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WRAAAF Newsletter NSW -June 2016

02/03/2017 at 1:44 pm


WRAAF Newsletter NSW June 2016

WRAAF Newsletter NSW September 2016

02/03/2017 at 1:29 pm



WRAAF Newsletter NSW Sep 2016

Dogs in War – Airedale in World War 1

02/03/2017 at 12:23 pm

Source – Noelene Park maybe

Dogs in War

Poetry – Source Tom Rendall

02/03/2017 at 12:14 pm

Poetry of Anzac Day Source Tom Rendall (I think)

02/03/2017 at 12:09 pm

ex WRAAF In The News

02/03/2017 at 12:02 pm

Source: Probably Noelene Park West Australian 26 Jan 2016

Heroines of the Second World War Part 2

02/03/2017 at 11:49 am

Source: I think Noelene Park again

No 1Heroines of the Second World War Part 20001

No 1 Stores Depot (1SD) RAAF Tottenham Reunion Lunch

02/03/2017 at 11:38 am

Source from Noelene Park – Thankyou


Held 19th November 2016

at Yarraville Club, 135 Stephen Street, Yarraville, Vic

No 1 Stores Depot RAAF Tottenham Reunion Lunch





Anzac on the Wall – A Poem by Jim Brown

01/03/2017 at 1:18 pm

Hello all

I’ve been rather neglectful of my website but I assure you I don’t forget it. It’s just there’s not enough time in the day when there’s so much else to do. Most know I’m trying to do my BA and this semester have taken leave of absence to recover from an end of year medical nightmare. Getting there.

This poem below was sent to me, I think, after the last reunion by Tom Rendall, Pam Bridgeman’s husband. It’s a beautiful poem and you wonder if it’s real. Sad to say it’s not but it is a composite of many people and doings just like this John Stuart.

I’ve retyped it from an A3 sheet but the funny spellings are what comes with the poem – not my mistakes. I also looked up the origin of the poem. Enjoy.


The Anzac on the Wall

(sent to me by Tom Rendall I think)

Poem by Jim Brown


I wandered thru a country town ‘cos I had time to spare,

And went into an antique shop to see what was in there.

Old bikes and pumps ad kero lamps, but hidden by it all,

A photo of a soldier boy – an Anzac on the Wall.


“The Anzac have a name?” I asked. The old man answered “no,.

The ones who could have told me mate, have passed on long ago.

The old man kept on talking and, according to his tale,

The photo was unwanted junk bought from a clearance sale.


“I asked around,” the old man said, “but no one knows his face,

He’s been on that wall twenty years, deserves a better place.

For some one must have loved him so, it seems a shame somehow.”

I nodded in agreement and then said, “I’ll take him now.”


My nameless digger’s photo, well it was a sorry sight

A cracked glass pane and a broken frame – I had to make it right

To prise the photo from its frame I took care just in case,

“Cause only sticky paper held the cardboard back in place.


I peeled away the faded screed and much to my surprise,

Two letters and a telegram appeared before my eyes

The first reveals my Anzac’s name, and regiment of course

John Mathew Francis Stuart – of Australia’s own Light Horse.


This letter written from the front, my interest now was keen

This note was dated August seventh 1917

“Dear Mum, I’m at Khalasa Springs not far from the Red Sea

They say it’s in the Bible – looks like Billabong to me.


“My Kathy wrote I’m in her prayers she’s still my bride to be

I just can’t wait to see you both you’re all the world to me

And Mum you’ll soon meet Bluey, last month they shipped him out

I told him to call on you when he’s up and about.”


“That bluey is a larrikin, and we all thought it funny

He lobbed a Turkish hand grenade into the Co’s dunny.

I told you how he dragged me wounded in from no man’s land

He stopped the bleeding closed the wound with only his bare hand.”


“Then he copped it at the front from some stray shrapnel blast

It was my turn to drag him in and I thought he wouldn’t last

He woke up in hospital, and nearly lost his mind

Cause out there on the battlefield he’d left one leg behind.”



“He’s been in a bad way mum, he knows he’ll ride no more

Like me he loves a horse’s back he was a champ before.

