Let the Tails/Tales Begin

George Bond’s tale of the BEAVERS FIRST RE-UNION JANUARY 1965

My memory of the event is a little hazy, but I do remember some of the people who attended.  Mike Churchin, Bodge Verney, Jacky Hardwick, Jimmy Irvine (RIP), George Bond and I would guess that there were another 15 or thereabout.

We arrived at Wagga the night before the reunion day; found ourselves beds in our old apprentice brick blocks; drank many cans of beer that night, apparently throwing the empty cans on the front lawns.  Next day we headed to the Advance Australia Hotel to attempt a 10 am to 10 pm session.  Sometime late that afternoon we decided to take Jacky Hardwick back to camp.  He was non-compus (very tired).  We got onto the base OK, put Jack to bed, we all had a clean-up ready to continue our session.  A civilian friend of mine from Sale was with us.  I was upstairs with Mike Churchin, Bodge Verney, Jimmy Irvine and others, when I heard some noise happening downstairs.  After a quick look-around, I realised my friend (civilian) Jeff was fighting with an apprentice.  After that occurrence I notified the boys that we should bolt.

While waiting downstairs I decided to clean up the empty beer cans from the night before.  Would you believe while doing so the Orderly Officer noticed me with beer cans in my hands.  Naturally he asked me what I was doing, naturally I told him that I was cleaning up some mess left by others.  He was obviously in doubt about my sobriety and motives, so he parted my ID card from me and said to stay there until he returned.  Why he left his car parked near me and walked to the SGT'S Mess has got me stuffed.  I went back upstairs and told the Beavers what had happened and appealed to them to get their sweet little arses off the base immediately.  NO, NO, it may be a better idea if we disable the Orderly Officers car.  Not a wise move!!! Who's ID card does the Orderly Officer have in his possession, "all the bullshit in the world was not going to allow me to explain to the Orderly Officer that all of his car tyres deflated by an engineering term called "spontaneous deflation" attributed to a phenomenon only associated with atmospheric conditions at RAAF Base Wagga.  He gave me the benefit of my technical confusion so we struck up a deal.  If we are off the Base in five minutes there would be no further action taken.

Bodge Verney took this message very seriously.  The Orderly Officer meant five minutes NOT FIVE SECONDS.  He did not say we could drive at 100 MPH.  After we were about to be nabbed at the guard gate, we discover that Bodge could drive in reverse at very high speeds.  After driving around the Officers married quarters and combining our strategies, we decided not to drive through the boom gate, we decided to drive very, very slowly and maybe the guards would not notice us, WRONG, WRONG.  After intense questioning (I am not allowed to say slapping as it is against the Geneva Convention) it was obvious we were headed for the slammer.  I always thought FSGT Bailey was a reasonable man; at about 10pm I was having doubts about my assessment of him.  To end a long story four Beavers were charged with:

·        being under the influence of alcohol;

·        assisting a group of RAAF personnel deflate the Orderly Officer's tyres;

·        etc, etc.

To be honest, I thought that we all were too pissed to deflate anything except our bladders.  The CO in his wisdom decided that it was too hard to prove that we were under the influence of alcohol, regardless of our constant attempts to convince him that we were pissed as parrots, drunk as skunks, molly the monk.  Not our CO, he wasn't going to be lied to again so he dropped the charge.  However, to this day I am not sure who actually let the tyres down.  Four Beavers get 14 days CB.

In his summary the CO stated that he wanted to discourage other intakes from coming back to Wagga and using the base as their home.  Our behavior may have been bad but our intentions were good.  George asks that any Beaver who can add to these details, to please do so.

and Mick Churchin's recollections of the event

I had actually forgotten about this incident until you sent me George's saga, and then it came back vividly to me.  George seems to have covered the details very well and there is nothing more I can add.

I managed to escape any disciplinary backlash as I think I'd gone to the dunny when the Orderly Officer appeared on the scene. I do recall though that I was horrified when I came back and noticed his car tyres had been let down --- I think George was trying to get him to look on the funny side of what happened !!!.  Everything sort of went downhill from there.

A tale about Peter Ashworth.

When in Butterworth in about 1967, Pete had an old Vauxhall car as the means of transport for him and his great mates at the time, Butch Hocking and Jim Feutrill, both from 14 course.  All of us singlies up there on Sabre aircraft at the time lived in the same block.  As singlees on Butterworth, our favourite watering hole was the Boatie (The RAAF Butterworth Yacht Club).  One night, these intrepid three were returning from the Boatie with more than a little booze on board and as they drove up the road to the base from the Boatie, they came up behind another singlee, one Bill “Slim” Machonachie, who was slowly weaving his way up the road on his bicycle. Pete, with some encouragement from Butch and Jim, drove up close behind Slim so that he bumped the rear wheel of the bike with the bumper bar of the car.  This provoked a waving fist, a curse and a glance over the shoulder by Slim to those in the car and great mirth amongst those in the car.  This was fun!  Another couple of bumps provoked the same response too much more hilarity in the car.  Finally, Pete bumped the bike too hard and Slim fell off and Peter drove straight over the top of him.  Luckily all Slim suffered were acres of missing skin, a couple of bruises and a wrecked bike.  The worst part for Slim (about 6’3” tall) was the scabs when formed a couple of days later, all hurt so much that for a couple of weeks after he couldn’t straighten his body or any limbs.  He crept around like a 5’ tall preying mantis and every time he saw Peter, shaking a fist at him and saying ‘#*&%$@#$ Ashworth, I’m gonna kill you” but even he can laugh about it now.

John Bone’s tale.

A small group of us, from memory, Mick Churchin, Kevin Esposito, Jim Irvine, Speedy Forknall, Dave Comber and me, in about 1962 had cooked up a plan that involved going over to the end of the runway after dark and laying down at the end of the strip to watch the civilian airline, an old DC3, take off towards and over the top of us.  Bloody magic, we all thought, and everything went great until one night, instead of taxiing up to the other end of the strip, the plane came straight towards us with it's landing lights shining brightly on half a dozen shit-scared Appys trying to dig as deep as possible into the ground behind the cone markers.

To no avail however, as in the distance we heard the sound of a fire tender bounding across the grass towards us.  I don't know who broke first, but we all soon ran across the airfield, over the railway line and fence into the adjoining farm, where the tender couldn't get us, and they gave up.

Much relieved, we were walking back through the pitch black night, when Espo tripped over a previously happily sleeping cow!

I think we gave it up after that

A Tale from John Gorrie

A tale I remember dates from Ubon days in Thailand and features both Ron Ramsay and Keith Every.  Dennis Stringfellow and Keith Row may have also been present.  A trip had been planned for a Saturday by those of us in 79Sqn to visit a statue of a Golden Buddha some 40 - 50 miles up country from Ubon.  Ron was one of the truckies in Base Sqn and he’d drawn the short straw to be the driver for the day.  It was also at the start of the Water Festival in Thailand, a time when you don’t go anywhere without expecting to be drenched with water and where you also go prepared to give as good as you get - all in good fun.  The trip was to leave at about 9.00am but when we were ready to leave, there was no sign of Keith Every and no one knew where he was so we waited for him.  At about 10.00am, Keith literally staggered in, just arriving home from a night in town on the turps and in no real state to go on the trip with us but he insisted and got on the truck as he was.  The trip soon turned into a nightmare for poor old Ron.  The weather was hot and vehicles at Ubon normally never did more that 5 or 10 miles at a time.  This time, some 15 miles up the track we came to a stop with a heat caused fuel vapour lock. That then persisted every 10 to 15 miles until Ron was able to wrap a rag around the line and soak it with water.  All the while Keith was in really fine form and annoying the life out of everyone and making a real nuisance of himself and like the rest of, imbibing more booze.  We eventually made it to the Golden Buddha and did our sightseeing and on meeting at the truck to go on to a lake for lunch, there was no sign of Keith.  Since his presence to that time had not been pleasant, no one wanted to look for him so we left without him.  After lunch, some sightseeing at the lake and refilling our rubbish bins full of water again for the return trip home, we set off down the road for Ubon.  While heading home we all thought that Keith would have to do some quick sobering up if he was to have any chance of getting back to Ubon in time for work on Monday.  We were all stunned when on arriving back at Ubon, there was Keith waiting for us, still the worse for wear and hell-bent on getting into us for going off and leaving him stuck up country from where he had to hitch hike back with some truck driver.  How he got back as quickly as he did in his condition and given the remote locality and language problem, I don’t think even Keith would know to this day.

