Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Dear Folks

Another Christmas Day has dawned, warm and sunny although today is going to be quite a lot cooler than the last 4-5 Christmas days.  As usual you are both very much in my thoughts this morning as are Len and Jean too.  I know we were a very small family but I have such happy memories of my youth. Right now we would be staying at Mandurah House and enjoying the company of the people that stayed there year after year at Christmas and Easter.  I think we did that each year from when I was 8 till I was about 20.  They were wonderful times but I now realise why we never decorated a tree at home nor did we have decorations.  We just weren't going to be there!!  It took me a few years as an adult to get used to doing Christmas in my home.  It still feels somewhat strange at times, even after all the years that have passed.

We are going to K & B's this afternoon for an easy, light evening meal.  All the family will be there..C & M and their two beautiful little girls; A and her partner C and of course not forgetting lovely CT who is now 17 and has left school.  We are not sure yet of what she will do in her future but we have high hopes for her. B is of course now living in Alaska and we have sent greetings to them all.  They will likely enjoy a snowy Christmas.  L should also be there.  It was his birthday last week; he is now 31.
With the little ones it is still great fun watching them open their gifts with lots of excitement.

The main reason we are going to Kelmscott is K had a knee replacement last week.  She is doing quite well and B is of course looking after her like the great husband he is.  She and I are so fortunate in having two great people who care so much and give so much of themselves.  Of course if K gets tired during the day she can pop on her bed and have a rest.  We are all taking food so hopefully she will not overdo it but somehow I don't think she will.  She has been following order and doing exercises and all you are supposed to do after such an operation.

Oh well, must go.  Have a few things to do to be ready to drive up there this afternoon.  I did wonderfully well this year and had gifts bought and mainly wrapped a couple of weeks ago but ran a little late sending out greeting cards but eventually got them all done, just in time.

Merry Christmas to you both with love xxxxxx

Sunday, November 17, 2013


Hi Mum

I was going through some very old photographs yesterday and I came across this one of you taken sitting at a desk in the Citizen's Advice Bureau in Murray Street, Perth.

I know that wasn't actually your desk (as you had your own office) but the photos were taken for a journalist who was writing an article for The West Australian or The Sunday Times (I forget which now) newspaper about the Citizen's Advice Bureau which you first started in 1962.  I recognise Muriel Haning (on the left) who was your loyal secretary until your forced retirement as CAB Director after that fearful accident in 1973 when you were nearly killed by that wayward car driver.

I remember you actually began the CAB in a tiny office in what was one of our largest department stores, Boans (long ago taken over by Myer who decided not to continue with the household name we all knew so well), when Mr Harry Boan thought the idea of a Citizen's Advice Bureau based on those in England would be a good idea for our city.  Nobody could imagine how well the idea would take off and yet you developed it into what it has become today.

I think people doubted whether the CAB would be able to continue in Perth without your leadership, but thrive it did and you would be so pleased to know there are now branches throughout Western Australia.  There are five branches in the metropolitan area and also four in the country, as far away as Albany, Busselton, Bunbury and Mandurah.

I am so proud of you for all the wonderful social welfare work you did over many years and this is certainly one of which I am extremely proud because of the wonderful assistance it gives to people.

You may be interested to know that I was invited to a luncheon held in a Perth hotel several years ago (just because I was your daughter would you believe and had information about the formation of the CAB they were pleased to have) to celebrate some anniversary (perhaps 40 years?) of the CAB.   I asked Karen to come along as my guest as she loved you so much and was also very proud of you. When we went in would you believe we were ushered to the table at the front of the room where the VIPS were seated.  It was a wonderful lunch and they asked me to draw the raffle they were holding to raise money.  Hats off to you Mum.

Love you always
    x x x x x

Tuesday, October 8, 2013


Hi Dad

It is 128 years today since you were born within the sound of Bow Bells in London, England and 42 years since you silently slipped away from us.

