AN EXCERPT FROM
AN For a young boy, as the War years went on, reality and fantasy went
hand in hand. As I heard of our victories, I day-dreamed of being at the head of our Military forces, throwing grenades and
leading bayonet charges. I sank dozens of battleships from my submarine that was always under attack. And I lost count of
the squadrons of Messerschmitts that I sent spiralling from the sky. Needless to say, I was
awarded a lot of medals and, as I got a bit older, earned the plaudits of quite a few pretty girls.
But, mixed in with
all this romance were some more analytical thoughts. Every day, once the battles got going, I would go to the newspapers’
maps of where the battlelines currently were. One for the Western front, one in North Africa, and a third in Russia. Later, another in the Pacific. Then I would examine them minutely to see just how
far we had moved, backwards or forwards. I read all the reports, true and false,
and gloated when it was said we were winning, and shrunk away from our losses.
. . . . And finally, when war did come, and grind on, year after year, what effect did
it have back here in Australia? How did we as a society cope with a world that
just had to continue on, given that the sons and dads of the nation were actually being killed daily overseas? When the postman did his normal delivery and brought a letter saying your loved one is dead? What did we do when old jobs suddenly disappeared, and new ones were created a hundred miles away? When
goods, long readily available, were no longer for sale? When everything changed?
JAN: THE WAR IN FINLAND
OZ: PUNCH-UPS IN THE DOMAIN
FEB: OZ TROOPS ARRIVE IN EGYPT
OZ: FIRST WORRIES ABOUR PROPAGANDA
MAR: FINLAND FALLS
OZ: PRAYING FOR RAIN IS USELESS
APR: HITLER’S FUN IN NORWAY
OZ: COMMUNISM IN OZ
MAY: WAR ON THE WESTERN FRONT
OZ: THE DUNKIRK BOMBSHELL
JUN: BRITS ON THEIR OWN
OZ: MENZIES PASSES THE WAR BILL
JUL: THE BATTLE OF BRITAIN STARTS
OZ: SIR KEITH MURDOCH GETS A JUMPER
AUG: THE BATTLE HOTS UP
OZ: INTERNMENT OF REFUGEES
SEPT: THE LONDON BLITZ
OZ: MENZIES BACKS OFF
OCT: HITLER HAS
A BAD MONTH
OZ: MENZIES RETURNED – SO WOT?
NOV: BRITAIN BREATHES AGAIN
OZ: WILL WE RUN THE MELBOURNE CUP?
DEC: OZ FORCES WIN IN LYBIA
OZ: KEEP AN EYE ON JAPAN
EXTRA READING -- COMPLETELY OPTIONAL
YOU WILL NOT BE EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS
ABOUT THIS SERIES … But after that, I realized that I really knew
very little about these parents of mine They had been born about the
start of the Twentieth Century, and they died in 1970 and 1980. For their last 50 years, I was old enough to speak with a bit of sense. I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could
have found out about the times they lived in. But
I did not. I know almost nothing about them
really. Their courtship? Working
in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression?
Losing their second child? Being
dusted as a miner? The shootings
at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love
on the dole? There were hundreds, thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them. But, alas, I can’t. It’s too late.
prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that affected
people, real people. The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder
at things forgotten. The books might
just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that
oldies and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a
heritage otherwise forgotten.
they will spark discussions between generations,
and foster the asking and answering of
questions that should not remain unanswered.
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