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The Canberra Yarn Up was held 15-16 December 2015 at AIATSIS, Acton, and wrapped up an amazing two years of travel and recording in every state and territory of Australia for the project.
Mick, Mary-Anne, Allison, Craig and Kate were kept busy over the two days hearing family histories of service from places as diverse as Shepparton in Victoria, Cape Barren Island in Tasmania and WW2 service stories from Queensland:
Fred Leftwich discussed his father’s 20 years of service, and the effect that this had on family as Fred’s father suffered from PTSD and alcoholism. Matt Trynes spoke about his service in the 4th Field Artillery in Townsville and later in the defence force as a public servant. Lyle Holt spoke to us about his service in the Navy and then Air force, and explained his career highlights in both combat and non-combat roles and his progression to a very senior position in the defence force. Tyronne Bell shared histories of his Ngunnawal relatives from the Yass area who served in both World Wars and the Boer War.
Many other participants shared their stories with us here in Canberra over the life of the project, including Gaye Doolan who spoke to us in August 2014 about her service in the Women’s Royal Australian Navy Service from 1968, and the service of her father Tasman Holt in World War 2 in Borneo. In the same month, Edward Bailey spoke to us about his time in the air force in Townsville in the 1990s, including why he enlisted and his experiences with racism.
In December 2014, Pattie Lees spoke to us about her service with the Navy, the path that led to that service, and her later life. This was one of a number of interviews conducted in Canberra alongside our major conference Defending Country: Sharing Stories of Aboriginal and Torres Islander Service.
In September 2015, Dennis Anderson spoke to us about his service in the Air Force, and his experiences including the dangerous but rewarding work he undertook managing and transporting explosives, and his pride in doing that work well.