think in about 1943, the navy had said that they would take us and in the weeks that they had decided that, they had five of their despatch riders killed on the road. And they said, “No women.”
So that was when I decided I’d better do something about the air force.
probably about 30 or so, because it, it depended on the number of chemists on that run. But we’d do maybe two, three runs in a day, so that, covering the various areas, as I say the eastern suburbs or the western or the north western and things I know. And one of mine I used to go as far up as Epping and
so, and it was sort of a quick whip around, but sometimes there’d be several miles between each chemist shop or, pick up place.
but when I saw that, about the technical trainees, I thought, “That’d be more in my line.” So I applied and was fortunate enough to get called up and whereas clerks and general hands and mess hands
and things and that, just went in. Of course you didn’t always get your preference even though you might have preferred something but for the technical trainees you had to do an aptitude test. This meant we had to front up down there at Rushcutter’s Bay at the recruiting depot and do this written exam sort of thing.
It was mainly there was a bit of maths and diagrams and sort of thing and if this wheel was turning that was, you know it was linked through cogs to some, which may on the end be turning, and I can’t remember all the details. But I can remember those sort of things just sort of, so that, I suppose you could prove that you had a bit of aptitude for the sort work
you wanted to do. And probably of the lot I went in with, I was the only one that had any real mechanical experience and but, they all sort of had enough nous to cope with the aptitude test. And then you waited for your, until all that was assessed, until you got a
call up to go down for a medical and eventually get in.
home forever rather than go out with an American. And I was one of those and not that I had anything really against them but I just felt that, they seemed to have so many advantages and things that our fellows didn’t have. I mean their uniforms and everything else, to start with, they were all in these nicely tailored uniforms,
whereas you’ve seen what our army were issued with and had to wear and so. And it was just that sort of feeling and I felt that there were enough Australians around without the Americans. And, I did get roped into going to a party at Kings Cross of all places, you know it was
sort of out of bounds after dark. One of the girls who was I the despatch riders, she was got tangled up with this American and he asked her to bring someone along to this party and just let’s say I wasn’t impressed. And that was my only experience
of being anywhere with the Americans on a social footing.
When you were socialising at that point, would you have a drink of alcohol yourself?
Well, I always thought I was a teetotaller but I did go out with one fellow who, said, “Oh yes, well of course you’re a bit of a wowser, [puritan] so here’s a drink for you.” And, so I had this and it was Advokat and Cherry Brandy which he told me were was a soft drink you see. And so I quite believed it was a soft drink, and
but no I, I didn’t drink alcohol at all. I think that it was probably in the air force that I really, even then it wasn’t anything bad but, I know when we got to Adelaide,
there was one night we were going out. We used to get leave on a Wednesday night which meant that we could go into town and have and meal or something or other rather than face up to the mess, if we had any money and could afford it. And this night there were four or five of us and this girl said, “Let’s go and have a beer.” And of course this was new territory for me,
so we went and they, being Adelaide, closing time I think was five thirty it was something, we got there about five minutes before. So this girl who knew all about pubs and things, she said right, there were five of us that’s right, she said, “Ten beers.” And I thought, what’s she going to do with ten beers but that was two each because they were saying last orders now. And that was probably the first beer that
I’d ever had. And yet my father used to always have a beer at home and Mum would have a beer with him but we kids just didn’t ever get involved in it.
chest x-ray and I said, “They’re going to try and tell me I’ve got TB [tuberculosis] or something of the sort.” And of course this is rather amusing because I was working on the bike at the same time and I, they said to present myself at any time convenient to me, to you know. I didn’t have to make an appointment so I went down not knowing it was a male medical day, down there. And so I showed
my letter to the clerk and he said, “Go up to the whatever floor it was.” And I went up there and a very bored looking air force clerk was sitting at the table and I put this down and it was this big room with seats all around it. And all these fellows sitting there all with just their pants on, you know stripped to the, and so I put this down and of course all he could see
was breeches and boots, he said, “Strip to the waist and sit over there.” And I said, “Where, right over there.” And the whole place went, can you imagine when he barked this at me and the fellows said, “Go on, go on, do it, do as you’re told.” So they eventually had to clear the room and line me up at the x-ray machine. Six months later I got so used to obeying orders, I might have
even done it, but anyhow that’s just a bit of an aside. So yeah, there was nothing wrong with, when I asked them later on, they said, “Someone had put a thumb print or something on it, or some sort of a print on it.” So there was nothing wrong with my - Then I got my letter to present my self at Rushcutters Bay at whatever time it was.
and you got hold of a pitch fork and sort of filled your hessian bag. Mostly filled them too full, I must admit and then took those back to your room and then you went and you got issued with three blankets and a pillow. And I think someone was silly enough to ask where the sheets and pillow cases were, they said, “Don’t be silly, you don’t get those.”
And then we were given our mess tins, which just come out of store and were covered in grease because they weren’t inhibited before they went into store. And an enamel mug and marched straight over to the mess, by then it was lunch time and we looked at these things, saw some showers. So I said, “Right, there should be some hot water over there.” So Mers
and I and a couple of the others dashed over there and we were washing and someone come, a corporal come in, “You’re not allowed to do.” You know, you couldn’t do that and we said, “But, well that’s the way they are sort of thing.” But we got them washed by then and so we realised things were going to be a bit rugged, and they were.
Was it difficult for you to adjust to that?
No, not as much as it was for some of the others. And, see these girls came from all sorts of. See some of these girls came from all sorts of backgrounds, some of them had led rather sheltered lives and never been away from home or had to do anything for themselves. And for them I think it was a bit of a culture shock.
But I’d suppose I had a bit of a rugged childhood type of thing and my friend Mercia come from Young, and living on a farm and things. So she sort of took to it alright and but, no I didn’t find the discipline too bad.
And, but you know, it was full on from the word go. Straight after lunch we went down and we were given our vaccination and inoculations and things, and in those days they didn’t have the nice fine needles they’ve got now. They were like big skewers that,
and so, the reactions from those, because we were a bit bad, you got two in this arm and one in this arm, which meant you didn’t have a good arm to sleep on. On the, without sheets and things, but it was a Thursday when went in and we were given leave on Friday to go home for the weekend. And I persuaded my mother to
let me have some sheets and a pillow case to take back. So, but then we started and drilling and you drilled for four hours a day you know until you could march you know to their satisfaction. And we had lessons about aircraft recognition. Air force rules and regulations of course and
oh, all sorts of lectures on how we were expected to behave, and do this that and the another. And, that went on for a month, at the end of which there was an examination to, a written examination on all the things we had learnt.