A tale about ‘Sammy’ Walters

We all remember Kevin ‘Sammy’ Walters and his flying deeds at Wagga, i.e., the Chipmunk crash - not his fault, flour bombing us on our Bivouac, low flying and buzzing the Wagga beach and being grounded.  Well in the late ‘70s, I went gliding with an old ex-RAAF mate (Tom Gilbert for those who may have known him) at Camden airport and who was the tug pilot - none other than our Sammy!  Tom had also been at Wagga during the time of Sammy’s exploits but didn’t know him and had never associated his tug pilot with those events.  Sammy and I recognized one and other but, after his past, I thought he may have been flying under another name and wasn’t too sure how I should address him.  However, all was well, he wasn't using an alias and we had a good tug up and a good glide.  These days Sammy operates his own aerial spraying business in South East Queensland.

A tale from Mike Churchin

One hot Sunday summers day in our first year at Wagga, "George" Bond, me, "Bodge" Verney and a couple of other residents of Hut 107 North somehow came into possession of a dozen stubbies of VB beer.  After intense deliberation about where we should go to drink them we decided that the best place would be the haystack at the rear of the gun butts ---no one would find us there.

We climbed to the top of the stack (about four metres off the ground) and with our backs to the gun butt wall and a panoramic view of the living area we "got stuck into the grog".  Perhaps it was the heat of the sun or maybe that we were not seasoned drinkers but within about ten minutes we were all fast asleep.

Someone woke up eventually and roused the others.  It was pitch black and cold, and we obviously had missed dinner --- although none of felt the least inclined to food as we were experiencing our first hangovers.

We then discovered that George Bond was missing and on peering over the edge of the haystack saw him spread-eagled on the ground below -- how could anyone survive a fall of four metres without serious injury !!!  We scrambled down to the ground and found George still alive but moaning horribly.  We picked him up and started racing him to the sick quarters, when all of a sudden he threw up over us.

George then struggled free and started to abuse us terribly --- what sort of mates would throw a bloke off a high haystack and then when he was in the throes of a terrible hangover pick him up like a bag of spuds and bounce him along the ground at a fair rate of knots??

We then had a good look at George and found that apart from his vile temper he was unharmed.  They reckon that God looks after drunks but I reckon that afternoon when George decided to take a walk, He plus all the archangels were keeping a good eye on our mate.!!!.

We never went back to the haystack again to drink beer.

A tale about Warren Dickson

Some of you might remember that Warren Dickson was a fan of Phantom comics. Well he’s taken that a bit further these days and in recent years has been a contributor to the Phantom Diary that is produced commercially each year. Last year he did it on his own and was the publisher of the 2000 diary. This has seen him inducted in recent years, as a member of the Phantom Club of Australia.

Another tale from Mike Churchin

There was another incident involving George Bond and me that occurred six years after our graduation from Wagga and may also be of interest.

In mid-1967 I was serving at No 35 Sqn, Vung Tau (Caribous), in South Vietnam.  No 2 Sqn (Canberras) had recently been deployed to Phan Rang about 200 or so kilometres up the coast from our base.

My old mate, George Bond, was with 2 Sqn and I was keen to have a few beers with him.  I asked my boss if I could have some time off to jump on the weekly 35 Sqn milk run to Phan Rang, which left early in the morning and returned the next day --- he reluctantly agreed, but emphasised that I better be back the next day.

Well, the few beers turned into a bit of a marathon effort and about two in the morning I decided to call it quits and asked George if he had an alarm clock to wake me, as I had to be on the flight line at 0600 to catch the Caribou back to Vung Tau.  George said ---" No worries I will get one of the Airfield Defence Guards (ADGs) to give you a shake about 0500"

My next recollection is waking up with a thumping headache and the noise of Caribou engines starting.  Quickly dressing I raced to the flight line to see the Caribou disappearing towards Vung Tau.  It took me two days of flying in various USAF aircraft to get home and I walked straight into a Charge Form.  My punishment was two weeks on night duty crew.

On night when I had a spare minute I sent George a message asking him why I was not woken as promised.  George replied saying that there had been an incident with the Viet Cong trying to breach the perimeter fence and his ADG mate was otherwise engaged.  He added --- "never mind, next time you come I'll buy an alarm clock for you !!!

In graphic terms I told him what he could do with his alarm clock !!!


Mike Chuchin's reminiscing of Chester George

Poor old Chester, he was with us as an appy for only a short time, but I reckon I knew him as well as anyone.  The day we were sworn in at Rushcutters Bay in Sydney, we were given rail warrants and told to get on a train that left late in the day.  Chester, myself and some others (I think Randy, Jim Windsor and Peter Burman) had about four hours to spend and Chester suggested that we visit some of his mates so that he could say goodbye.

What we did was to visit pool halls in back streets which were populated by deadbeats --- they were Chester's mates alright and most of them gave him a farewell of ---"when you get paid send me the money you owe me, ya bastard".

When the time came to catch the train we walked up the ramp to Central Station and out of the blue a big flat-footed copper confronted us and said --- " I've had a complaint about you blokes swearing, now which one of youse is it?" I knew it wasn't me as I was a good Christian Brothers College boy, but then nobody else owned up either!!!

The copper said --- "I don't care how long we stay here, but we will until someone owns up " At this stage we had about five minutes to catch the train and I had visions of my Air Force career being very short lived.  Still none of the others stepped forward and furthermore, they didn't appear to give a rat's arse whether they missed the train or not.  Finally, in desperation I said to the copper -- " it was me."  He gave me the biggest belt across the ears that it lifted me off my feet and nearly deafened me.  The copper said --- " now piss orf and don't ever let me see you around here again "  We scrambled to the train just in time and what really pissed me off was that Chester and the others laughed like buggery at me for owning up !!!

The trip to Wagga was a real eye-opener for me as somewhere along the way Chester obtained a bottle of scotch and him and the others got pissed and raucous --- luckily we were in a dog box with no other passengers around.  I couldn't believe that these blokes were about the same age as me (15 years) yet they were miles more street-wise than was I.

However, the really funny incident with Chester happened previously, when we were going through our initial medical examination at Rushcutters Bay.  We had lined up in the medical room, Chester was first in line and I was second.  The Doc said --- " boys, I want you to come forward, turn around, drop your trousers, bend over and spread your cheeks".  Without hesitation Chester went forward, turned around, dropped his trousers, bent forward and stuck a finger in each side of his mouth, and SPREAD HIS CHEEKS !!! What a spectacle, the whole room fell about laughing and it was only the stern and loud intercession by one of the NCO Medical Orderlies that restored sanity.

Poor old Chester, it was a shame that he left Wagga so early as I'm sure he had a character that would have elicited many more funny stories.

NB: re the inclusion of Peter Burman in this tale.  Mike's recollections are a little out.  Pete Burman was a QLDer and came down on the train a day later.  JG can recall Pete B using a cut-throat razor to have a shave as the train rocked and swayed its way around the Hawkesbury River part of the line.  This was a time when, like most others, JG still hadn't started to shave and using a cut-throat razor would never have been contemplated and was totally mind-boggling.

Keith Every remembers Beetle Bailey

When first we arrived in Wagga, everything was very strange the entire system was some-what unknown, especially to a boy like myself of fifteen and a few months.  I didn't realise that a group of us could get around like a " bunch of pregnant prawns" and that we would be baited and yelled at by some ADI's who obviously couldn't treat their wives and kids like that at home.

But perhaps some of my fondest memories are of our after hours life, when we were not doing panics, being abducted by the Tulips to do theirs, or having to find my clothing for the endless kit inspections.  Although after all these years I can't remember the number of the hut that we lived in , we were all three flight and we had made it to the top of Greasy's flag pole a number of times.  In our hut resided some characters never to be forgotten amongst them were, Frip Brown; John West; Randy Stone; Johnny Rouse; Peter Maksymczuk (he came later), and others I am not trying to be rude to exclude.  One of the names that I haven't included in this list is Beetle Bailey, because he was one of the first dropouts, but it is Beetle that I am writing about.

Beetle always had his hair brushed back in the current fashion, short on top and long brushed back sides- it was called a 'duck tail' as I recall.  He had a beautiful mane and spent many hours in front of the mirror grooming himself with a curry comb.  The fact that Beetle obviously was proud of his hair didn't escape the attention of our ADI's.  Daily we were removed one by one from the ranks and taken to 'Bones the Barber', his only joy in life was shearing recruits and he was a happy man in those days.  Well this went on for some time- it seemed to us all that perhaps Beetle and Randy had something special going for them, but then Randy was dragged off one day leaving a Beetle a very glaring example to all of us of our former pride.  Then one day the ADI stopped behind Beetle, and said, "Beetle I think its time for a haircut."  Well Beetle was dragged forlornly from the parade ground and when we next saw him he looked like a spring lamb and a very sorry one at that.  Apparently he was taken to the barbers shop and made sit to await Bones's pleasure, who approached him from behind rubbing his hands gleefully- declaring, "I've been waiting for you".