So Please Mum can you take him in, he’s been like my brother

Raised in a Queensland orphanage he’s never known a mother.”


But Struth, I miss Australia mum, and in my mind each day

I am a mountain cattleman on high plains far away

I’m mustering white-faced cattle, with no camel’s hump in sight

And I waltz my Matilda by a campfire every night


I wonder who rides Billy, I heard the pub burnt down

I’ll always love you and please say hooroo to all in town”.

The second letter I could see was in a lady’s hand

An answer to her soldier son there in a foreign land


Her copperplate was perfect, the pages neat and clean

It bore the date November 3rd 1917.

“T’was hard enough to lose your Dad, without you at the war

I’d hoped you would be home by now – each day I miss you more”


“Your Kathy calls around a lot since you have been away

To share with me her hopes and dreams about our wedding day

And Bluey has arrived – and what a godsend he has been

We talked and laughed for days about the things you’ve done and seen”


“He really is a comfort, and works hard around the farm,

I read the same hope in his eyes that you wont come to harm.

Mc Connell’s kids rode Billy, but suddenly that changed

We had a violent lightning storm, and it was really strange.”

“Last Wednesday just on midnight, not a single cloud in sight

It raged for several minutes, it gave us all a fright

It really spooked your Billy – and he screamed and bucked and reared

And then he rushed the sliprail fence, which by a foot he cleared”


“They brought him back next afternoon, but something’s changed I fear

It’s like the day you brought him home, for no one can get near

Remember when you caught him with his black and flowing mane?

Now Horse breakers fear the beast that only you can tame,”

“That’s why we need you home son” – then the flow of ink went dry –

This letter was unfinished, and I couldn’t work out why.

Until I started reading the letter number three

A yellow telegram delivered news of tragedy

Her son killed in action – oh – what pain that must have been

The Same date as her letter – 3rd November 17

This letter which was never sent, became then one of three

She sealed behind the photo’s face – the face she longed to see.


And John’s home town’s old timers – children when he went to war

Would say no greater cattleman had left the town before.

They knew his widowed mother well – and with respect did tell

How when she lost her only boy she lost her mind as well.

She could not face the awful truth, to strangers she would speak

“My Johnny’s at the war you know, he’s coming home next week.”

They all remembered Bluey he stayed on to the end

A younger man with wooden leg became her closest friend


And he would go and find her when she wandered old and weak

And always softly say “yes dear – John will be home next week.”

Then when she died Bluey moved on, to Queensland some did say

I tried to find out where he went, but don’t know to this day

And Kathy never wed – a lonely spinster some found odd

She wouldn’t set foot in a church – she’d turned her back on God

John’s mother left no will I learned on my detective trail

This explains my photo’s journey, that clearance sale

So I continued digging cause I wanted to know more

I found John’s name with thousands in the records of the war

His last ride proved his courage – a ride you will acclaim

The Light Horse Charge at Beersheba of everlasting fame


That last day in October back in 1917

At 4pm our brave boys fell – that sad fact I did glean

That’s when John’s life was sacrificed, the record’s crystal clear

But 4 pm in Beersheba is midnight over here ……

So as John’s gallant sprit rose to cross the great divide

Were lightning bolts back home a signal from the other side?

Is that why Billy bolted and went racing as in pain?

Because he’d never feel his master on his back again?

Was it coincidental? Same time – same day – same date?

Some proof of numerology, or just a quirk of fate?

I think it’s more than that, you know, as I’ve heard wiser men,

Acknowledge there are many things that go beyond our ken


Where craggy peaks guard secrets neath dark skies torn asunder

Where hoofbeats are companions to the rolling waves of thunder

Where lightning cracks like 303’s and ricochets again

Where howling moaning gusts of wind sound just like dying men

Some Mountain cattlemen have sworn on lonely alpine track

They[ve glimpsed a huge black stallion – Light Horseman on his back.