And our lessons were held out at a place called Goodwood and we used to go out there by tram every morning and so we had a couple of male instructors, civilian instructors out there. And they did their best to teach us about tools and how to use them and
some maths, more maths, about electricity and magnetism. And we were given a lump of mile steel that had benches there and you were allocated to a position at a bench and this piece of mild steel we had to file up until it was of certain dimensions, within
very close tolerances. I think about five thousand or something of sort and until it was acceptable and then as soon as you did that you had to start cutting it up and making a C clamp out of it. And so, this mean, you know using taps and dies and various other things.
and then at the end of that we were selected to either go on to be flight mechanics, flight riggers which was working on airframes, armourers, electricians, or instrument repairers. They were the five musterings that were open, and when we did an exam we were asked to express our
preference as to what we wanted to be. Having been told that there was no guarantee you’d get your preference at all. So there was spaces one to five, so I put flight mechanic, flight mechanic, flight mechanic, and so they got the message and I ended up as a flight mechanic.
The other women that were in the course, were they keen on flight mechanics as well?
Most of them were, well, I’d, I think there were about 15 of us. And there weren’t only ones from our original flight, we’d been held in pool for a whole until there were enough to make up a course or about 30 odd for the basic course. So
I’d say about half of them chose flight mechanics. Or I don’t know whether they all chose, some of them told me that they had put down a preference for something else, but they ended up as flight mechanics. I think it largely depended on the vacancy in the further courses as to, and they were certainly putting through more flight mechanics than any of the other musterings. So I think that some of them
might have wanted to be electricians or instrument repairers, but they ended up on course with us.
Speaking of those hygiene facilities, what were they like as far as facilities and privacy?
Very basic, at Bradfield the showers had no doors, it was just a big room, with some hand basins down the centre of the room, and I say room, building, corrugated iron building and around the edges were the showers. But they were just divided off into cubicles, with no
shower curtains or doors on the showers or anything. And this was a bit of a shock to some of the girls who’d never left home, never even shared a room with a sister or anything of the sort, but. You managed after four hours a day on the drill square, you really needed your shower, so.
And, I know it seems I’m obsessed with washing clothes, but what sort of maintenance did you have to do on your uniform and how did you go about it?
Oh well, we there were tubs and I don’t think there were any coppers in Melbourne or in Adelaide, but we used to just wash mainly in cold water. And I know that the
girls did our own blue shirts, but they had detachable collars, and you could send the collars to the laundry. And I think it cost tuppence [2 pennies] for a, to get a starch collars done and that was the only way, because. And there were ironing boards and irons there, but there was never one available when you wanted to do it, because someone else would be doing it
because everyone had to do their washing and ironing in stand down time, but.
to Melbourne and we were there over Christmas and new year and it was fairly basic. There were things like Crispies [cereal] and things for breakfast, cold toast, because they used to make a mass of toast and just put it out. And for lunch there was usually a salad or something of the sort and in the evenings,
or sometimes there’d be a hot meal in the middle of the day and a salad in the evening, but just ordinary food, but it certainly wasn’t very good. And I can remember on one occasion there were trainee telegraphists down there too and because they were always
nice and clean, not dirty like us, they used to feel a bit superior. And Mers and I still laugh about this night we went in and we were on, when we went for the meal, it was a hot meal and beans were put out and we had beans just about everyday for a week. And one of these trainee telegs [telegraphist] came back and said, “Beans, beans again, there must be a
slut in the markets.” She’d kind of got mixed up between a glut and a slump, and so to this day if there’s a surfeit of anything, Mers and I always say, “There’s a slut in the markets.” I mean there were funny times, but.
so we just waited outside for a while and eventually decided to have a look inside. And all these marvellous cutaway things, parts of engines, all sorts of things. So we decided to go in and have a look and because the girls knew I knew a bit about it, they said, “How about telling us what’s what.”
So I said, “Well, this is the cylinder and this is the piston and this is the valve.” And sort of went all around the thing. And so after about half an hour, a very irate corporal came around, marched in and he said, “I’m your instructor.” And he said, “If you want to know why I’m late, it is because I have been around seeing
the OC [Officer Commanding] and saying to him I would not take a WAAAF course.” He said, “I’ve been told I have to take a WAAAF course, so now you know where we stand.” Good start, you know, so he said, “I’ll do exactly the same as I do with the men and find out how much you know before we start.” So he picked up his pointer and he said, “You, what’s this?” “Cylinder, corporal.” “What’s this?” “Piston, corporal.” “You.” And he’s there and sort of
getting a bit more astonished all the time and then of course they ran out of answers, so he said, “I think this is a set up, who’s responsible for this.” Little hand and he said, “Oh, smartass.” Now he was not allowed to swear at us, we weren’t allowed to swear at him either, but he said,
“I suppose your boyfriend’s got a motorbike, has he?” “I haven’t got a boyfriend.” And he said, “Well, how do you know all this?” I said, “Woman’s intuition corporal.” Well, that was where we started. So he went on and taught us all about Otto cycle [engine] and you know timing and this that and the other.
And, for a week and we used to have lessons all the week and then an exam on Saturday morning. So, Saturday morning we had an exam and then we lined up on Monday morning to get the results. He was slightly mollified when he found that his detested WAAAFs had topped the lot of them. And were not only,
there were a dozen classes starting that week you know and all the rest of them were male classes. So he was a bit surprised.
did the Gypsy engine, which was the one in the Tiger Moth [training aircraft] and those type of aircraft and dismantled it and put it together and did various things to it. And learnt all the parts and how it worked and where the oil went and on and but for that,
the first week, six of us passed and the others didn’t. So they got held back and they went in with other people to make up the number and they had to repeat the class. And because there were only six of us, we ended up getting combined with a male class, and we had very good instructor and he was very friendly and he had no objection to the girls apparently.