Another time Beetle had bought himself a new electric heater and on those cold winter nights and days in Wagga, he could be seen sitting on the edge of his bed warming himself.  We were out one particularly cold evening and as we walked into the hut we could smell a fire and running to the end of the room ( where Beetles bed space was ) there sat Beetle reading a newspaper the bottom which was in flames, along with the shipping box for the heater in which he was in the habit of propping up the heater.

We all remember the church parades on Sunday mornings, we had been to the movies on Saturday night leaving Beetle at home reading and getting some beauty sleep.  When we returned at around eleven pm. the hut was in darkness and we were all undressing with our lights on and I guess not being too thoughtful of Beetle asleep.  After a while we heard " what time is it? ", one of us replied " It's eight o'clock Beetle, you'd better hurry, you're going to be late for church parade."  It took a few minutes of grumbling and the rest of us slowly redressing before Beetle gets up, wraps his towel around himself and heads out the door, remarking "how come it's so dark still?"  Everyone tore off their clothes, into pajamas and into bed, turning off the lights. Beetle returned about fifteen minutes later with "You bastards think you're smart don't you."

You know that I can't recall precisely when Beetle Quit- I know that it was within the first year. I have written these paragraphs not to belittle him, but to remind those who don't recall him, about how he was.




Graduation Day 1963

Three years it took us to get to that day
Boys from the bush and the city and coast
Finding new family in the group we became
Through study, and play and thirty-bob pay.

Raked gravel parade ground
Ringed with pine trees.
Practice and practice till perfect we grew,
Ready at last for the task we all knew

Out ninety-nine marched with chests so proud.
Eyes-right at quick march
And arms at the slope
Then Greensleeves, much slower the next turn about

That night at the Ball in hangar adorned
With colours and crepe and hopes partly borne
Papers awarded and honours bestowed
We finished three years and then all were gone.

But something else happened during those years
Bonds of mateship started as boys
Have endured and united us for decades that last
Till one is left standing with memories of the past.





Ray Ashton reminisces on first year

One of my recollections of that era was looking at the end of someone's thumb after it had hit the face of a 12" grinding wheel. Very much the appearance of a freshly cut onion, it had. Could have been Rap Paterson.  .(Warren Dickson has admitted that he is the star of this tale)


     Still on the topic of grinding, who was it tried short cutting the filing work on an aluminium block, and demolished the 8" bench grinder -wheel, guard, tool rest and shaft? All that, and no personal injury except a blanched face and a well kicked arse? (Apparently, Graham "Feathers" Peacock was the star of this little incident)

     That first year of basic fitting, with cocoa brought up from the mess when the temperature was umpteen below freezing, lives well in my memory box.

     Most would remember Greasy Lelliott's bicycle with its permanently flat tyres.

Another one from John Bone

It always comes as a bit of a shock to learn that another of us has died, and with Rocky Hill, who I'm pretty sure was a "Framie" that means we've lost three, Adrian Forknall(Speedy), Jim Irvine and now Rocky. Thinking back, we were pretty lucky to not lose a few more, one event comes to mind, which some may recall; it goes a bit like this; Dave Comber was learning to fly at Wagga Flying Club and we decided one weekend to rent the Piper Tripacer (VH-WFC) that he was flying and a few of us would go shooting on the property of a farmer that someone new. There was a small grass strip on his farm and apparently lots of rabbits, kangaroos etc, so we flew out and found the strip without to much trouble.  It went up one side of a small hill and down the other side, finishing at a fence with a good stand of gum trees on the other side. Dave made his approach correctly with a notch of flaps or two and touched down on the up-hill side and started to brake, only to discover that the grass was wet and the tyres had nothing to grab onto. Over the top of the hill we went and down the other side with the fence and trees getting bigger all the time.  Our pilot saved the day however, as he selected flaps up, applied full throttle and the little blue and white plane clambered her way back into the air. The trees rushed past just below us and we decided that shooting could wait for another day, and flew back to Forest Hill.  A post flight inspection revealed gum leaves caught in the undercarriage.  I can't recall who the others were, but Dave will remember.





By Waynie Poo

There’s blight upon the country, that’s really quite degrading

Invented by God and the bureaucrats to stop their jobs from fading

A nasty imposition that has now been put in force

It’s become an obligation to bloody retire of course.


There are courses by the hundred to improve your retirement education

It’s now become essential that you get financial accreditation

You will need that piece of paper or you’ll be in strife

The pot belly and grey hair you’ve been growing all your life.


Take retiring, that’s something I know least

For believe me, I have thought about this beast

From grandkids to mothers, I can handle with appropriate tension

How I wish for the old days before my pension


Just ask those who know me if I can communicate

From 2 year olds to mothers in law, I’ve tried to reciprocate

Now that I’m over the age of two score and ten

It seems in this new era that I have to learn again.


I’ve studied on grandchild care, learnt how to peel lollipops

Work shop health and safety, I’ve been to those workshops

From nappies to wrong foodstuffs is something I now understand the bull

For being a grandparent you learn how to be devious, and spoil in full


My business has been sold and is suffering because of general lack of care

He doesn’t do it my way so all my effort and ability seem to be in need of repair

You might think me lazy but that simply is not true

I would go to work tomorrow but there’s another golf course to do.


The wife would like to see me only for the lawn I have to mow

And she would like to get me to teach some flower to grow

My wife doesn’t miss me cause I’m always telling her how to disrobe

She usually then tells me there’s another golf course I need to probe


I miss those days of the old haystack behind the stop butts on panic nights

I wonder if the Tumbarumba express still flows through with all its might.

The drunken cat, Vampires on parade grounds will always be a memory to hold

I wonder what old Dexter would think of us now, if we ever told


This section is reserved for each Beaver to tell hisa own story of what happened to him after he left Wagga.  Edach Beaver has been asked to completet a 500 word brief on his own story since completeing the first three years of his engineering apprentice ship at RAAF Base Wagga Wagga.


Frank Argaet

Family:  Still very happily married since 66, two boys Bradley 27, Ian 24, both unmarried.  Brad has started his own small company specialising in Neuro Linguistics, (NLP),[fancy name for how you are and can be programmed by language]. Ian graduated last year with a BSc Aviation and is now going down the NLP track.  We are very proud of their achievements and credit them with only causing only a few grey hairs.

Elaine, wife, is still a course junkie and teaching permanently. She now is completing a Fine Arts degree specialising in photography; this is tied to the small photographic business she has started , mainly landscapes and nature. So far she has been very successful with two pictures hanging in the Sydney Maritime Museum, my part in this is to carry the bags, Why you ask, well I am waiting for the day when she gets a commission to photograph someone like EL. I can dream cant I. Me - after departing in 81, I had 12 mths building my keel boat called Yum Yum, named by Elaine because it kept gobbling up money. After launching I , like all males , started to get under Elaine's feet and she suggested I go to uni and get some other qualifications. Completed my Bed IA in 86 , joined the Dep't Education in 87, They told me if I want a job I had to 'GO WEST'  they forgot to tell me how far . Ungarie was the place in RED DIRT country a Central School catering for children from kindergarten to year 10 High School.

After three years teaching Industrial Arts to the HS students and due to Air Force training I was fortunate enough to be offered the Principals job at Tulligibeal 40 km further west The task was to trial a mode of distance education for year 11/12 students using interactive computers ,modem, phones ,faxes and photocopiers.

After 5 years at Tulligibeal the red dust and lack of salt-water reaction kicked in and I asked for a transfer. We have returned home, live in our own house and the boat now looks as if someone owns it.

That should bring you up to date. as the man said, ain't life great.


Allan Attwood

A61255 Sgt. Allan Attwood:  My posting out of Wagga was to MTRS Laverton where I first encountered the big yellow machinery that took me from motor transport to earthmoving and marine diesels.  It was in Melbourne that I met Josephine Mary English who is my marriage partner to the present day.

I requested and received a posting to 35 SSN Williamtown in ’65 to gain experience in diesels.  The position was maintenance and operation of the power supply to the SAM missiles.  I married Josephine in 66 and we had our first child, Allan Jeffery Attwood a year later. Jeff is now on his second hitch in the RAAF at Amberley.

