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The Serving Our Country Yarn Up team decided to ‘go west’ in September 2015. To hear as many stories as possible in this massive state, we split into two recording teams.
Allison Cadzow and Mary Anne Jebb headed to Albany, while Noah Riseman, Mick Dodson and Craig Greene based themselves at Kuditj Café in Perth, recording oral histories with Len Ogilive who served in Korea and Frank Mallard who served in Borneo, Malaysia and Vietnam. Margaret Culbong, whose brother Ken served in Korea, and her brother Len who served in Vietnam also spoke with us. She discussed their work as leading activists for their people and her involvement with Honouring Indigenous War Graves. William Hayward spoke to us about his extensive family history of service through the Farmer side of his family. Seven of his uncles served in World War 1, World War 2 and Korea. Glen Stasiuk also discussed the Farmers’ history of service, and his research and documentary making about the service of Aboriginal people in the defence forces.
After returning to Perth from the Albany Yarn Up, Allison and Mary Anne spoke with Sue Gordon who served in the WRAAC in the 1960s about the service of her fellow Sister Kate’s Home residents in Korea and Vietnam. We then drove to Mandurah to meet with Ron Ralph who told us about his brother Sydney who served in New Guinea in World War 2, and his uncle Arthur who also served and was a Prisoner of War in Japan. Some of Ron’s most vivid memories of his brother’s service are of the letters and photographs that he sent home while he was away. Sydney attended Anzac Day with his fellow soldiers, and Ron continues to attend on his behalf.