And so at the end of that week, we had another exam and if you passed, you went on, if you got more than, if you got less than 70 percent but more than 60, you could have an oral and as they say, talk your way through it, if you could. Because some people found it was hard to write and express it all, whereas sometimes you could talk your way through it so. And
so of the six who passed that first week, five of us went right through to the end and the one who didn’t only didn’t because she got scarlet fever and had to go into hospital for a while. But each week we dropped off some of the men who’d fail and they’d drop back and we’d go on and so it was sort of – anyhow, I went through and after
the first week we did things like single row radial motors and twin row and inline motors and so on. And all ancillary equipment, tanks and super chargers so on. And right through until we finished up at the end of it.
study, well as quite a lot at night and at weekends and church parade was compulsory. And Mercia had started off, she was a Catholic, not a very good one, but a couple of times she went to a Catholic church parade. I used to just go to the Protestant,
it was easier than objecting and but, there were quite a lot of us and Melbourne was held in a theatre. And I used to get up the back with my books and study and instead of taking part in what was going on and all the hooting and hollering and praying, and so. But then
someone got onto us and that was stopped from that so what we used to do was go over to the latrines and sit there and study instead of going to church. Then they got onto that and they used to come and look under the doors, because there was only about this much door, so it got a bit uncomfortable sitting there with your feet up so they weren’t in view. But, no because that was Friday afternoon, church parade you see, so couldn’t waste that going to church when we had to study for the exam.
occasionally we’d get the bus into Melbourne city and go and have a meal or something as that sort. And while I was there I did, well it was while we were standing in the room, outside the room waiting to go into this classroom on the first morning. But a squad was getting marched past and they
were doing an NCO’s [Non Commissioned Officer] course and it was one of my friend’s that I’d met through the motorcycling and he called out to me. And then he found out where I was and he used to go ice skating, so I had done a bit of ice skating here, and so occasionally we used to go ice skating together. And
a couple of times we went out to St Kilda where there was Luna Park [fun park] I think it was, it wasn’t called Luna Park, it was the same as Luna Park out there, got the tram out there and so, but nothing very exciting.
didn’t rate it as such. And I know that much, once I can go forward to when we were on the station, they had a couple of other flight mechanics there but they worked in, what was called inspection bay, where they inspected the component and so forth. And they was certainly working with the men,
they all sat at benches and things, but the three of us, Mers and the other WAAAF who’d been posted with us from Melbourne to Forest Hill, we were putout in the hanger to work on the actual engines out where, when the engines were assembled. They were sent out to a
test stand and to run for so many hours to make sure everything was okay. And they would then bring them back into the hanger and test stand was a couple of miles away and there’d be six or eight engines going 24 hours a day. The noise was just, you talk about this noise, it was just this engine noise when we got there we couldn’t sleep because of the
noise. And eventually if it, it only ever stopped once, and it woke us all up because of the sudden silence. But they’d come back from testing and by this time it was winter when we were there and they come in with a sheet of ice and something under them, because of course Wagga it used to get down below freezing. And they all had to be, all their tolerances had to be finely checked, it was called
final check before they went into store or they went into an aircraft. They’d have to be finally checked and blanking plates put on. But they were all mounted on these big circular stands which you could move around, because they were far too high to reach the top cylinders. And while we were working in that,
if you wanted a, if the grease on the stand was too stiff and you couldn’t turn the engine, you’d get someone to - one of the men to give you a hand to turn it around. Likewise, if they couldn’t turn it, they’d say, “Hey, give us a hand.” And when you’ve finished they might give you a pat on the bum [backside] and say, “Oh thanks.” Or something but, no one thought anything of it in those days. I mean there was nothing intended by it, they just give you a -
And so all the time I worked in the hanger, from there I got moved down to Herc [Hercules transport aircraft] assembly, and working with the fellows all the time. And there was never anything, any talk of any sexual harassment or anything of that sort, they were just there, just worked beside each other and that was it.
Well, oddly enough, most of the men came up and congratulated us and said that they didn’t think that any women would ever beat them and so forth. And some of them of course, had been motor mechanics and various other things. One fellow you know sort of said, “You know, I reckoned I knew all about it, and I reckoned I was going to do pretty well.” So, and
actually after the results were given I was asked to go down and report to the OC of engines, and which I did. And he congratulated me and then he said, “Would you, by any chance be interested in staying
here, as an instructor for WAAAF courses?” And I said “No way.” He said, “You realise I could make an order for you?” And I said, “Well, to start with, you know with the ACW [Aircraftwoman] ,” and I said, “I know that when we came in, we were told that there was no promotion in the mustering that we went in. So you couldn’t even aspire to be a corporal
or anything of the sort.” And he said “Well, we’ve talked it over and we could give you temporary rank, put you through another course, through a fitters course, and give you a temporary rank, and do it.” He said, “But only,” he said, “I’ll only do that,” he was an English RAF [Royal Air Force] officer who was out here assisting with the training. And I said, “No, I would much prefer to get out
and work on the engines and things.” So he accepted that. But it was rather unusual.
I think the air force was, I think, see at first it was the politicians, they didn’t want to have the women in the services at all except in the nursing service. And then of course they realised that they’d sent so many of the men overseas, look at all our
fellows who were at the middle east fighting, for the British more than anything. Look at all the air force who were over there in England right from the start they were sending them over. And it wasn’t until they realised the shortage of manpower, I think that they accepted that women could go in and
eventually there were about sixty-eight thousand women in the services here apart from the nursing services. Twenty-eight thousand of those were WAAAF, it was the biggest of the women’s services, and the first. But I think probably some of the old fellows who were hangovers from the
First World War who were still in the senior positions in the services, probably thought that a woman’s place was in the home and the kitchen and rearing and so on. But fortunately some of them were a bit more progressive and agreed to the women and then I think they were a big surprised when they found that so many of
the women could do as well as the men in some things. And well, look at the women in the army who were the anti aircraft gunners and all those things that you normally wouldn’t have thought a woman was at all suitable. But no I think that, I mean I’ve got nothing
against the women who just wanted to stay home and rear kids and so forth. But if you didn’t, why shouldn’t you show what you’re able to do and what you want to do.
in that and the young fellow who did, he came over and said to me, “I was just determined to beat you once, and if only once.” And that was in the middle of, well about two thirds of they way through I suppose, but he wasn’t nasty about it or anything. And when the weekly results would be given out, one of the chaps used to say,
“Alright, tell us who came second.” So, no they just, they accepted it and I mean I didn’t make anything of it. I didn’t go around sort of ‘I am-ing’ or anything. But, no.
