John Lester discusses the World War 2 service of his father Athol Frederick Lester in New Guinea, and his post-war life in Sydney. Athol was very politically active after the war and John reflects on this, talking about his father’s protests against not being allowed to drink in an RSL amongst other stories of his activism and work against racism and discrimination. Athol contracted malaria during the war and this badly affected his health later in life. Through Athol and his wife’s persistence he did eventually receive appropriate care and entitlements from the government on the basis of his service. ANZAC Day was very important to Athol and he marched in Sydney even when he was very ill. John also mentions his uncle Cecil Hinton who served in World War 2 and was a POW in Changi.
This interview took place on 12 March 2014 in Newcastle and was conducted by Professor John Maynard with Craig Greene as part of the Australian Research Council-funded research project Serving our Country: a history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the defence of Australia.
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