Yes Sceptics say, it’s swirling clouds just forming apparitions

Oh no, my friend you cant dismiss all this as superstition

The desert of Beersheba – or windswept Aussie range

John Stuart rides forever there – Now I don’t find that strange

Now some gaze at this photo, and they often question me

And I tell the a small white lie, and say he’s family.

“You must be proud of him.” They say – I tell them, one and all,

That’s why he takes the pride of place – my Anzac on the Wall.


Jim Brown


Jim is a former Primary Schoolteacher, Police Officer in N.Z. where he was born and where he also commenced a career as TV Journalist before moving to Melbourne.

In Australia Jim worked as a News and current affairs journalist for Channels Nine and Ten where he won awards for his reports on the Chamberlain Trial, the Ash Wednesday Fires. He covered overseas events including the fall of the Marcos Regime and the trial of Australian Priest Brian Gore in the Philippines.

In 1991 he joined the ground-breaking lifestyle program “Healthy Wealthy and Wise” as a presenter of travel and human interest stories. Around Australia Jim filed stories on more than 270 destinations and characters, and more than 50 overseas including NZ, Northern Ireland, and USA (Los Angeles, & New Orleans) South Africa.

Jim is now a freelance Producer of broadcast and corporate TV, videos and DVD’s cameraman, & editor.

In recent years Jim has branched out as a songwriter, and performer of classic Australian Bush Poetry and his own work, for which he has won several awards both in Tamworth and other competitions around Australia including the Bush Laureates Golden Gumleaf Award for recorded poetry. This is the most prestigious poetry award in Australia.

Jim has won the State of Victoria’s Bush Poetry Champion, and has recently returned as a tour guide for a “Celtic Spirituality tour of Ireland” to examine the roots of our music, culture and the Christian religion to understand how they all fit into our lives today. In 2006, Jim was invited to perform at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, and the Tullamore Irish Festival. In September this year Jim won the inaugural Wool Wagon Poetry Competition in Crookwell NSW.

Jim enjoys working with young people and teaching them how rhyming verse is relevant to their generation. Besides rediscovering the joy of our unique Australian poetry classics from the pen of Banjo Paterson and others, audiences have enjoyed Jim’s own verse and music. An hour with Jim helps understand the soul of Australia.

Index of Writings

Author’s Note: It started when I was a TV journalist preparing to travel to Gallipoli for the 75th anniversary of the landing [1990]. I went to Canberra to gather photographic support for a TV documentary, and while in the archives of the Canberra War Memorial Museum a lovely old man put a box of letters before me. The letters were untraceable, and had no addresses. They were written to and from the war front and I was entranced by them. I was not allowed to take them away, but I made notes. This was a long time before I became a bush poet,

The final cog in the wheel was about 5 years ago when I went into an antique shop and saw a photograph of a light horseman on the wall. For some reason I still can’t explain I had to have it, and started writing a poem based on the question who was he? This was the first or shorter version of the poem.

I later revisited my notes of the letters and incorporated them into the longer poem. What struck me in the letters was the untold suffering of Australians waiting at home, and how many mothers and fathers knew intuitively that they had lost a loved one on the other side of the world. Those close to the land seemed to know from signs of nature, and these are in the poem.


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WRAAF Branch Victoria June Newsletter 2016