I’d enquired at Sydney Tech about doing a motor mechanics' course, and there was no opening, no way. And, would you believe, one of the reasons was they didn’t have female toilets in that section. I mean this is the attitude back in the 1930s, that he’s were he’s and she’s were she’s and that was it.
So, there was that, I suppose bit of an inkling that I could do something in that line but. And of course, with the, once the men came out of the air force, who’d done these sort of, they could go on, and get their licensed aircraft engineers
certificates and things to go and work in civil aviation. But there was no way that, at that stage there were any openings for women to do that.
And so he said, “Do you like working with micronometers and things?” And I said, “Not particularly.” And he said the same to the other two and he said, “Well, that’s what you’re going to be doing.” So, we got put down in this inspection bay, but we’re, I was there and trays of these components came past and you had go and no go
gauges and micronometers and things. And you measured up a part with a tray of things that would say what the tolerances were and if it were repairable, you put a daub of it, if it was serviceable you could put it into the one thing. If it was repairable, you put a daub of boot paint on it, if it was US [unserviceable] , put a daub of red paint on it.
corporal came in and said, “I want you three to come with me, you’re going out to work in the hanger.” So, and that was when we to this final check that I was telling you about. And, there were three, the RAAF chaps, there and they put one of us with each of these fellows, one of whom I’d sort of known from
my motorcycling days, he was a friend of this Marg Golder I mentioned from the despatch riders. And he just said, “I’ll have this one.” And so, but they had to more or less supervise the work that we were doing and anything that we did they’d have to check because we couldn’t sign for it. They’d have to sign because you had to sign
for everything you did, so that you are responsible for whatever had passed through your hands.
details of putting the marks, the different marks on the different pieces, could you just go over that again, because I don’t think we got the whole story?
Yeah, well as I saying, these trays of components, we were, I was only working on small components there. Like there might be gudgeon pins or, you know, piston rings or something of the sort, and if they were serviceable,
they went into one bin. If they were repairable, you put a daub of blue paint on them and they went away to be repaired. They might have nicks or bumps on them that had to be smoothed off. If they were not repairable, they were US [unserviceable] , you put the red paint on them and they were discarded and so. I suppose in a way it was responsible work,
because you had to be sure if something was which category it went into. But it was a bit tedious sitting there with these gauges and micronometers and things. And all day, tray of bits going past, but so, I was quite pleased when we got moved out to the real work. So,
and this involved engines that had been reassembled and gone out and been tested and come back to be prepared, either to go into aircraft or into the store. And all the tolerances of all the parts had to be rechecked and just to make sure that everything hadn’t shifted or loosened
during the testing. And any of the apertures had to be, had blanking plates put on them, having internally inhibited. And then when all that was completed they were washed down with white spirit and shoved out and someone took them away to go to the store or wherever.
and all the rest of it and she’d suffered dreadfully with her hands. One day they were putting a call over the loud speakers, any fitter who could type, could they report to orderly room. Put this over several times and there was no response. So she said, “I wonder if they want, would take a flight mechanic?” So she went up and reported to
orderly room and when they found out she was a competent typist, they were rewriting the instruction manuals for the overhaul. That was why they wanted somebody with the technical knowledge and admitted they hadn’t thought of a flight mechanic of course. So she was transferred to orderly room and although she has enjoyed doing the course, she wasn’t really enjoying working with the hard wire, the nuts and bolts part of it.
So, and she would come down in the winter and say, “I’m sitting up there with a radiator at my feet, you know typing and so forth.” And I’d say, “Oh well, you do that.” But just after that we were transferred down to Hercules, Herc bay, as
they call it, Hercules Bay, that’s the photo I’ve got there of the workshop and this was where they were assembling these Bristol Hercs motor for the Beaufighters. And of course we had quite a lot of Beaufighters at that stage. And so, Leila was put to work on the rear section and I was put to work on the front section.
And your friend here will be able to vouch for the fact that there’s a great radial motors and the front section has got the timing for the sleeves. Do you know about the sleeve valve engine?
the mixture comes in and gets blown out and things. And all this timing is done by a whole lot of, I guess you call them cogs or gears, gears not cogs and they all had to be put, fixed in their proper sequence and so forth. And then when all that was done,
a big aluminium cover went over the whole lot and this sat on thirty-two studs which surrounded the whole thing which meant that you had to get it evenly on that. This is after it had all been checked and all these gears had to be wire locked and so forth so that nothing could come loose. So, and then when this aluminium cover went on
the method of getting down on these thirty-two studs evenly was to get a hide faced hammer and sort of gently tap it around about. And couple of Beaufighter pilots came through one day to have a look at what was going on and one of them said, “What’s the WAAAF doing over there?” And the sergeant said, “Oh she’s troppo [mentally affected by war experience] , we let her get loose with the hammer now and again to belt into it.” And then when that was done,
all those thirty-two studs had to be locked on too and doesn’t sound much but it was quite involved.
Black Jack Walker. He was the CO and he was a bit of a local hero down around Wagga and he had lived down there with his wife, with his then wife. And he was probably a bit of a glamour boy, he was an excellent pilot, you know one of the top notch pilots. And
he stayed on in aviation after the war and was test pilot for De Havillands [aircraft] and so on, but yes they and of course, having had the Beaufighters there for so long. They were all very enthusiastic about the Beaufighters compared with the Beauforts [bomber] which were just bits of biscuit bombers more or less. They weren’t, you know, fighter aircraft
and so, no, but it was while I was working in the other section that they decided that to put a lot of these Beauforts. I’m going back to Beauforts now, to convert them for extra work and at that stage we were put onto ten
hour shifts, six hours a week, to get through the number of engines and the modifications to the airframes that they needed. So that was a bit tiring and but, there again, it all just come out and you do it.
so, no I never did get a flight in a Beaufighter, but I had a flight in a Beaufort. But when they went up for test flights, sometimes if you’d worked on them then they’d let you, but the pilot said, “How do you know you worked on the engine that’s in this one.” I said,
“Well I’ve worked on so many, it must.” But I had no way of knowing of course, but he took me up anyhow. They were allowed to do this, just.