In 67 I remustered and relocated to 5ACS Tindal as a Works Fitter where our daughter Kristy Lee was born. Kristy is now an Audio Visual Technician working in Brisbane. While at Tindal I played Rugby League and Basketball for the RAAF and started a long love affair with dirt bikes that eventually had me wearing the number 3 plate for North Queensland at the age of 43.

1971 saw the finish of construction for Tindal and a posting to Amberley to do the overlay job there where I took a break from bikes and started a stint at speedway sedans and eventually a season in hot rods partly sponsored by Ron Wanless

After the completion of the Amberley job we rejoined the rest of the squadron at Exmouth, which turned out to be the final chapter in the history of ASC for the RAAF. Exmouth has what is most probably the best snorkelling country in Australia and I spent a lot of time in the water there with the locals as well as dirt bike racing and many hours spent in the in the pubs playing bass guitar with a combination of RAAF and civvy musicians

In 75, ACS, along with other ADF groups was disbanded and I remustered to Marine Craft Fitter in Williamtown. I spent 3 years in Newcastle on the 63 foot SAR(search and recovery) boats before being posted to Townsville in 78 to serve on MV Warana  who’s prime role was SAR and Combat Survival support.

I continued to dive here but even the Barrier Reef  didn’t compare to the waters off Exmouth and I drifted into blue water sailing and moonlighting at the local slipways as a metal fabricator and engine room fitter. At about this time the civvy life was starting to look pretty good and Josephine and I decided our “free” time was best spent on construction of Kristy-J, a 42 steel cruising motor sailer. We launched and applied for discharge at about the same time in 83, taking the discharge in Townsville where the kids were established in school and our real estate investments were located.

After discharge I established Attwood Marine Fabrications and spent most of my work time contracting to Townsville Slipways and Rosshaven Marine primarily doing engine room fit outs but also steel and aluminium boat construction.  During 86 Josephine and I dropped out of the workforce for 6 months while we cruised the North Queensland coast getting used to not working too hard.

When we returned from sailing and a life of idleness I found the work pace on the waterfront too much and took a job at James Cook University as a technician in fine arts and theatre. With minimal skills and a fast mouth I was able to maintain and improve my lot as a public servant over the next 14 years until I retired from my position as Senior Tech in the COMVAT faculty. During this period I retired from racing dirt bikes and amazingly took on drug free bodybuilding. I still can't figure why I stayed with such a crazy sport but finished  in 94 as runner up in the Queensland Masters. Still looking for action I played B grade beach volleyball for the next 3 years but eventually retired through an accumulation of injuries from over the years.

In June 2000 Jo and I both retired from our positions at the uni and relocated to the Sunshine Coast. Jo took to retirement better than I did but I wasn’t long in catching up. I worked a few months as a ding fixer for a local surfboard manufacturer before backyarding for a while then tossing the lot to concentrate on doing as little as possible for as long as possible. I now spend my time surfing long and short boards at my local break off Moffat beach and silver smithing that doesn’t earn a lot but keeps the women in my life onside.


Mick Berryman

Where to start?  I haven't been very good at corresponding to any newsletters and apologise for being so slack.

Since leaving the RAAF in 1981 I worked in my own business in Richmond (Picture Framing and Arts & Craft which I had bought in 1976) until 1990 when
I separated from my wife, Lynne, and leaving her with this, I branched out into Typesetting in Penrith.
I married for the second time and built a house at Bowen Mountain. I sold the Typesetting business in 1994 and bought a Concrete Agitator and Contract with Pioneer Concrete which I worked until 1st April 2005 and have now retired,
although I do a little Typesetting locally just  to keep my hand in and for a little spending money. With the change in life style also bought about another separation and am looking maybe for a 3rdS

I know this is very brief I have had a fulfilling life to date and my health is still good so should continue for a little longer. I have bought a caravan and a 'tinnie' and am heading off in late summer to 'discover' Australia and hope to link up with friends on the way. Motto: I won't make plans S so nothing can go wrong - I
borrowed this from Spike Milligan.

I will be attending the reunion and will bring my van so will book into one of the parks soon.  I really appreciate the work you and JG do for us lazy Beavers and enjoy every email I get.

Regards to all and will see you at the reunion,  Mike Berryman




I worked hard at getting a discharge from the RAAF in the late 1960’s and started work soon after as an Instructor with the RAN at HMAS Nirimba at Quakers Hill. Whilst their I completed the Higher School Certificate and enrolled in a Diploma of Mechanical Engineering at what was then the NSW Institute of Technology.

I was married at the time and needed more income so transferred across to the RAN Fleet Air Arm Aircraft Maintenance and Repair Branch as a Senior Technical Officer. After completing the Diploma I was promoted to Engineer Grade 2 level and stayed until 1980. I had an interesting time with them. I was on the team that brought the Sea King Helicopters into service and went to Westland’s in the UK  for training. There was a lot of other RAAF blokes there as well as myself; Jack (Spud) Murphy who some may recall as CO of 2AD, Eric (Wingnut) Hibbs, former FSGT at Richmond , and Ron (Lucky) Luscombe ex WOE also from Richmond. I worked for a total of 20 years with the Defence Dept, both as a serviceman and civilian

Around this time, my first marriage broke up and not satisfied with that amount of change, I left the RAN and took up a position with Caltex Oil Australia responsible for the operations of their aircraft refuelling services around Australia and Fiji. This was a great job, with plenty of travel, and I enjoyed it very much. I was subsequently promoted to manage one of their major fuel storage terminals and commenced my shift from the aircraft industry to the petrochemical industry where I’ve been ever since.

In the early 1980’s I met, courted and married my wife Kathleen who is beautiful beyond  my dreams. After twenty years together we are still very much in love and are also best mates. Kath and I live in Concord where we’ve been for about 15 years. I have a son and daughter from my first marriage and they both have two children each, so I’m a proud Grandad and Kath is a much loved Granma.

I left Caltex after about ten years with them and set up my own business as an Engineering Consultant. The first year was pretty hard with a lot of marketing and a lot of knock backs, but gradually work started to flow and its been good to us ever since. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Work we’ve done included rebuilding Coode Island after the fire in 1991, our first big break, and then a Design/Construct of a new petroleum storage terminal at Port Botany. We are currently working with a Saudi Arabian company to build another terminal on the Red Sea coast.

Retirement was initially interesting, but as I’m enjoying the challenges still, I think I’ll keep going for a bit longer, although we plan on shifting up to the Southern Highlands soon. With modern communications I can run the business from anywhere.

Other Beavers I’ve kept in contact with over the years have been Flynn Henry, who has been a  good mate and drinking companion and Mick Churchin, who, whilst living in Melbourne has maintained the friendship we forged at RSTT all those years ago.”

Corporal Boxer

In preparing our Beavers master listing, one member has always been
forgotten, and that was Cpl Boxer, our course mascot.  Forgotten that is
until a couple of months ago, when the following arrived on the net:

In the process of gathering details and any historical information about
the Apprentices in general and the Beavers in particular, one of the items
that is often overlooked, and in fact have found nothing about, is the
history and fate of our apprentice mascot, which was a dog (breed??),
called Boxer.

All I can recall is that at the end of our three year apprenticeship,
Boxer had been promoted to
CPL, and handed over to the next intake.  I
recall that Kevin Gurney was his (her??) official handler and did the
handover ceremony, during which someone stood on Boxer's paw, but I didn't
know what happened to him after that.


Brian Camp

A61254  Brian Camp                       Ex Wagga Wagga   1963 to present

Jan 1964

Posted 481 Sqn Sabre Vampire Maintenance Flight

Sep 1964

Attached 76 Sqn / 81 Wing detachment Darwin  3 months during Malaysia / Indonesia conflict.

Dec 1965

Further 3 months Darwin

Mar 1966

Converted to Mirage A/C

Nov 1966

Bill Vandenberg (now dec) and I applied for pilot training, Bill accepted me rejected.

Jan 1967

Gained private pilots licence

Nov 1967

Promoted CPL

Jun 1969

Posted to 75 Sqn Butterworth

Mar 1970

 Gained Flying instructors rating Penang Flying Club

Apr 1970

Promoted SGT

Jun 1972

Posted RAAFSTT Electrical Section as Instructor

Dec 1975

Married in Malaysia

Jan 1978

Posted back to 75 Sqn.  Repatriated Mar 78 due to wife ill health, attached 2AD 3 months.  Posted HQSUPCOM June 78

Apr 1978

Promoted FSGT

Sep 78

Received National Medal

Jun 1979

Received RDFM

Dec 1980

First daughter born

Mar 1981

Received clasp to RDFM

Jul 1981

Discharged from PAF, commenced work at RMIT Aircraft and Auto Electrical dept as A/C Electrical Teacher

Jul 1981

Joined 21 Sqn as FSGT NCO I/C Electrical

Oct 1983

Second daughter born

Apr 1986

Third daughter born

Dec 1990

Teaching dept transferred from RMIT to Broadmeadows College of TAFE, Aerospace Industry Training Centre (AITC). Position Senior Teacher Avionics.

