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The Tweed Heads Yarn Up was held 22-25 April 2015, with over 20 interviews conducted at the Minjungbal Aboriginal Cultural Centre & the Tweed Heads RSL.
We spoke to many veterans including Victor Slockee who served in Vietnam as did his brother, and Malcolm Terare who spoke to us about his experience in the Navy in the 1970s. Other servicemen and women we spoke to included Doris Follent who told us about her service as a nurse in the Australian Army from 1963 for four years where she rose to the rank of Sergeant, and Denis Smallwood, who discussed his 12 years in the army including active service in East Timor and Iraq. Reuben Chadburn spoke to us about his service including his time in Malaya during Konfrantasi, and Clarence Williams discussed his service in the navy from 1959 to 1971, including service during Konfrontasi and the Vietnam War, Clarence completed an apprenticeship with the navy and was a head engineer by the age of 22. Claude McDermott spoke to us about his son Shannon’s service in the army more recently in East Timor, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Jackie McDonald and Trish Borg spoke to us about their research on the ‘Men from Solomon’s Row’ in Murwillumbah who enlisted and served in World War 1, including Trish Borg’s grandfather and Jackie McDonald’s great uncle who both served at Gallipoli. A close relation of Jackie’s, Chick Booka also spoke briefly about his connections to Solomon’s Row, and in her second interview, Jackie McDonald discussed the service of her grandfather and a number of his brothers who all served in World War 2, and her brother who served in the Navy during the late 1960s.
We also spoke to Joyce Summers about her father Charlie Morgan’s World War 1 service in France, and Geoffrey Togo about his ‘Aunty Sal’, Thelma Slockee, who was a nurse in the Australian Army. So too, Joyce Frater, joined by her daughter Erica Eurell and Jackie McDonald, spoke about her Great Uncle Curtis who served in World War 1 and other cousins who served in World War 2. Mary Browning was joined by her daughters Christine Morgan and Marcia Browning who spoke to us about the World War 2 service of Mary’s husband Noel and other family members who served including Sam Browning in World War 1. Robert Appo also spoke to us about the service of his father Raymond as a conscript and forward scout in Vietnam, and his post-war life back home, and Ruth Conlan spoke to us about her father Arthur, who signed up when he was 18 and served in the 9th Battalion in New Guinea and the South West Pacific between 1942 and 1946. James McDermott discussed the service of his father Claude McDermott who was captured and held for 3 and a half years as a POW in Changi in Singapore during World War 2. James talked about the incredible pride he and his whole family have in Claude’s service for Australia, and James marches every Anzac Day wearing Claude’s medals.
Minjungbal Museum kindly gave us recording space at their centre and hospitality, while the local RSL assisted us with recording space out of regular hours too.