18/01/2017 at 9:21 pm

EX-WRAAF ASSOCIATION VICTORIAN BRANCH JUNE2016 Edition SHAME WEBSIITE In the last NSW Branch newsletter was an interesting paragraph about the ‘RSL Shame Website’ which had been brought to the attention of their committee. This intrigued me so I did a little investigation of my own. The RSL is not to be blamed nor is the correct internet address given. It has nothing to do with the RSL (other than frequent criticism of that organisation when it comes to members wearing medals to which they have no entitlement) but still makes interesting reading. I have long been aware of this site but it is ages since I last checked it out. They have revamped it and boy, have they added ‘wannabees’. If you want to look for yourself go to the Australia and New Zealand Military Imposters Group site. The part that caught my interest in the NSW newsletter was that they had ‘shamed’ an ex-WRAAF wearing an unearned Peace Keepers beret. So I had to have a look. I have spent a long time today working my way through the alphabet to get to the entry I was after. But to save you some time, I suggest you head for the letter ‘R’. If you served in the period 1958— 1967, or were an MTD, or your service number was in the vicinity of W219035—W219045 you may know the lady. NSW are seeking her whereabouts so that they can write to her “and explain what disrespect she has brought upon the WRAAF”. I would imagine that they have already received that information as the page gives a few clues and it isn’t a big metropolis community. If you have some spare hours with nothing to do, enjoy the reading. It will probably bring a smile to your face. Some people have fertile imaginations and delusions of grandeur to say the least. Dear ex-WRAAF, I began this newsletter with good intentions back in March, and here I am trying to break the speed-typing record and finish it. Back in March I was in Benalla (approximately half way between Melbourne and Albury) and the weather was gorgeous. I was bemoaning the lack of rain as we really needed it around most of the state. You will be pleased to know we have since had some rain but could use more if you have any to spare. In March it was a typical autumn day. I always recommend that if you are coming to Victoria, come in autumn when the colours of the trees show it to its absolute best. Close to where I was staying was the old RAAF base on what is now known as Benalla Airfield, the home of the Gliding Club of Victoria and their highly-rated gliding school. I have been meaning to take myself down to the RAAF Museum at Point Cook to make closer enquiries on the units located there during it’s wartime heydays, but haven’t got around to it yet. I feel pretty sure that it was a flying training school. So now I have a project. Thanks to Noelene Park and Pat Kempton (from West Australia branch) who passed on the information reported on page 4 of this newsletter. That is one of the features of being an ex-WRAAF I value most—the spreading of news. We won’t need to rely on telephones or computers as our only sources of news while the grapevine still functions. Many of you may already be aware that there is planning underway for another reunion. WRAAF Branch WA are interested in hosting a Reunion in September / October 2017 in South Australia. The address for contact is Judy Bland. You can email her (to express your interest or find out more details) at gib41@bigpond.com. I googled ex-WRAAF reunion 2017 and came up with one site with the following message, (which seems to indicate a change of date): NEXT WRAAF REUNION 2018 6,7,8 April 2018 to be held in Adelaide SA EXPRRESSIONS OF INTEREST Please send $10 with information: Service No. Name, Address etc Post to WRAAF Reunion RAAFA Bull Creek Drive BULL CREEK WA 6149 All info confidential. Also please enclose a self stamped addressed envelope. (Thanks). email: wraafreunionsaustralia@wraafreunions.org A group of girls who served at East Sale are planning on a cruise reunion around September 2017 too and have thrown it open to all ex-WRAAF. For more information contact Lyn Mitchell by email on kipling3@bigpond.com. When I started drafting this newsletter it was Autumn. Well, winter has well and truly arrived now. We have had days of cold weather plus beautiful rain. The kind of days you want to spend indoors, curled up around the fireside reading or knitting. Or outdoors watching the footie (as my husband is doing today). I am staying indoors to write this newsletter. There is no end to the sacrifices I am willing to make! And next newsletter we will be looking at our spring gardens, that is how quickly the seasons pass. Talking about time passing it is hard to credit that this time last year many of us were making final preparations for our trip to Coolangatta