There is rarely a day that passes when I don't think of you, but my thoughts of you are extra special today.  How thankful I am that owing to your ill health, following a bout of the Spanish flu following WW1, you were told by the doctors to move to a warmer land.  You left a beautiful home and a very good job to emigrate to Western Australia to take up farming.  If you'd not made that decision I would never have met you and mum.

I am always so grateful that you both decided you'd like a baby daughter (you already had a son of nearly 21 whose mother had died when he was little) and it was me that you chose to be that daughter. You may have had some Victorian ideas but you were a fantastic father and looked after me so well. In fact you both did and I know at times you probably went without to give me a good life and a good education for which I have always been very grateful.

I was always sorry I didn't see more of you when my two children were young but that decision was taken out of my hands by mum's actions. We won't go into that now but it was a sad time in my life.  It was wonderful that we resumed our relationship in later years and my kiddies got to meet their grandfather.  You were always so good with little ones and I regret my two didn't know you when they were small.

Your photo is up on the mantlepiece today; not that I need to see it to be reminded of you but just to give you pride of place on your special day.  I feel so close to you today.

Love from your daughter xxxx

Sunday, September 22, 2013


Hi Dad

You are probably the only person who will understand what I'm talking about here but it's just between you and me really anyway isn't it?  East Perth played in the WAFL Grand Final today.....and lost!!!  I had high hopes they might win another flag but it was not meant to be.  They began the year quite badly but picked up steam half way through the season and were looking good.

Never mind, hopefully they will improve next year and who knows?  Another appearance in the Grand Final.  We can only hope.

It was a wet and windy day in Perth today but there were over 20,000 watching the game at Subiaco Oval which was quite good in such bad weather.  The AFL has kept the crowds away from WAFL games over past years which is such a pity.  Progress it is called and I suppose it is, really.

Mum would have been pleased as West Perth are now this year's premiers.  I never worked out why she decided to follow West Perth but somehow I think it was to create a bit of rivalry in the camp.  We used to enjoy having a go at each other about the two teams....just a lot of fun.

I've not been to a football match for many a long year now but I used to enjoy sitting or standing on the bank yelling for my team.  Dreams of times long ago eh Dad?  They were good times.

Love you

Sunday, September 8, 2013


Dear Mum and Dad

The Federal election was held yesterday and after 6 years of a Labor government (one that had a lot of infighting and conniving going on) you would both be delighted that we now are back to having a Liberal government; at least for the next 3 years (and beyond I would hope)

I think you would both approve of our new Prime Minister.  He is a very good family man and works hard in the community as well.  He keeps very fit and is involved in surf life saving and volunteer bushfire work as well.  He is religious, which perhaps Dad wouldn't worry you, but you Mum would probably approve of that although his religion is different to yours.  I feel he is a good man and will be a good leader.

For some reason many people didn't seem to like him (and still don't from what I've been seeing on social media) and yet it appears sufficient people approved of him to elect him so he can form a government.  We can only hope he forms a good and reliable one that can work well with the Opposition and the Senate and bring stability back to our country.

Times are not easy in the world of today with many economic problems and civil wars in middle eastern countries.  There are lots of refugees from those countries trying to find a new and safe place to live.  I actually fear for the future of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren as their world is going to be so vastly different to the world I grew up in, regardless of the Great Depression and World War 2. We got through them and in many ways I think it made us better people.  I am not sure that is the case any more.

Just wanted to keep you up to speed with what is happening in our world of today.

Love to you both

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Hi Mum

I know I am getting old but since I turned 80 it seems to be happening much more quickly.  I fear the spirit is still willing as ever but the flesh is just so weak.

I often think of you and how badly injured you were when that stupid car driver swung to the wrong side of the road and hit you outside your home way back when you were in your early seventies.  You weren't expected to live, but you did. You weren't expected to walk again, but you did.  Your right hip was so badly shattered they couldn't set it and you ended up with that leg several centimetres shorter than the other and yet you got around with the aid of your trusty walking sticks.