Feb 1997

Received RFM

Jul 1999

5 yr extension of service beyond CRA approved

Jan 2001

Celebrated 40 years of service in RAAF,  Clasp not yet received due to poor record keeping by 21 Sqn and the loss of one year of recorded service.  Should happen 2002

Mar 2001

Promoted A/WOFF Avionics.  Still there as training coordinator 21 Sqn Aircraft Maintenance flight and HOD AITC Avionics



Michael Churchin

After graduation I was posted to 2AD Richmond where I worked on E servicing for P2V5 AND P2V7 Neptune aircraft.  I particularly enjoyed test flights where we would fly for about six hours over the ocean and I would sit in the perspex radome at the nose --- very exhilarating.

In 1965 I was posted to No 38 Sqn, also at Richmond where we had Caribou and DC3 aircraft. Shortly after arriving I was detached to Papua New Guinea for three months where we flew daily as assistant to the Loadie. It was fascinating as we travelled the length and breadth of PNG and resupplied the patrol officer camps at some pretty isolated strips.

On return to Richmond I underwent a survival course and in mid-66 was posted to No 35 Sqn (Caribous) at Vung Tau, Viet Nam, for 13 months. I was fortunate to have my old mate Jim Irvine with me for the latter part of my posting there.

My next posting was back to No 38n Sqn Richmond where I did two years as an instructor for new pilots and ground crew on the technical aspects of the Caribou and the DC3 aircrafts. During this time I had married Glenys (a WRAAF) and we recently celebrated our 32nd wedding anniversary. We have a boy 31 years and a girl 30 years -- but at this stage no grandchildren.

Also during this period I started night school at Riverstone Tech. I used to travel with Randy Stone and for the first few months every thing was OK. Then we discovered that the RSL was a few doors away from the Tech and some nights we used to have a beer when we finished classes. Pretty soon we were having a beer before classes and within a short time we didn't bother with classes at all!!

Anyway, soon our respective wife's put a stop to our fun and we did eventually complete our courses. Shortly after I was commissioned as an Equipo and went to Point Cook for my "knife and fork" course, then on to 1SD Tottenham for Equipos course. I was posted off course to 1SD.

In 1976 I was posted to HQSC as executive assistant to the Branch head, Air Commodore Colebrook. He was a WW II Navigator and a wonderful bloke; I really enjoyed being his gofer. I tend to think that he set up my next posting, which was to the Air Attaché staff at RAAF Washington, at the Embassy in DC.

This was a dream posting for three years--- three story 44 square home in North Virginia, allowances which were overly generous, and the AUD$ worth $1:12 to the $US. My work took me to just about every part of the US as a family we had great holidays.

Back to HQSC in 1982 and on to an IMC course which was run by Defence. The course lasted for a year and we visited most parts of Australia and just about every military establishment. At the end of the course I was posted to Staff College in Canberra but decided to pull the pin as my kids were starting secondary schooling and I'd put them through enough moves.

I joined the Vic Govt for a year and then stared with the Industrial Supplies Office Vic where after 17 years I am still here and looking forward to my second lot of long service leave, and retirement in three years. The ISO looks after the State Govt's import replacement program. Typically we work on the major projects underway in Vic and where the project managers may be looking at purchasing products overseas we act as the catalyst to getting local firms involved.

I thought that my new career would lead to less travel but this was not the case as I now regularly travel to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, and Abu Dhabi.


Dave Comber

Dave (Dash) Comber – Bio Jan 64 to Dec 01

Jan 64 – Jun 64

RAAF Amberley in Repair Deport doing majors on Canberras.  Major recollection of spending weekends heading of in Volkswagen to Gold Coast surfing with Frip Brown.  Sleeping on beach & doing the things 19 y/o’s did then – Surfers Hotel bird watching bar etc.  Major roll over on highway returning to base one weekend wrecked car & surfboards and ended weekend excursions.

Jul 64 – Jun 65

RNZAF Ohakea – second line servicing Vampire, Canberra, Dakota, Devon.  Nearly got to Singapore for confrontation but cancelled at last minute.  Spent most of time doing majors on Canberras being sent to Singapore to fly ops in emergency.

Jun64 – Nov 66

Officer and Pilot training – Wigram, Christchurch.

Dec 66 – Sep 67

Co Pilot on VIP DC3’s at Ohakea.  Flying in white boiler suits with plastic bags under harness to save marks on clean suit!

Oct 67 – Jun 69

3 Battlefield Support Sqn  Whenuapai, Auckland.– Bristol Freighter around NZ, S E Asia, Sth Pacific.

Jul 69 – Feb 71

VIP Captain flying DC3 again at Ohakea.

Mar 71 – Jun 72

Flying Training Instructor on Harvards and Devons Wigram, Christchurch.

Jul 72 – Jun 74

Seconded as instructor to Singapore Air Defence Command flying Sia Marchetti.  No 3 in formation LL Aerobatic team and solo display pilot.

Jul 74 – Oct 77

Training captain on VIP Sqn initially on DC3 then to England to train on and bring back Andovers.  Ran initial conversion courses on Andover.

Oct 77 – Nov 78

Instructor at CFS flying Devon, Air Trainer, Sioux at Wigram.

Nov 79 – Dec 80

Def HQ.  Airforce’s most hated man – Asst Dir Of Officers Postings and Attachments in Wellington.

Dec 80 – Mar 83

CO of the VIP Sqn Ohakea.  Andovers and Cessna 421c.  Flew Queen, Prince of Wales, Pers pilot to Gov Gen etc.

Left Airforce as Sqn Ldr and moved to current home in Taupo.

Mar 83 – Sep 88

Started up and owned Hunting, Shooting, Fishing sports shop in Taupo.  Sold shop in Sep 87 and operated a charter fishing boat on Taupo for about a year. 

Sep 88 – Jul 92

Branch Manager of truck company, then General Manager of heavy truck workshop company until parent company went broke.  Went management consulting for year.

Jul 92 – Apr 93

Senior New Zealand Representative, Scott Base Antarctica.  NZ Govt Agent and Manager of NZ Antarctic operations in Antarctica.  Most notable, but unfortunate, event was the loss of two staff in helicopter accident very early in season.  Most memorable had to be skiing in full sunlight on a snow base of 300 metres at 3 am and watching C5 Galaxies landing on 1 metre of sea ice.

May 93 to Present

Planning and business process support positions at the Wairakei Geothermal Power Station just outside Taupo.

Stats and Interests:

Married 35 years to Eileen.  Two sons 33 & 31 – Accountant and Aircraft Engineer (civil)  Interests include Hunting, Fishing (Lake and Sea), Target shooting, Motor racing.  Chairman of local group of land based Search and Rescue.


Graham Dangerfield

After my "Appy Daze" I entered the Transport Industry & became a Crane driver, Forklift operator, human horse - carrying sacks of flour, Depot Foreman, A Trainer & Team Leader loading, unloading 20 - 300 tonne transformers into substations all over Q'ld. mostly by hand, Workplace Health & Safety Officer,  (This being over a 35 yr. period working for the one company) and finally & currently after handing in my resignation I am an Accredited Provider to the Government doing Training & Assessment work in the fields of  Forklift - (We are a Registered Training Organisation in this field.) & other categories Crane, Dogger, Bobcat, Side Loaders, Dozer, Scraper, Roller etc. to enable applicants to attain their Certificates of Competency in all these fields.  I am still Workplace Health & Safety Officer for my old employer on a contract basis, but now am working full time in our own Assessment Business.

The heavy workload over 35 years left me with a very sore back which found me crawling out of bed daily making painful sounding noises, but this is not the case now because my son told me about magnetic mattresses & Far-Infrared comforters.  They have worked wonders on Carol & myself - They are fantastic.  No discomfort at all!  We are now just a pair of energetic pre-oldies - Loving life.

Carol suffered with painful nodules & swelling in her fingers after a lifetime of typing & secretarial duties - this disease had spread through the body to her feet which were too painful to put on the floor after a nights sleep as they had stiffened up and she was taking anti-inflammatory tablets to enable her to function in a somewhat better fashion - Not any more, The magnets fixed that too!

We have friends who have had first hand benefits & relief.  This is a new technology to Australia (14 months) and leaves all the others for dead. The company who supplies the entire product claim to have 30 million satisfied customers & I believe it because they are the fastest growing company in the history of Japan.  (They have now moved their headquarters to Irvine Cal. U.S.A.)