WAAAF officer, so I asked for a parade to her and went in, chucked her my best salute, and things. And told her what I wanted and she said, “Well, she’d never had a request like this before, she would have to talk to the CO about it.” So, I said, “Oh well, he’ll say no.” But anyhow, I duly got summoned to her and she told
me that, “Yes, the CO had approved, provided a whole list of things that I had signed to keep it, which they thought was going to stop me. Because they did have garages there because see some of the men had cars and bikes and things, and that I did not use service fuel in it, which I wouldn’t have. That I obeyed the speed limit while I was on the station.
And oh, I don’t know a whole heap of things but I agreed to the whole lot of them, so when I came home on leave I didn’t have enough petrol to ride it down there. So I took it down to Central Station and put it on the train and when it got there I went and got a gallon of petrol. I had my petrol coupon, I went and got it and picked it up and took
it to the station and one of the girls who’d been on rookies with us, was going out with a sergeant from Wagga. She got posted to Wagga straight away and when we went off on course and this fellow had a car and a garage and so he let me put my little motorbike in his garage so I was able to. And even after he got posted I just kept the garage,
and so I had somewhere to keep it and it made all the difference because at weekends and things I could get off and go places that other people couldn’t get to.
So, can you give us a bit of an impression of what the camp was like at Forrest Hill?
Well, we were very pleased when we saw our quarters, because it was a permanent RAAF station and some of them, you know, only had Nissen huts and things in but we, well particularly the WAAAF quarters were very good. We had huts with rooms divided off into two to a room and I think that,
there were about fourteen rooms, about seven each side and then at the end one end, in an enclosure there were, when they say enclosure, part and there were three showers there. Once again no doors or anything on the showers and on the other side of the hall, there was a hall running right through it and then on the other side of the hall, the
there were two toilets and three hand basins and with hot and cold water. And so it was, we thought this was very good. Once again we just had the ordinary stretcher type bed and hessian filled with straw , but you got used to that after a while and so.
sort of fed you with anything. But they’re, the fact that the cooks were there and you knew them and they became friends and things they always did their best with whatever was available and the meals were acceptable and certainly better than we had up until that time. And
sometimes the RAAF and WAAAF would go off early in the morning because there were lots of mushrooms there. And they’d bring back the mushrooms and hand them in the kitchen and we’d get mushrooms and things. And also this, man who let me share his garage, he
and a couple of his friends used to go out shooting rabbits. In fact they had a couple of ferrets and they used take these out and put them in the, and chase the rabbits out and if they shot enough of them they would take those back to the mess, this was the days before myxomatosis [rabbit killing virus] and things. And they’d skin them and they used to sell the skins, and
then the cooks could do up very nice rabbit stew and things. Sometimes they’d give them to the WAAAF mess, well quite often they would because there weren’t as many WAAAF there. And they could distribute them better because there were two hundred WAAAF and two thousand men on the station. And so there’d be enough to go around for the WAAAF but not enough for the men.
So there were those sort of extra things but no the mess was pretty good.
we didn’t know until after the war, just how bad the bombing of Darwin had been because that news was suppressed. And mainly it was if someone had a member of the family that was up in New Guinea or up in the islands or somewhere, who would be able to
pass on what some first hand news. Because, like all politicians, they weren’t very honest as far as disseminating information, particularly if it was going against us. And I can remember in the early days, my father used to say, “If only they would say that the
Australians or the allies were taking a pasting, they would get a lot more people rushing to enlist to help than all this sort of pretending that things weren’t too bad.” And but, I suppose on the station, we didn’t have that much information about what was going on
and just, you know, some of the fellows we knew were getting sent away onto active service instead of being down there on the station. We’d realise that there was something going on, but I’m afraid, I really do believe that the Australians were kept in the dark quite a bit. I don’t know whether you’ve heard that from anyone else but.
was well, we were told that she was pregnant and the last I ever heard of her, she was sent back to Sydney, being escorted by the Salvation Army officer who was on the station. This woman was a very kind person and they used to fall for all these sorts of jobs,
but, in the air force. Now Clare Stevenson, you’ve heard of her, she was director or WAAAF, she was a very progressive woman. And she had university degree and before she was seconded to the air force she was an executive to the Berley Corset
foundation garment company. So she held a pretty high position there and she was a woman ahead of her time. But right from the start she told me, she ended up in Kanandah village along here and towards the end, after she broke her hip, she needed a bit of assistance. And so I was able to help her a bit and so got to know her very well.
But she’d said that she realised that there would be girls who’d become pregnant but her instructions were, she found out that in the army, if a girl became pregnant she was immediately dishonourably discharged and out. Clare gave instructions that no WAAAF was to be discharged
until it had been ascertained that she had some support from her family or from somewhere else and that arrangements had been made for her and the baby, before she’d be discharged from the WAAAF. Which, I mean for back in those days was a pretty advanced thinking. And in the history of the WAAAF that Joyce Thompson
wrote that Clare, not that you can say was anything to do with the officers or anything of the sort, that the lowest incidence of pregnancy in the services was in the air force. So we were talking about this not so long ago, a group of we oldies,
and one of them said, “Well it was because we were so good.” And the other one said, “No we weren’t, we were so good and scared.” So, but it wasn’t as common as the civilian population like to make out. I mean, some men, particularly civilian
men believed that the women joined the forces, you know just for a bit of a play around with the men. And the men thought that the girls were there just for their entertainment or whatever, but as I say, we worked with men the whole time in the musterings we were in and on training and things. And I’d say that most of them were,
could you say well-behaved, and didn’t get into those situations. And so, there was only one case that I ever knew of.
from a social sort of background, not socialist, but social. You know they’d been involved in charity work and good works and so forth and but, then some of them sort of went in and didn’t last very long because they found that even they were subject to very strict discipline and rules and
so on. But on the whole, only ever came across one I didn’t care for and that was when I was at Melbourne and she was known to be a bit snobby and things and crossed swords with her once. But it was an occasion
when I had been out of the station, with a RAAF fellow and it was very, very hot, down there, and when we came back in. I took my hat off and took my tie off and unfortunately didn’t take much notice of
the time and it was, we used to have bed check at ten o’clock at night and if, on the nights that you weren’t on leave, you had to be in bed tucked up by ten o’clock. And anyhow, this WAAAF officer and a corporal came out of the barracks just as I was about to go in, and she said to me, “You know have you been off the station?” And I said, “Yes.” And she said, “And when did you remove your hat and tie?” and
I said, “Oh after I came through the gate, you know once I was back inside.” Which was quite acceptable, and she shone her torch up and down me and she said, “And what else have you taken off?” Well, I sort of told her that I objected to that sort of thing and she objected to my remarks and she said, “So you will be on a charge in the morning.” And I said, “And madam, so will you.”