You eventually flew to Sydney to find out details about setting up a workshop for pensioners and the like and you came home and proceeded to set up such a place which is thriving still (Beehive Industries).  We were all so proud they named Ruston House after you.  You deserved the accolades that were spoken on the day the building was opened.  If only you had lived to see it happen.

You were living on your own and yet you managed so well despite everything.  Here I still have Phil with me and he is wonderful and so helpful but because I have problems getting around and even getting things done now I get so downhearted.  I just wish I had some of your get up and go which never seemed to leave you no matter what.

I realise now how much pain you must have been in and yet you didn't complain, or at least not to us, and of course we, being so much younger then, didn't realise how bad it must have been for you at times.  You were always such an independent person and never asked us to do very much for you and I feel I need to say how sorry I am that we didn't do more.

I badly need some of your strength of purpose so I can get on with things that are crying out to be done. I am sure we will get there eventually but progress seems oh, so slow.

I feel you are so close at times and I wish I could sit and have a quiet talk as we once did.

Love you as much now as I always did.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Dear Mum and Dad

Do you remember when Len was on loan as an aerial photographer to the USAAF in Darwin in 1943 and they had to make a crash landing after that air raid on the Borneo oil fields held by the Japanese when they were chased off course by Japanese fighters?  Well, I was browsing the internet the other day and would you believe I found a website which told the whole story.  There were even photographs and I remember you having photos too but for some reason I don't have them.  Did you, Mum, perhaps give them to someone else in the family?  The main photos I remember were the crew of the "Shady Lady" and the one where the crew and the aborigines that came to their aid were standing beside the crashed plane:

If I remember correctly that is Len on the far left of the above picture leaning on the engine of the plane.  I noticed on the website you can obtain copies of photographs so perhaps I will try and do just that as it would be great to have them for the family album.

The story tells of how they set out at 05.00am on 13 August, 1943 from Fenton Airfield south of Darwin on a bombing mission against the oil refineries at Balikpapan (I have confirmed that was in Borneo).   The B24 was armed with six 500lb bombs and overloaded with fuel.  At the time, this was the longest bombing mission of the war that would cover a total of 2,700 miles.

"Shady Lady" was the last bomber to arrive over the target, as the results of the raid had to be photographed (by Len of course).  On the return trip the bomber encountered thunderstorms which blew the plane off course and forced them to overly Timor and they were intercepted by two enemy fighters that attacked for over two hours and most of the machine guns were inoperative.  Evading the fighters also consumed precious fuel.  (That bit about the machine guns doesn't sound very good).

Extremely low on fuel the bomber force landed onto the tidal salt flats on the Anjo Peninsula, near Drysdale (now Kalumburu) Mission and during the landing the nose gear collapsed and the nose turret fell off.  The crew was unhurt "aside from the "Australian Ruston" who suffered minor injuries".  (From what Len told us they had all gathered at the rear of the plane as it was considered it would be safer but when the plane nose collapsed they all slid down to the front and Len ended up under the pile of men and suffered a bloody (if not broken) nose.

The crew fortunately all survived and used their radio to contact Darwin, and the next day three aboriginals arrived at the crash site and took the crew towards water to the southeast.  Eventually the Drysdale mission lugger travelled down river to the crash site and transported the crew to the airfield at Napier Broome Bay and then trucked back to Drysdale Mission.

The plane was repaired and flown back to Fenton airfield and then on to Garbutt Airfield near Townsville but despite extensive efforts to repair the bomber it was salvaged for parts and then scrapped.  Officially, the bomber was written off the day of the crash landing on 14 August, 1943.

I know I was only 11 at the time but I remember clearly Len telling us about it when he came home on leave but he didn't tell us many of the details I have just learned about.  I do remember him telling us that the American airmen were awarded a Purple Heart each for their part in this particular air raid but as he was an Australian he couldn't be awarded this honour.  Instead he received a personal letter from General McArthur thanking him for his part in the mission.  I often felt that meant more to him than had he received a medal.