If you or any of the lads or their families are suffering any discomfort or other problems ( this covers a huge range of disorders) I would be a happy "Appy" telling them of our experiences and those of the many others we are in contact with.




I left Wagga for the wonders of 3AD and electrical work on Sabres and Canberras.  Learnt to surf and continued to play football, and finally spent two years in plaster fixing up an old football injury from Wagga.  Met the local publican and his daughter and married her.  Then back to Wagga for an Electronics course and then to Williamtown to work on the high technology Bloodhound missile at 30SQN – I presume I was to use my newfound electronic knowledge.  However, as Bloodhounds were all 1950’s technology, I was lost on them, so that career wasn’t to be.  Off to 481SQN to work on Mirages – more high tech I suppose they thought.  Although the first Mirage thing I worked on was a ward leonard system which we had touched on at Wagga with a training aid from the mid upper gun turret from a Wellington.  Then the inevitable posting to Malaysia occurred, still with Mirages.  Two children born in Malaysia and had a good time with not a shot being fired in anger but survived a number of trap runs.  Back to Australia to 5SQN on helicopters and a great time, preparing for the rostered posting to Vietnam.  This didn’t eventuate, as I was commissioned into the Equipment Branch and off to Point Cook and Tottenham for the usual courses. 


Then to 11SQN as the EquipO looking after the Orions.  Hell of a place to live, Smithfield Plains, but well compensated with the annual trips to Hawaii, New Zealand, Butterworth, Fincastle Trophy in Canada, etc, etc.  Then a move into the world of air movements and a second posting to Malaysia as the Air Movements Officer – the best hours of work ever encountered, with 24 on and 48 off system.  Now playing golf and darts instead of rugby because of the aforementioned old football injury.  Spent some time with HQRIC Detachment S, which was the operation to evacuate Australian Embassy staff, orphans and refugees from Cambodia and Vietnam at the end of the Vietnam war in 1975.  This time the trap runs took their toll, and I came back to Australia a single man again and to the wonders of the great southern grey sponge of HQSC, and the thrills of cataloguing, scaling and identification.  Took another partner as a defacto in a contract marriage with one stepchild, which lasted 3 years.  Then off to Egypt and Israel with the UN as the Chief Logistics Office of AUSTAIR in UNEFII.  A chance to really see the world – Peace was hell!  Back to HQSC, but this time into the world of computers at CEO6 where I finally got to use some of the electronics course stuff I’d learnt in 1966 but only to find it was out of date, and that the binary logic I did was next to useless!!  Decided that mess life wasn’t all it is cracked up to be, so I got married again, and the wedding was a real good party – I was getting better at organising these events now.  Two more stepchildren to add to the clan, but it wasn’t meant to be and only lasted four years.  In the meantime I had completed some more courses such as Industrial Mobilization Course and Staff College and went to BSQN Point Cook as SEQO.  Lasted only one year and decided to retire from the RAAF in January 1984.


Settled in Williamstown VIC and joined all the community groups, local pub dart team, Lions, etc.  Elected to local Council (did three terms, and got to Deputy Mayor and even got a gong, and they made me a JP!) and finally got a job at the Williamstown Naval Dockyard. At WND I worked in the materiel branch on the Australian Frigate Project, and was finally involved in sale of the Dockyard to private enterprise.  In fact I even was CEO of my own company (TECHNAV) formed to buy the Dockyard, but we missed out.  Got married again during this period, but this time I had the wedding in her hometown in the UK.  Again it was a great party. 


Following a weird year as a Project and Research Officer (pseudonym for surplus officer!!) with the Victorian Defence Regional Office, I joined the Civil Aviation Authority in 1988, working in the corporate management field for Victoria and Tasmania.  I helped establish the CAA as a Government Business Enterprise, which meant my job went, and another redundancy package in the bank!  Then off to Canberra to the corporate services division of the Canberra Institute of Technology.  Two new sons had now arrived, and I settled into the nations capital quite comfortably with Lions, Salvation Army Red Shield, St John's Ambulance, and local politics, etc, etc.  I also spent a good bit of my spare time on my golf and my Phantom comics.  Then I had an unusual period in the new ACT Government Business Development and Marketing Branch.  This didn’t work out, so it was back to CIT, where I stayed until retirement on 31 December 1999, two days after my 55th birthday.  I then spent about 18 months as a consulting logistician, working primarily for the University of Canberra and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and then finally decided that I had enough and packed it all in for full retirement on 30 June 2001.  In accordance with the Peter Principle, I have now reached my level of incompetence and am extremely happy in my newfound retirement career.

John Gorrie

After Wagga Wagga, I spent 2 years at 3AD Amberley with lots of other Beavers.  We had a great time surfing, Gold Coasting, crashing cars celebrating 21st birthdays, etc and was then posted to Butterworth on Sabres at end of 1965.  Spent 3 years at B’worth with three tours to Ubon in Thailand doing a total of 12 months in Ubon and being part of the Sabre pullout crew from Ubon in August 1968.

Posted back to 1CRU the radar unit at Brookvale in Sydney in 1969 for 9 months and then posted to DEPAIR on promotion to SGT. Spent 4 years in Canberra and while there, married Cheryl in 1971 (I had met her when she was a dependent schoolie at B’worth and we made contact when I was at Brookvale).  Did an electronics course back at Wagga Wagga also in 1971 (with Dave Lee) and then started night school in 1972.  Was commissioned as an ELECO in 1973 and after courses, spent the next 5 years in Support Command in Melbourne - just great for an unrepentant QLDer!  Also got caught up in the Annual ex-Appies Reunions held each Australia Day weekend in Melbourne.

First daughter Kimberley was born in 1978 - we enjoyed practicing for a while - and was posted to 481 SQN at Williamtown at start of 1979.  Spent three years very happily in the area taking up running and Hash House Harriering and son Lachlan and daughter Shannon born in 1980 & 1981 respectively.  Promotion intervened and posted - again- back to Support Command at start of 1982.  Ran first and only marathon while back in Melbourne and spent another three and a half years there before throwing a tantrum to get out of the place.  Posted back to Williamtown in May 1985 and did less than another year before getting out in March 1986.

Went to work for Hunter Group Apprenticeship as Assistant Manager to George Homer who gave it away after 9 months and I then became the General Manager.  Ran the Company for almost the next nine and a quarter years and enjoyed most of it despite being ridden by Directors with big egos and who couldn’t trust or delegate to anyone and were well past their use-by-date!

Had some interesting times too while there and spent time as a Director on the National Board of Group Training Australia as well as Chairman of the NSW division.  This gave some good breaks and managed to score a few trips around the country to meetings and conferences.

Met lots of interesting people while working in Group Training including meeting and working with Lance Barnard, the ex Minister for Defence who I thanked regularly for introducing the DFRDB legislation that benefits so many of us.  Was surprised at how many others in Group Training were also ex-servicemen.

Offered the opportunity to join Dave Lenox and a few other ex-RAAFies at GHD in Newcastle and joined the Company in March 1996.  After spending five years doing work for the Navy, RAAF, AirServices Australia, the Coal industry, Water Boards and the like, got the opportunity to join another lot of ex-RAAFies at Jacobs Sverdrup working back on base at Williamtown.  And here I am, still working at this age to pay for educating kids - the penalties of starting to breed late in life and spending too much along the way!!

Enjoy life in this area despite having to travel daily, although the travel from Port Stephens to Williamtown is half that of my previous 15 years of travelling daily to Newcastle to work.  But that’s one of the penalties of living in the Blue Water Wonderland, as it’s known.  Run each Monday night with Hunter Hash Harriers and we’re mostly ex-RAAFies still going through second childhood.  Have a 4WD, an off-road camper trailer and ski boat so go boating and camping up on the Myall Lakes or elsewhere at any opportunity.

Kids finish at Uni progressively over the next couple of years.  Thus with the end now in sight of having to work to support kids and so long as health holds, Cher and I will then start hitting the touring roads and perhaps dropping in on people.


Jim Herron

Jan 64-Jun 66 Amberley, 3AD, E-Serv Sabres then hydraulic section.


  Jun 66-Jan 67 Malaya, 78 Wing, E-Serv Sabres.


  Jan 67-May 75 Amberley, 3AD hydraulics, Canberra's-mods for Vietnam and F111's.


  May 75-Jan 81 Williamtown, Mirages, 77 Sqn and 2 OCU.


  That's 20 years, and so discharge at Amberley.


  Feb 81-Jul 93 Had a milk run in Ipswich until the government deregulated the industry and we were bought out. No option.