That was the last I ever heard of it, because, you know, she was out of line to have said something like that and with the inference, you know, because I didn’t have a hat and tie on. So, but on the whole they were quite good and particularly the ones when we got the station and as I’d said,
things were a bit more relaxed when you’re on a permanent station than when you’re on a training school and you’re just a trainee.
a limited life time and after a certain number of hours, they have to be overhauled, the degree of overhaul depends on the number of hours that they have been in operation. They’re some checks that have to be done at forty hours, which are usually done just on the station and then, at varying times, until they come up for a 240 hourly, which is after two hundred and forty of hours service.
They have to be completely stripped down so when they’d operated for the number of times, it got up to the limit, they’d be taken out of the aircraft frame and brought to an aircraft depot. And when they were overhauled and tested they went back into aircraft
and back into service again.
be admitted to one RAAF hospital to have my tonsils removed on August the 15th, 1945. And so I had to go into hospital a couple of days before and I went out there. And the doctor came and on the 14th and
examined my throat and said, “Your throat is still too much inflamed. So go back to the station and come and see me in three weeks time. So, they took me back to the station and I was there and the next morning we were there and I was
about, just in my working clothes. Because I was about to go up and get myself back on strength and go and start work in the hanger when the word came through that the war was over. You know and it just, and so they broadcast this announcement that there would be tenders [transport] the station, if we could be on the tenders, there was a train due fairly soon, that they would issue us, on the tender, they would issue us with
leave pass and rail warrants and anyone who could make it. Yeah, so here was me still in my working gear so I quickly sort of started to peel off and get into uniform and realised I was running out of time. And they’re singing out, “The tenders are coming down the road.” So I put my shoes on, my skirt and jacket and didn’t worry about tie, collar and tie or anything
and shoved some things in the kit bag and I rushed out and at the WAAAF gate the tender was there and they were saying, “Come on, come on.” And so flung the kit and two of the fellows lifted that and pulled me on, there was a WAAAF officer there sitting in the back who was making out these. And she looked me up and down and she said, “I don’t think you are properly dressed.” And I said, “No, but I will be in a moment.” So proceeded to put the collar and tie on
and even dared to put my stocking on with a few of them standing around there. And, so right we, got managed to get the train and of course there was, you can imagine the train trip, it was a bit noisy and so forth. I had no time to let my mother know that I was coming home so I bowled in and of course they had the, the big parade,
next day in town. I always regret that I didn’t go into the city for that, but. My mother wanted me to stay home, she thought that there would be too much wild going on in the city. She was right, and
I was very sorry that I wasn’t part of it. So you know and so there wasn’t all that much celebration for me. But I was a very exciting time and we just, there’d been a couple of false alarms before that, you know, when they thought that it was
going to be announced that the war was over and so on. But, so it was a bit hard to believe that it was over. But that was the August, I think we were only given about four days leave and had to go back again and I was there until the end of the year. By that time the,
about a month or so before, the end of the war, the engines had stopped coming through, and so things were pretty slack in the hanger. And I’d been transferred over to headquarters to work in the chief officer’s, technical officers officer and
well, it was a, either that or the mess, so. So I thought I’d rather go there. See when I went in, my previous occupation was motorcycle rider, well the only times I admitted to being a typist or anything was when I was in pool and if you were in pool, you got allocated to any job that was around the place. And if I looked like
going to the mess I’d suddenly remember I was a typist and get myself a shiny job somewhere. And so I ended up there and there were still aircraft coming back from the islands and being dispersed around the place. And so all these, the chief technical officers office was handling all this so they needed
someone and the clerk had been posted away, for discharge probably and I didn’t apply for early discharge so I ended up there until December and my discharge was effective in January. So, but things had
changed and everything was much more relaxed on the station, you know once the war had finished and we didn’t have to work so hard and so.
the damage, and I think the main line that was pushed was the fact that, even though they’d killed those hundreds of thousands of Japanese or whatever it was, that actually it was a means of saving so many of the allied forces. That if it hadn’t been for the atom bombs that the casualties in the allied forces and
so, I think they were trying to justify it and balance it up that way. And that was what we were told and but, I know that you know. We’d heard about the atom bombs being built and experimented with and so forth, but I think everyone felt that they were far too dangerous and that they that they would never be used, but of course,
But we’d talked about travelling, probably going to Queensland somewhere, when we got out of the air force, and working and maybe you know doing a bit of travelling around. And blow me tight if I didn’t get a letter from her saying, “Geoff had been down to Melbourne and they were going to get married.” And I thought, “Oh blow her, leaving me
in the lurch.” So I thought, “Oh well.” It was a condition if you’d been in the services, your previous employer had to offer you a job if there was one there, and things. So when I was home on leave at one stage I went and saw them at Kodak and they said, “Yes, the job would be there.” An interesting thing about Kodak, I mean I know it was an American
company and all the rest of it, but it was the Australian part of it was here. They used to send me a parcel and things now and again, a few goodies and things. But for all the men who enlisted, they made up their pay for the full time that they were away. I was the only one who joined the women’s services and the same was not extended
to me. I didn’t know about it at the time, but I thought, you know this was the attitude then to women and I’m glad things have evened out a bit since then, but no it was because I met up with some, with one of the fellows. And he said, “Oh, how’d you get on with the comforts fund and things for Kodak.” “Oh,” I said, “I got a couple of parcels from them.” And he said, “Yeah, but wasn’t it good about the pay.” And I said,
“What about the pay?” And he said “Oh, they made up our pay.” Whatever they’d been getting they sort of stashed that away and when they came out of the services they were given that lump sum of the pay, irrespective if they’d been in for twelve months or four years, or something. So,
things were different for the women in those days.
to prove that they could do more than they’d been assigned before. That they could get out of the kitchen and the child bearing and so forth if they wished, if a lot of women of course were quite happy with their life. And they didn’t ever aspire to doing anything other than leaving school, going to work for a while, and getting married, and having a family.