for the reunion. Regards Brenda 2 FROM THE PRESIDENT Well Ladies, it is hard to believe that a quarter of the year has gone. Where does the time go? I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year. As you will know by now we didn’t have a Luncheon in February. However, I wish to thank two ladies who came up with suggestions. Caroline Hanrahan suggested either of the hotels opposite Southern Cross Station. Parking could prove expensive if we used the Southern Cross car park, and an alternative is difficult. Cate Pettit suggested Anzac House (the home of the Victorian Division of the RSL). This would mean we were very limited in kitchen resources and would need to take in our own lunch with the ability to make a cuppa on site—and this would be reliant on being granted permission to use their meeting rooms on a Sunday. Both these suggestions require further investigation and are subject to the opinion of the membership. Thank you for at least making an effort to offer suggestions. Our June luncheon will be held at the Altona RSL. Please be aware that WE NEED TO KNOW IF YOU ARE COMING SO THAT WE CAN MAKE A BOOKING. The venue isn’t large and is reasonably busy, so help us to avoid being turned away. Congratulations go to our very own Berys McEvoy who come October will be sailing around the Greek Islands due to success in a Photography Competition. We are green with envy and unfortunately won’t be able to congratulate her in person as she will not be available for the Luncheons before she sails away. Cheerio J Go
I do hope that the Victorian Proban (the Official newsletter of the Probus Association of Victoria) don’t object to us using their material. This item and photograph appeared in the April—May 2016 edition. MEMBER NEWS “Berys McEvoy, a member of the Ringwood Clocktower Probus Club, was all smiles after being awarded first prize in the Probus Southy Pacific Limited Photographic Competition, which is a great honour for her and the club. The winning prize was a $25,000 cruise for two around the Mediterranean and Adriatic Coast. To reach the finals the photo taken by Berys of Autumn Fun in Bright had to face competition from scores of entries taken by Probus members around Australia and the south Pacific Region. Eventually the photos were narrowed to just six finalists one of which was fellow club member Col Pask, The final judgement was made by PSPL during A dinner cruise on Sydney Harbour. Our congratulations to Berys. We know from experience that she seldom has a camera far away from her hands. We heard that she couldn’t make the next lunches, but didn’t know the full details. We have tried to convince her she should take one or two of us with her, but no success. To say we are green with envy is putting it lightly. DID YOU KNOW …. ? The average Aussie street of 100 houses would contain: 10 kids under three, 45 dogs, 27 cats. There would be a marriage every nine months, a birth every 14 weeks, and a death every seven months. Small Talk We have many distinctly Aussie phrases, but the most popular is ‘no worries’ with 74 per cent of us using the tem regularly. I wonder what your favourite Aussie- ism is? AUSSIE FACTS The wettest town in Australia is Tully in Queensland. The town receives an incredible 4400mm of rain each year compared with Lake Eyre, our driest area, which receives just 100mm. 3 SICK LIST (Thanks to NSW Branch) PAT LAW (THOMPSON) WIN MAYNE (SMITH) HELEN RODDOM (SILLIVAN0 LYN MORRISON (CHRISTMASS) LEONE HANCOCK (WILSON) HELEN VIDLER (DOAK) PAT BRIEN (O’REILLY) JOY ROBERTS & JEN SHEILA VAN EMDEN BARBARA COHEN JAN JONSHON (CRUMPTON) MARGARET DONALD (GRAHAM) ANN GARLAND (ROSS) UNA COOPER (McCAULEY) ADDITIONS TO OUR MEMORY BOOK Vale MARION HAY (nee POWER) Marion lost her long battle on 12 February 2016. Marion was on Course 83, serving from 1958 t0 1968 as a Teleop, achieving the rank of Sergeant. She was a much loved member of the NSW Branch committee and gave valued support. ROSEMARY RYAN (nee McCOSKER) February 2016 WRAAF in the Equipment world from January to December 1961 “She had to leave the good life back then to take up the hard life as a RAAFie wife when she married Ashley (Jumbo) Ryan (deceased), an ex C130A loadie and Equip SGT at Edinburgh, Richmond, Butterworth and Fairbairn. WAAAF QX168613—CPL HINES, Rita (formerly Stokes, nee Gow) 04 Mar 2016 Found in ‘Mufti’ (RSL VIC DIV) MARY HOLMES Metung DOROTHY ALEXANDRINE JACK Box Hill AMELIA ALMA WATSON Tongala WE WOULD LOVE TO KEEP THESE TWO BOXES EMPTY, BUT LIFE BEING WHAT IT IS THAT IS WISHFUL THINKING. Still, we can only spread the news if you pass it on to us. HELP WANTED Correspondence has been passed to us from Belmont (Geelong)Victoria, requesting help. It says “I am a volunteer at the Queenscliffe Historical Museum, Hesse