Brisbane Yarn Up

Mick Dodson and George Anderson

Mick Dodson and George Anderson

Brisbane Yarn Up

2nd April 2014

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Arriving at the Murri Ministry straight from Brisbane airport, we were greeted by people ready to share their stories and photos with us.

Some people came all the way from Cherbourg to talk with us – an impressive 3 hour driving effort!

We recorded video histories with Veterans including George Anderson who spoke about his time in the Vietnam War as a conscripted soldier, and with former servicemen and women including Tracey Hoffman who spoke about her time in the Navy as a nurse in peacetime operations and the professional satisfaction and rewards of Navy travel and work including many cross-cultural experiences and challenges. Similarly, Noel Summers spoke to us about his six years in the Navy from around 1958. Noel enjoyed the Navy, particularly the travel around Asia, and later in life became involved in community work, including organizing a community march in Logan to help foster greater recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander defence service. Elgan Leedie and his father Simon Leedie discussed their family’s history of service with us, and Elgan recounted his own years in the Australian Army. Simon’s uncle joined the Army during the First World War, dying at age 23 in Belgium. Elgan joined the Australian Army in the early 1980s, served with 2nd/4th Battalion RAR in Townsville, and as a regimental policeman in Darwin, before leaving the regular Army to join NORFORCE in which he served 14 years and rose to the rank of sergeant.

We also spoke with family members with amazing photos and information on their relative’s service throughout the 20th Century including Estelle Sandow, Melita Orcher and Hazel Fisher. Colleen Hurley and Iris Paulson also spoke to us about family members who had served, in particular their grandfather Frank Fisher who served with the Light Horse in the Middle East during World War 1, and Vera Hill spoke to us briefly about her brother, Dennis Wilmot, who served in the Army in the late 1950s. So too, Helen Akee spoke to us about her father’s service with the Torres Strait Islander Light Infantry Battalion during World War 2.

Returning to Brisbane in July 2014, we spoke to Gladys Waters who described her husband Len Waters’ life during the 1970s. Len was a World War 2 fighter pilot who left the air force in 1946. Merle Cashman also spoke to us about the service of her father Donald Enoch in New Guinea in World War 2. Donald joined up because he felt he had to defend his country but returned from war mentally scarred. On this trip we also spoke with Belinda Pocock and her aunt Hilda Prince in Ipswich, who spoke to us Phillip Prince, Hilda’s father, and Belinda’s grandfather, who served in World War 1 and his son Stan who served in World War 2.

We also spoke to Vietnam veteran Claude Malone in July 2014 who served as a combat engineer. Based at Nui Dat, Claude’s work included clearing landmines and defusing unexploded bombs and mortars. Claude explains the ongoing health issues he has had since Vietnam, the mental scars of his service and the difficulty he had returning from war to civilian life. Claude also discusses how in recent years he has become more involved in Anzac Day services, now that both Vietnam and Aboriginal veterans are better acknowledged and included in commemorations.

In 2010, Linda McBride-Yuke spoke to Noah Riseman about her father Lambert McBride who served in World War 2 and her brother Bill who served in the Navy for about 30 years from 1972.

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