That was the end of their ambitions but I think that given the opportunity and being able to prove that they were capable of doing things that hadn’t been regarded as quite the female role before, meant a lot. And
sadly, some of the women just went back and reverted to type but others of course, I think it was the start of something for them.
You told us briefly but could you talk us through it again?
Well, I went back and was doing the same job and I was coming back one day through the city and pulled up beside a tram at the corner of George and Park Street, which was where I used to turn right to go down to Riley street and man in one of the old
toast rack trams leant out of the tram and sang out, “Why don’t you give a man back his job. You know, the war is over why don’t you give a man back his job.” So, kind of hurt a bit, because it was my job too, but I went back and resigned and said, “You know I can’t take this.” And when they got someone to replace me, they did have a few of the men back by then, a couple of them.
Two of the, one of the girls was still working there and the others had left, you know, because they more or less wanted to. And I then went back to office work for a while.
when we were doing it, Parramatta road was flooded out there at Homebush under what we used to call Cocky Arnott’s bridge, you know there was a bridge across with the big - and I can remember riding up on the footpath to get around it and things like that. But it just didn’t stop us, we kept going and I know that Bennett & Woods, the motor cycle agents were in
Wentworth avenue and they had several men on, in outfits and things, you know delivering parts and various things around the place. And they went on strike because it was too wet and were surprised to find that the Kodak girls got through. Because, we felt we had to prove ourselves.
didn’t have anyone telling you where you could go and when and all the rest of it. And I think that probably my mother noticed things more than I did. Whereas before I went into the air force I was used to sort of more or less getting her, not permission, but you know okay, with anything that I was going to do
and so on. And I found it quite difficult to go back and sometimes I wouldn’t just say, “Well, I’m going out.” But I wouldn’t give her much detail of what I was going to do, because for so long I hadn’t had to refer to a mother or anything. She mentioned this quite some years later that I came back sort of so independent of the family and
well, while I was in the air force my brother had married and moved out of home. And Mum was there with just the two little girls and she, so that way it was quite different. And also not being
tied down so much to times of getting trains back to the camp and various, those sort of things.
do things and do what I wanted to do, but. That was one thing, and also I found that I was probably a lot more tolerant than I had been before. That might sound a contradiction, being independent and tolerant, but being in the air force, you had to mix with so many different types.
Live in hut with people, whom you may not have had much to do with in civvy life, and yet they were there and just as entitled to be there as you were. And so, and probably I was less judgemental than I had been because I found out
that people could do what I thought were rather startling things and yet be quite nice. That, I don’t like that work, quite acceptable people and but still get along quite well with them.
and even though it wasn’t all that exciting and things, there was something going on the whole time, and but you know, but there was always something to do and people around to do it with. So, I think going home and
as I mentioned before, Mercia did come home to my place to live when we got out because her parents didn’t have any accommodation for her. They’d come to Sydney and were staying with relatives themselves. And so she was there, but by that time she was quite taken up, her time was taken up with Geoff and it took me a while to find someone.
And do I think that was it.
used to go down there and stay, and she’d come up here after we were married, you know, she’d come and stay sometimes when she was in Sydney. And she always came up for WAAAF lunches and things, and there are a group of us who were at Wagga there who meet every year for lunch in October. We have an annual lunch and the numbers are getting fewer, because some of
them are no longer with us and others are getting too frail to get into the city to meet up. And so that’s kept up some of them, friends and there’s another one. I didn’t know her so much on the station but I had met her before I went in. And through the motorcycling group, she wasn’t a motorcyclist but,
and she was going out with one of the fellows who was and a chap I worked with in the hanger. And she and I’ve become quite close friends now, so we’ve got a lot in common with mutual friends and so.
What do you think the worst thing was about your time as a WAAAF if you had to pick something?
I can’t think of anything that was really, really bad except the cold weather at Wagga, it was just so cold and living in huts, unlined huts, with no heating and
it was not very pleasant. And another thing that I thought was a big grim was when we were on rookies at Bradfield, as I said it was July when we went in, so it was very cold and quite often, they would turn the hot water off at night.
And there’d be no hot water for you to have a shower and there’d still be no hot water if you waited till the next morning so having cold showers in July was not a bit of fun. But they were just more or less uncomfortable things, but as for anything being bad or nasty, I can’t think of anything.
in pretty poor condition and they had the engines there and the officer in charge of that whole project was a WAAAF officer, a WAAAF engineering officer and I thought that was good. And then, some years ago, they opened the flying musterings for the women and I knew two women that went in as the first
trainee pilots and that I thought was very progressive. And of course the women going into the airlines as pilots, the first one who went in was Debra Wardly who had a great old fight with Sir Reginald Ansett [airline operator] there are girls flying for Qantas. And they were
for Ansett but of course Ansett is no longer [defunct] .Things have come about and I think mainly it is because of what happened during the war with various professions and trades being opened to women.
for a while and but eventually realised that it was dragging me down too much. And I although I’d had so much wonderful friendships and things in the motorcycle club I felt that I couldn’t face those people again and I certainly couldn’t get involved in the activities they way we had together. And so
when I left there I went to work for Victa who only had the mower factory at that stage. But when I went there I applied for a temporary job but the man I went to see said, after talking to me, well to start with when I walked through to his office, he was in the spares section. And he said to me, “I noticed a few of my workers there,
greeted you as you came through, they seem to know you.” And I said, “Yes.” And he said, “Well, how do you know them?” And I said, “Oh, through motorcycling and so on.” And so he interviewed me for this temporary job and then he said. “Look, I would like you to talk to our works manager who is looking for a secretary.” And I said, “Well, I’ve told you I only want a temporary job
until the school holidays and so forth.” And he said, “Well, can I ring you?” So he rang me at home, later and he said, “I’ve made a tentative appointment with our works manager for you to see him in the morning if you would.” So I went and you know how you meet some people and you just sort of click right away. And that’s what happened
with this fellow, and he talked to me about things and about what I’d done and the other chap had told him of course you know that I’d been involved in the motorcycle business. And so we sat there and I still hadn’t said that I’d take the job or anything and he pushed back his chair and he said, “Well, I’ve decided you’ll be my secretary.” And at that stage, Victa
had this profit share scheme going where, and new employees, and temporary employees, because they used to put on a lot of casuals during the summer when the mower season was really going. This is when Vic Richardson was making you know, millions out of mowers. And he said, “I’ve decided you’re going to be my secretary.”