All I know I was so glad my brother survived to tell the tale and I was excited to read so much about an event of which he was so much a part.

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Dear Mum

Another Mother's Day and again I think of you and so many of my friends who were mums who are no longer with us.  I miss all of you but life takes some and leaves others and we will never know why.

This morning we popped up to K & B's for morning tea.  AM was there with her fiancee CD and daughter CT and it's always great to see them.  K & B have a new outdoor setting under their new patio and it is all looking really good.

They have some cimbidium orchids in bud (just one flower open so far) which made me think of when you grew them at Joondanna.  We have never had much success with them for some reason so decided they were not for us.  We do well with other plants but just not orchids which is disappointing.

Their back garden is really very pretty now and the front lawn is coming good too.  B puts it down to the reticulation they had put in a year or so ago.  It has certainly made a big difference to their garden and of course there is so much less work to do changing sprinklers etc.

We came home and had a light lunch and put our respective feet up for an hour or two.  We both tend to tire easier these days which I guess is to be expected at our age.  P is fortunate as he can nap easily but I have always been the same and unable to sleep in the daytime so no nanna naps for yours truly.

Not much more to report.  Just wanted you to know I was thinking of you today but then you are in my thoughts most days.  I guess birthdays and special days are that wee bit more special.

Love, as always

Monday, April 29, 2013


Hi there you two

Just thought I'd drop you a quick note about the BBQ on Saturday.  We went down to C & M's home to help celebrate AJ's first birthday.  She is of course their second daughter, and our third great-granddaughter.  (This makes her your great-great-granddaughter of!!).  The family is growing albeit slowly.

AJ had such fun opening her birthday gifts and was particularly interested in giving scraps of wrapping paper to her Dad.   We took some lovely photographs of her which I am sure we will all share around eventually.

You would adore this little girl.  She is a real character and was so good while we were there without a grizzle of any kind and Immy was good too and you could see she loves her little sister and told me she will read to AJ from the picture books she received for her birthday.

They were both dressed up and looked so beautiful.  There were 11 of us altogether at the table for lunch because of course BA is in Alaska, LEP was working as was AM's fiancee.    We all had a really enjoyable few hours together and I thought you'd like this photo I took of AJ and her cake with the one candle on it.   The reason there is movement in the cake is because she was a little too intrigued with the flame so for safety's sake it was whisked away quite quickly.  Immy blew out the candle for her and of course we all sang Happy Birthday followed by 3 cheers.

Bye for now

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Dear Mum

It was 116 years yesterday since you made your appearance into this world.  You were very much on my mind during the day and night too and, although it is now 28 years since I said goodbye to you that January day in Royal Perth Hospital, you are still very much with me each and every day.

The other reason I had you so much in my thoughts yesterday was because it was the anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic.  I have always remembered you telling me you were in church that day (in England) and it was your 15th birthday.  The Minister was given a message and he then announced to the congregation the sad news about the loss of the Titanic.

I can only imagine the effect that news had on you and the others in that church on that Sunday morning as they thought of all those lives lost at sea.  It was something you never forget during your lifetime as I remember you speaking of it quite often.  It had so saddened you at the time.

We are both keeping as well as can be expected at our age and the family are OK.  Beth is enjoying life in Alaska and she has big plans ahead. You would adore our little great-granddaughter AJ who will be one year old next week.  She is walking now and is a real trick.  Immy attends school full time now and is in pre-primary and doing really well.  She loves to sing and dance and has a great imagination.  C & M are fortunate in having two really terrific daughters.

Did I tell you that Aimee is now engaged and intends to marry next year?  Chris is a very nice fellow and I feel they will be happy which is wonderful.  She deserves more happiness in her life. Caitlyn is in her last year at high school and learning quite a lot about the hospitality industry which she seems to enjoy.  She is a real delight and it's always great to see her.