Street, Queenscliff, Victoria. A badge was found on the back beach at Queenscliff and handed to the museum. It has obviously been in the sand and sea for a long time. It is a Saint John Ambulance badge, engraved W.R.A.A.F. W316626 Laraine Barkley—300440, and I assume probably presented to Laraine when she joined the WRAAF. We would like to trace Laraine or any family members to let her know of this find, or obtain more details.” I have had this message for at least six weeks now, and knowing that my source will have spread the news far and wide through her own contacts, Laraine or a family member may have been found, but in case they haven’t had success maybe you can assist. If you can offer any help please contact R.W. Hodgetts on 03 5243 6637 or even the museum directly. 4 VICTORIAN BRANCH MAIL EMAIL PRESIDENT — June Gospel (nee Hoy) Brenda Douglas victorian.exwraaf@gmail.com SECRETARY —- Ann Steele (nee Dodds) 41 Bourke Crescent EDITOR —- Brenda Douglas (nee Whiting) Hoppers Crossing Vic 3029 CONTACT US —— Some of you may remember the reports on the horrific bushfires in Western Australia (in the Harvey region) in January this year—what a terrible way to start the new year. The above was sent to me as a cutting from the ‘West Australian’ dated 26 Jan 16. it may be someone you remember from your RAAF life as it concerned a Bevan and Jan Delaney who lost their home when fire raced through Yarloop. In the picture above you see all that they were able to retrieve from the wreckage of their home after the fire had passed. According to the article Bevan spent 22 years in the RAAF (serving in Thailand, Malaysia and Darwin). The couple met in Darwin where Jan was also in the RAAF (ed’s note: this should have been WRAAF. Her maiden name was Ridgeway and she was on recruit course 100). Fortunately it appears they had sufficient warning to prepare to evacuate the town and managed to pack photographs, a computer and some clothes while they waited to make the final decision. Their worried sons convinced them that it was time to go. Bevan was born and raised in the town and thought that it was ‘the best place in the world to live’. His childhood home survived the fire. How often do we hear of bushfires being selective in which house or building they will burn? Regrettably I don’t have any follow up on this story, but maybe you do? We can only hope that Bevan, Jan and their families are recovering from this dreadful experience and that the whole community is passing through the terrible period of grief which is part of the ordeal and resuming a ‘normal’ life. I understand that the fellow-members of the Ubon Group have supported Jan and Bevan, at least in the early days. At the end of January a Town Meeting was held about the future of Yarloop and the consensus was that the town would be rebuilt. One of the leading-voices at this meeting was Andrew Forrest, a mining magnate and landowner in the region. In 2009 after the Black Saturday bushfires destroyed Marysville, here in Victoria, he was one who gave valuable assistance and support with the successful rebuilding of that town. THE NEXT LUNCHEON DATE: SUNDAY, 26 JUNE 2016 TIME: 1200 HRS VENUE: ALTONA RSL CLUB {CNR SARGOOD ST AND RAILWAY ST SOUTH} COST: APPROX $15.00—APPROX $30.00 (YOUR CHOICE FROM THE MENU—THREE COURSES AVAILABLE) DRINKS: BAR PRICES PARKING: PLENTY AVAILABLE TRANSPORT: RAIL STATION ADJACENT REMINDER: SENIORS TRAVEL FREE ON SUNDAYS Please do not forget to put your name down if you are going to join with us. Give June a call on 03 9741 5562 or Brenda on 03 9749 6068 before June 22nd. Sign of Old Age Several days ago, as I left a meeting, I desperately gave myself a personal search. I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets. A quick search of the meeting room revealed nothing. Suddenly I realised I must have left them in the car. Frantically, I headed for the car park. My husband had scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition. My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them. His theory is that the car will be stolen. As I scanned the car park I came to a terrifying conclusion! His theory was right. The car park was empty. I immediately called the police. I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen. Then I made the most difficult call of all. “Hello MY Love”, I stammered. I always call him “My Love” in times like these. “I left the keys in the car, and it has been stolen.” There was a period of silence. I thought the call had disconnected, but then I heard his voice. He barked, “I dropped you off!” Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, “Well, come and get me.” He retorted, “I will, as soon as I can convince this policeman I have not stolen you b….. car.” This is what they call, The Golden Years.