He said, “Most employees start on half profit share, you will start on full profit share, and I’ll see you at eight o’clock in the morning.” So that was how we ended up and until he died a couple of years ago, he and his family, he had two boys and a girl about the same age as mine. And we all became very good friends and
even though they moved away from Sydney we kept in touch with him, this is all a bit on the side. But, he, not that there was a bit on the side, and our two girls are still the closest of friends and but, and then of course Victa got interested in producing the air-tourer,
the Victa Air-Tourer and Cec was learning to fly. And because his writing was so dreadful, he used to, for his theory course he used to dictate it all to me and I’d type it out and sent it in. So just about the time he got his license, I said to him, “Look, I know so much about this, all I’ve got to do is learn to point the aircraft.” And he
said, “Well, why don’t you?” And so I just decided to learn to fly which I was able to do only because of this profit share pay and all the rest of it. Because flying, at that stage, I don’t know, I think it’s probably dearer even now, but it was pretty expensive. And then he was transferred to aviation and I was transferred too and from then on,
you know, I was still employed in a secretarial capacity but one of the tours they did around the state shows like the Royal Easter show and Brisbane had the Brisbane Exhibition and South Australia and Western Australia when they needed an extra pilot. I was able to do the flying
and so I, but I flew with the aero club, the Royal Aero Club, that was where I trained. So I kept up that interest until eventually I couldn’t pass the medical because of some of the medication I was obliged to take but I still remained active in the Women Pilots Association
and took part in their, helped in their fear of flying clinics. And until even after I came here and then I ran into some more health problems and couldn’t get around and do as much as I used to do so that had to go too. But, so that was.
decided to learn to fly because I had let everything go, you know, after Bill’s death. And certainly I had the three kids and I had to look after them and get them somehow or other grown up but I felt that I was getting really into a rut because, sort of having - I still kept in touch with some of the old motorcycling
crowd but not many and I didn’t go to any of their activities or social functions or anything, just felt that I couldn’t face the crowd. And I realised that I was getting into this rut of doing absolutely nothing. And thought if I don’t get out of the rut, the edges are going to close in over the top of me and so forth.
So, and I thought this is something that is going to take a bit of effort to do I’m not going to be able to just walk into this and take to it like I have other things. And I didn’t find it particularly easy and it took me, well quite a few hours, well about sixteen hours to solo and other people do it in about eight.
But once I got going, I found that it was quite exciting and it sort of brought me back to life a bit. And, then of course having the opportunity to get some flying in, with Victa and it was, that
we were, I was over at Bradfield for final discharge and things. And they had a row of people there all holding out their hands with something and they said, you know, join air force association, five shillings and so you paid your five, just got quite a big pay. Well, thirty-seven pounds or something of the sort. And so it’s something that I’ve kept up. There for a while
I was quite an active member of the WAAAF wing of the air force association and even after I was married, because with Bill being ex air force took - I still kept up with that. And but there again it was one of the things I let go. I still paid my subs [fees]
and been a financial member all the time but I didn’t keep up with it the same way as with the motorcycling. When the women’s international motorcycling association started in America I’d been writing as a pen friend to a girl over there who was involved in starting this. And so, she invited me
to be a member of this women’s international association. In fact the first member outside of America and so, and I kept up with them for a while. And but it was another thing that I let go you know after Bill’s death and so forth. And it was only recently in the last three or four years that
I’ve had anything to do with them again because the whole thing lapsed when I didn’t, wasn’t doing anything about it. And it was I think in about 1970 or something, one of the girls in South Australia started it up again and everyone thought that that was when it started in Australia and so. But there again
one day in the Herald, they had a paragraph in the RSVP [Repondez S’il Vous Plait; Please Reply] page, saying, did anyone have any knowledge of this association. And so I tore it out and put it there and my daughter said, “Are you going to do anything about it?” And I said, “Oh no, it’s too long ago.” But she persuaded me to write to them and they were about to have this international conference down at Kiama where they had visitors from all over the world coming.
And so they trotted out the first member and so, and I get their newsletter and go to a few of the things. They usually, one of the girls comes and drives me in a car. I’ve told them with my bones the way the are I can’t ride motorbikes any longer. But I haven’t been a great one
for clubs and associations and things other than the things I’ve been interested in like the air force and this association.
with this, I really don’t think that Australia should have got involved in this Iraq war. I was very disappointed that they followed America so blindly when so much seemed to point against it and it seemed to be all for the wrong reasons.
I mean this insistence on it being about weapons of mass destruction, well what are the Americans using? They’re not using single shot rifles are they and it just seems all so contradictory and I know this might seem strange after what I said about the atom bomb sort of being justified
to bring about the end of World War II. But I just feel that I know that things were going wrong over there but I think that America is just too inclined to rush in and want to rule the whole world and dictate to other people what they should be doing
when they’re not really setting a very good example themselves. And, but war has been going on for so long it seems that the main causes of it are, a lot of it’s religion and greed, greed for territory.
And sometimes I think it was a shame that people invented the wheel and the boat otherwise they’d have all had to stay where they were and not go and invade other people’s territory. No, that’s just a bit, being facetious, but I don’t think that anything can justify the loss of human life in wars. I mean,
what did the First World War achieve for all those hundreds of thousands of men who were slaughtered and then World War II was different but it was still mass destruction, on both sides and because once -
Well, because Germany wanted to dominate the whole of Europe, in fact it left themselves the whole world and I’m against war in principle.
but it’s very good. And they have a guest speaker but fairly brief and no great fanfare and they have the Last Post and the flag and all the usual things. And then one couple up here, both of whom were ex service, they always have
an Anzac Day breakfast for about a dozen of us when they go to the dawn [service] , well Frank’s not able to go to the dawn service, but his wife always goes. And then they have this thing and then we watch the march on television. Because most of us have got past the stage where, oh, some of the chaps who go,
particularly the air force ones, they’ve got time to get in town and still join in the march. Because as you know, the air force are ‘tailend Charlies', they always come at the end of [the parade] , you know the Australian services. And I know when I used to go in, you’d be standing around for hours waiting for the others to move off but of course it’s not taking quite as long now because there are fewer of them to march.
And but, yes, so that’s usually Anzac Day.