Must run,
Love you still

Monday, March 25, 2013


Hi folks

As we near Easter each year I always think back to those wonderful holidays we used to spend at Mandurah for years from when I was about 8 till I was 20.  Our Christmas holidays were also great but Easter was different because of the yachting carnivals held on the estuary back then.  The weather was cooler too which made it a little more enjoyable although it was sometimes a wee bit too cool to swim.

Do you remember when I was 16 I bought my own little yacht (a v-jay) and we took it down to Mandurah one Easter and it was so windy that nobody else would go out on the water.  I took my boat out with Peter W and I remember having so much fun.  We capsized several times but, as is the case with the smaller yachts, we just stood on the centre plate and righted the boat again and sailed on.  I often think back to that and have a good laugh about it.

It was wonderful to be young back then.  There was always so much to do and we were never, ever bored.  Alcohol was not a large part of our lives (you were both virtually teetotal anyway) as we didn't seem to need stimulants of any kind but just enjoyed being alive.

Next Sunday we are going to the family in Kelmscott and of course with great-grandchildren now Easter becomes an exciting time once again as there is sure to be an egg hunt for Immy and next year AJ will probably also be involved in that as by then she will be nearly 2 years old.

You would both love Caitlyn and two these little ones and I often sit and imagine you all together and how much pleasure you would derive from watching them.   They are good kids, all to be very proud of.

We will enjoy ourselves and I will be thinking of you both.  Although I have to watch my intake of chocolate these days because of the diabetes and my weight I will have a small portion for each of you or that will be my excuse anyway.

Love to you both

Friday, March 8, 2013


Hi there Mum

Today is International Women's Day and as I and many listeners to 6PR were thinking of women who to them were inspirational I of course thought of you.

 I decided to put your name into Google (sorry but you wouldn't know what that's all to do with computers and finding information very easily) and up came this website with a brief story of your life.  As I've spoken about you on my every day blog I decided I'd include the website so that others could read about you and I hope they do.

You certainly were a woman and a half in so many ways.  Always a refined lady and always helpful to others and a great mother to me (and to your stepson Len who adored you).

What better day than today to be thinking of you and thank you for everything.

Love to you

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Hi there folks,

Today I am feeling very down and not just for me.  K+B have been burgled once again.  Yes, the second time in only a few months.  Not the same people as before according to the police but another two useless idiots who decided they needed money for drugs perhaps.  Who knows what goes on the minds of these imbeciles?  I could and have used much stronger terms when talking about how I feel about these felons but I know neither of you would appreciate me using bad language so I won't.

More heartbreak in the loss of precious items.  More insurance claims for K+B.  Higher excess on insurance policies.  Broken window to be repaired.  Broken door to be repaired.  Police say not likely they will be caught.  Neighbour saw the thievess leaving and the rotters actually waved!!!  Car possibly stolen anyway or they will change the number plates.

K+B are taking it very well considering.  Much better than I am but then I was never used to this type of thing happening when I was young.  Our home was burgled about 25 year ago and the place was in a mess but only a bit of money was taken as the police were sure it was kids from a neighbourhood home for delinquents.  Still felt annoyed but not at all threatened and we soon put everything back where it belonged.  What has happened to my daughter and her hubby is so different.

The city I loved so much when I was young has certainly been stolen from me.  Back then we didn't lock our houses or our cars (cars usually didn't have locks back then anyway).  We slept on our front verandahs without fear of being molested.  We would open our doors to anyone with no thought of being attacked.  If we heard a noise it was usually the dog or cat coming indoors.  We would walk anywhere day or night and not think twice about it.

I tell these things to the young of today and I honestly don't think they believe me but it is all so true.
Now morons on drugs or perhaps in debt desperately need money and will do anything to acquire it including violating people's homes or even their person.  I am truly beginning to feel I have seen good times during my 81 years, wonderful times but they are no more.  We have security doors and windows that are always locked.  We do worry if we hear an unexpected noise.  Our age would not deter anyone from robbing us or attacking us if we put up a fight or even hurting us just for the sheer fun of it.