  Retired from work force (still am). Did 5 years volunteer work, 4 days / week, 48 weeks / year, finished that Sept 99.


  Also help my two sons with their mail / parcel contracts for Australia Post. They both finished the Australia Post contracts in June 00. Have more time to myself now.


  Wrong!, eldest boy has just bought a school bus run, starts 29/1/01 and asked me to be relief driver.


  Have 3 children, Darren 33, Paul 30, Tania 28.


Someone’s Mum

The following story was sent in by one of our number. It was written about his mother by one of her granddaughters and tells of some experiences towards the end of WW II and reminds many of us how fortunate we were not to be exposed to experiences like this. I have left the original Eastern European surname but see if you know who it may have been.

When you meet Vera Kvetoslava, you might be forgiven for thinking she is a lovely lady; mother of two, grandmother of three and adoring great grandmother of three who can whip up a mean shortbread.  In fact she is all of these things.  But few realise that this woman has also spent months huddled in a cold cellar in Czechoslovakia during World War II, terrified to go outside and so cramped because of others in the same predicament around her she cannot move.  Even less know of the nights and days she spent fleeing between villages, cowering under a white sheet so as to be camouflaged by the snow that surrounded her husband, tiny baby son, and herself.  Camouflaged because soldiers, German and Russian, were everywhere and would send spontaneous sprays of bullets around them.

On one occasion while she huddled in that cellar, Vera was awoken at three in the morning by sirens and loud voices.  She learned that everyone was being told to leave immediately because German soldiers feared there were spies in the village.  Vera, clasping her baby, clutched desperately to her husband’s hand as they ran from house to house, bullets peppering the air around them.  They walked for days in the bitter cold, at nights sleeping on the floor of stranger’s homes.  Finally they reached her sister-in-law’s village, where they stayed until her husband was forced to leave because of his job.  All they owned in the world was a set of silver cutlery - a wedding present her husband had grabbed before they had fled the cellar, a pair of boots and the clothes they had on their backs.  And of course, each other.

When you start talking to this softly-spoken, petite woman with a lilting accent, you immediately become aware of the strength which seems to radiate from within her.  “When my husband was transferred away from the village we were sheltering in, I decided to go to Prague (the capital of Czechoslovakia) to see my parents,” says Vera gently.  What she fails to mention however, is that this decision involved getting herself and her one-year old son across the whole country with no means of transport and little money.  Vera tells of how she hitched a ride with a truck driver for most of the gruelling four-day journey.  At night-times she would beg for a place to stay.  “One night we (her son and herself) couldn’t find a place to stay. We looked in hotels and roadside stops.  No-one would let us stay anywhere.  I was so exhausted, so I finally went up to a policeman and I said, “Please sir, will you arrest me?”  He said, “Woman, what have you done?”  I said, “Nothing, I just want somewhere to sleep for the night.”

In Prague Vera was reunited with her husband, and soon after he was transferred again.  This time away from the war ravaged country of Czechoslovakia to a little-known place called Australia.  Here, Vera was extremely conscious of how lucky she was to be alive and have her small family intact.  What she couldn’t believe was how differently the same war had affected the two countries.  When she went to the shop one morning soon after arriving to collect her ration of butter, she waited patiently for the tiny smear she had received on a piece of grease paper in Czechoslovakia.  To her surprise, she was handed a whole block of butter.  When she indicated to the attendant to cut off her ration, he shook his head.  “No,” he told her.  “It’s all yours.”  Used to eating potatoes, rotten carrots and not much else for years, Vera shook her head in astonishment.

Today, Vera reflects on her ordeals with a mixture of contemplative thought and sadness.  However, the sadness is not for what happened, but for what might have been.  Vera was unable to finish her university degree in medicine, and married perhaps more quickly than she would have if war-time circumstances had not been prevalent.  “I am not sad when I think of the past,” says Vera, while gazing out the window.  What she is picturing is beyond my comprehension, after spending hours listening to everything this woman has gone through.  “But,” she says, breaking focus and looking directly at me and giving me a cheeky grin, “If I could do it all again, I’d live it up.  Oh boy, would I live it up.”

And who is it referring to, have you worked it out or guessed that it is Miro Janco’s mother and he was the babe in arms in the story.


Theo Kleyn

On leaving Wagga all those years ago, I found myself reporting for duty at the front door of No2AD Instrument Section, which was stuck in the middle of a stack of buildings, in other words, it had no view. In fact all windows were at ceiling height. There they put me to work fixing Hercules Autopilot amplifiers, Engine instruments etc. One vivid experience I had was electrocuting myself not once but twice within a half hour period with 600VDC. They called it calibrating. I wonder who was calibrated, the Tacho or me. Twelve months of that and then I was moved to Gyro Section for repairs on you guessed it, Gyros. That was Eighteen months of sheer happiness; I found Gyros fascinating.

During this time, I joined a band, found the girl of my dreams, got married in Nov 65 and in July 66 was posted, just down the road to the resurrected 486SQN to see in the arrival of the new C130E. I spent the next six years working on Hercs till I was posted to Butterworth in June 1972 to work on the old WW2 workhorse, the Dakota. I loved it there, especially the prices for stereos, cameras etc. Whilst there, my third child was born, who last week made me a grandfather for the seventh time.

December 1974 saw me back in Australia and again posted to 486Sqn where I saw out the remaining year of my service and discharge. You may wonder as to why I got out, to put it bluntly, as a baagy arse I was fed up with the crap that one had to put up with. In hindsight, I should have put myself through night school and applied for a commission. There were also personal reasons plus my father had a small business which needed an input of manpower, so out I went.

That venture didn't work out to well, so I applied for a job in Telecom, was accepted, and have been in the job for nearly 22 years, for how much longer nobody knows. It's a bit like the Air Force, everything is being
Now for some of the personal bits which I'm prepared to share with you.

Been married for nearly 36 years to the same girl; have no sisters-in-law, but 6 brothers-in-law, so as you can imagine, I'm always on my best behaviour. Have three kids, a boy and two girls, all married and seven grandkids, five girls and two boys. The guitar I still have, Its becoming a family heirloom; I met my wife whilst playing in one the local pubs in Windsor, one of her brothers said that she could go out with me as he thought I was a good guy. The guitar is now framed in a aluminium box and bolted to the wall. The box that is, the guitar is still accessible. My son wants it eventually.

The only thing I play now is the CD and DVD player and on Saturdays, golf.

Finally, I'm looking forward to the 45th reunion. It's been a long time.


Bill McCarthy

Finally got around to responding, felt guilty after hearing from Warren Dickson, but after such a long time it really is hard to get motivated.

McCarthy, WH           William Henry            Bill       29/6/45

C/o Bingera Sugar, Community Mail Bag, Bundaberg, Qld, 4670

Wife's Name- Dianne

Home Address- As above, only complicates if I use any other address.

Business Address- Bundaberg Sugar Limited, PO Box 500, Bundaberg, Qld, 4670

Cane Superintendent

? A16937       MT       L/App  ?/12/62

Home Phone 0741 50 8839            Work Phone 0741 50 8642

                                                Work Fax     0741 50 8611

Email Work- <mailto:whmccart@bundysugar.com.au>

After I "left" the RAAF I scored a job in the Sugar Industry and am still at it. I am now working at the Millaquin Mill site in Bundaberg and am involved in the supply and transport of harvested cane from growers' farms to the three Bundaberg Mills. I've been in the cane supply area of the Industry since 1963 and have worked at Mills in the Bundaberg and Mackay areas.

Peter Maksymczuk

Chooks history (Or how I became an Aussie and joined the RAAF)


I shall divide my history into two parts. Part One will cover the events leading as to how I became an Aussie and joined the RAAF and Part Two will cover the events after I graduated from Wagga.




I was born on 15/10/1945 in Neustardt, Germany. Where I was born, in Neustardt, is interesting from a historical point.

My mother lived in the Lvov district in Ukraine. When Hitler invaded the USSR, the German war machine conquered all of Ukraine on its way to Stalingrad (Now Volgagrad). The occupying forces issued an edict, that out of each Ukrainian family one member has to go to Germany to work for the war effort.

From my mothers’ family, my mother went. In my mothers family there were four boys and four girls. I asked mum why did her father send her instead of one of the boys. She replied that her farther sent her because if he sent one of the sons then he would not last long, where as a young woman stood more chance of survival.


That’s how my gene base got out from behind the Iron Curtain. 


So my mum got sent to Germany and ended working on a farm. Fortune smiled on her (and me) because working on a farm was much better then in the arms factories where the mortality rate was very high.