I won't go on and on and I am sorry to use this letter to talk about the sadness I feel but just had to express my feelings about the world of today compared with the world of yesteryear.

By for now
Love you both so much still

Friday, February 1, 2013


Hi Mum

Do you remember that delightful little baby girl born way back in 1973?  Well she is now 40 years of age and it makes me feel quite old having a granddaughter of that age.

Yesterday Phil and I, with other members of the family, got together at lunch to help Christie celebrate this milestone.....yes, I always think when you reach the '10' years it is a special milestone in one's life. 

This eldest granddaughter has achieved much in her lifetime and is now the mother of two really beautiful little girls of her own.  Immy will be 5 in 11 days time and AJ is now 9 months.  Christie works from home as she runs a very successful blog talking about bringing up chidren.

Oh, of course you have no idea what a blog is.  Nor the internet for that matter.  Now how do I, someone not really up on all this technological stuff, explain all this to you?  You would remember what a computer is as you spoke of them way back then in the 1950s/1960s thinking, as many did, that they would perhaps cause mass unemployment.  I don't think this has been the case and in fact they seem to generate so many problems overall that people have to be there to sort those problems out.

Anyway to simplify the explanation, we can now communicate with each other all round the world, not only by typing messages but also using our computers to speak on the phone on a system known as Skype. 

Christie began blogging about early childhood several years ago and has in fact won two Asia/Pacific awards for her blog which shows how successful she has been.  She managed all this while caring for not only her home and husband, but caring for and raising two little ones.

Mum, I know you were always proud of your grandchildren and I only wish you were here at times as you would be delighted with the adults they have become.  We are very proud of them too.

Will pop in and chat again soon.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Hi Mum

Here we are going through yet another extremely hot summer which yours truly does not and never has enjoyed.  Phil is also finding it more difficult to cope with the heat now he is older.  We do what we can when we can and thanks to the airconditioning which has decided to behave itself and work for us, we are managing to keep cool.

People in our eastern states are faring much worse with horrible bushfires and loss of property but no loss of life directly from fires, although one poor Victorian fireman did die when in Tasmania helping the fire service there.  He was 61 and poor man didn't make it back home.  Some of the fires in NSW had been started by lightning but others had been deliberately lit.  I still can't get my head around the fact that anyone, regardless of their age, could go out and deliberately light a fire which in turn could cause the loss of property or, worse still, loss of life including animals.

Thinking of more pleasant things this afternoon I picked up your book again.  I do this every so often just to refresh my memory about the events of your life and it never fails to amaze me what a wonderful woman you were from a very early age.

I was reading about how you met and married dad and your experiences in London during WW1.  You almost make it sound like fun and yet I know how frightened you and others must have been at times with the bombing that took place.

I've always been so sorry that dad broke off all connection with his family and friends in England and had no communication with any of them once you arrived in Australia.  My curiosity has always been aroused as to why but it is one conundrum that will never be answered.  Oh, how I hate that but I don't think you ever really told me what had happened either.  Perhaps you didn't really know.  Reading between the lines of your book I'd say he had let somebody down rather badly and was perhaps thought rather less of by those near to him.  I always knew him as a wonderful father so will never think very bad thoughts of him.

I was reading excerpts of your book out to Phil, mainly about the Sugar Commission and the importance of sugar to the war effort during WW1 and it made us begin to talk about wars and the dreadful things that happen to people because of the conflict involved.  There are still millions in the world today involved in some type of conflict whether it be political or religious or both and I always feel so helpless at not being able to do anything about people hating and killing each other.  Life to me is so precious, especially now I am aged, that I find it hard to understand why.  There's another why I can't answer so with that thought it's time I said au revoir.

Talk again soon