Although working on a farm was still hard, she did have reasonable shelter and food supply.


Now events got interesting


At wars end all Displaced Persons (DPs) were to be repatriated to their country of origin. Needless to say that the majority of people from behind the Iron Curtain did not want to go back. (But that’s another story)

What happened in my mothers’ case was that at wars end two NKVD (Forerunner of the KGB) agents come to take her back to Ukraine. But my mother, with her insight of the Communist system, told the NKVD agents that she is with child (That’s me) and about 6 weeks from birth. It will be difficult to travel back at this stage of pregnancy, but if they came back in 9 weeks she will be ready to go back to Ukraine. One never says no to the NKVD.

As soon as the agents left my mother asked the elderly farm couple to help her get to a DP camp. Because sure as hell she was not going to wait for the return of the NKVD agents. After I was born on the farm and before the return of the NKVD agents she went into a DP camp under the protection of the Western Allies.


That was a close call for me. At this point I could have ended up back behind the Iron Curtain.


Now events got more interesting


At conflicts end, DP camps were set up to handle the mass of humanity displaced by the War. In conjunction with the Marshall Plan, a global program was established to disperse people worldwide. To that end numerous countries had set up immigration offices throughout out the DP camps to process migrants to their respective countries. This program went on for about 8 years. (1945 to 1953 approx).

My mother, with some of her Ukrainians friends, stood in the Chilian migration line to be processed to go to Chile. When she reached the migration officers’ desk she was informed that they (Chile) have got their full quota for the month and that she has missed out and will have to look elsewhere. She got upset with the migration officer but he stood firm and suggested to her to go and have a look next door, where a country called AUSTRALIA had established a migration office. She never heard of AUSTRALIA, but she went and met some Ukrainians migrating to AUSTRALIA. After a conversation with an interpreter she made the final decision to migrate to AUSTRALIA. We migrated and arrived in Sydney in 1949.


That was another close call. I could have ended up wearing a sombrero and speaking Spanish, Ole.


Thinking back on all the above, I consider myself fortunate that events turned out the way they have.

It illustrates how ones fate controls ones destiny.



About six months before I sat for the Intermediate Certificate (1960) I decided that I wanted to join one of the Defence Services as an apprentice. My first choice was the NAVY. But I did not get in because mother would not sign the forms. Her view of sailors was that they are nothing but a bunch of drunks and go out with loose women. And her little boy was to be protected from all the evils of the world. Little did she know?

So, as second choice, I went and joined the RAAF as an apprentice and never looked back.


Thus that is my tale from Germany to the RAAF






Upon graduating from Wagga, my next 17 years were rather uneventful. I worked on big-ticket items;

Hercs, Orions and HS748s and my postings were basically at Richmond and Sale.


However, TWO events over the next 17 years, had a profound affect upon my life, both in and out of the RAAF


The First One was when I applied for Aircrew as an AEO (Air Electronic Officer). My ambition at that time was to become an AEO and operate the electronic gear on the Orion to search for the Commie submarines.

(Cold War and all that). In 1966 I sat for the Aircrew Test, which covered testing for Pilot, Navigator and AEO categories. The test lasted a whole day and at the end I was informed that I couldn’t become an AEO because I have not a ` musical ear`. The particular test that I failed, was to identify a set of Morse signals

(Yes, that’s Morse Code) to determine if the two signals were the same or different.

So, I could not be an AEO.


Well, the first thing that raced through my mind was that there are guys at RAAF Richmond, which I know would give their left testicle to be in my position. Needless to say I accepted the offer but my heart was not 100% with it. I wanted to be an AEO.

Well, off I went to Point Cook for 2 months to became an Officer and a Gentleman.  Then it was off to Pearce to start the flight training.

My pilot course was one with an all thru jet training syllabus. I was caught in the time warp where the RAAF got rid of the Dual Vampire trainer and the Winjel and replaced both aircraft with the Macchi. The new concept was for the Macchi to provide the full range of flight training. But alas, it did not work out and I was caught up in it. The pilot course before me and two after me experienced a huge failure rate (approx. 40%)

to such an extent that the RAAF had to reintroduce assessment flights. That’s when they purchased the Airtour, the Yellow Parrots.

As for myself I managed to get 17 hours dual flying. I could start up the aircraft, taxi it onto the runway, line it up and take off. I could also manage to fly the circuit but for the hell of me I just could not land it. The time limit to go solo was 20 hours and I just did not have the ability to land the aircraft within the 20-hour time frame. However, I did manage to land it once, and was real proud of it.

After egressing from the aircraft the instructor turned around to me and said “ You’re a Framie aren’t you?”

“Yes” I replied.

“Then you know what a heavy landing is??” he responded.

So much for my landing talents.

Anyway after spending six months at Pearce I was sent back to good old RAAF Base Richmond where I went back on the Hercs and later became in Framie Instructor in Field Training.


But the most profound affect that the eight months as a Cadet Officer had on me was this!!!!!!!!


For the first time in my working life, at age of 22, I associated with people from a higher educated and socio-economic level and I realised that there was a different world outside the RAAF. I realised then just how Airforce orientated (institutionalised) I was and from that point onwards I started to look outside the square.

That changed my life.


The Second Event was my Court Marshall. I’ll forego the gruesome details suffice to say that I lost Mega bucks financially.  But what I lost on the swing I made up on the roundabout.


Done my 20 years in the RAAF, got out and joined the Defence Dept in DQA (Defence Quality Assurance).

My next 16 years in DQA-AERO were very challenging and satisfying due to the large variation of work/assignments. Most of my time was spent in Qantas and the now defunct Hawker de Havilland doing quality audits and final acceptances on a large variety of aircraft and aircraft components.

One technological development that fascinated me was the start up at Hawker de Havilland of the production and manufacturing of aero composite structural parts. It is because of the whole development and manufacturing cycle of composites that Boeing bought out Hawkers. The major project I covered was the manufacturing of the Hercules Composite Flaps by Hawkers for the US Defence Dept. DQA Aero covered the QA on the flaps on behalf of US Defence Dept.

When I got to grips on the whole composite process it occurred to me that one genesis for this advanced technology was the application of fibreglass to styrofoam surfboards.


Due to Defence downsizing and reconstruction, DQA AERO was vastly reduced and thus I made a side move to NALO. (Navy Aviation Logistic Organisation) as a Techo on the Seahawks and stayed there for about

3 years. When NALO became NAMLS and moved to NOWRA I made anther side move and ended up where I am presently working on ship hulls systems. Ship hulls are the navy equivalent to airframes on aeroplanes.


Retirement in on the radar but






PS Anyone for Tango.


Ray Paterson

Life history seems to be the go, so here is mine.

Married 1966, three kids. Divorced 1984.

  Number one son – Oi/c Field Training Flight, 2 CRU, Darwin.

  Daughter – Nursing Sister – Newcastle

  Number two son – Reprobate/army reservist - Newcastle

Didn’t really understand that women are your real golf handicap, so married again (to An ex-RAAF wife). That’s still as good as any male/female relationship can be after sixteen years.

       Step son – Bachelor of Music – Army musician – Kapooka. (Chris and I proudly wear T-   shirts emblazoned with “I survived a musical child”.

The service life must be in the blood or a contagious disease!!

Have built railway carriages (Newcastle), ships (Newcastle and Brisbane), submarines (Adelaide and Toowoomba) and airplanes (Toowoomba). Since getting out, have lived in Medowie (near Newcastle), Adelaide, Toowoomba and now Brisbane in the suburb of Ferny Grove. Moved more than on posting !!

Currently working as a consultant/contractor to Queensland Rail on the GST Implementation Project through my own business – Longhouse Green Pty Ltd – Business Management, Quality, Environmental and Safety System development and implementation, as well as technical writing, quality inspection and general business analysis services. Does anybody need help ??? I need the work !!!

Still have all my own teeth (sorry, mostly amalgam); my own hair (all of it, not like some I have seen, Peter Ashworth, for example, and it is not too grey); the gut has expanded (but not too much); can still walk 18 holes of golf (without too much effort); have got a 30% disability pension for hearing loss and tinnitus (Bloody Mirages, but it is a good excuse at home !!); wear glasses (so I can find my beer).

Play golf as much as I am allowed. Fish occasionally. Watch Rugby Union (playing days are well and truly over). Drink beer (and anything else alcoholic that I’m offered). Drive a ’92 Vitara (She’s got the brand new Vectra).

Having a ball with life and living it to at least ¾ of a glass (not full through lack of the important ingredient – money). Don’t think of retirement, having too much fun.

Age does have some disadvantages:

  Can’t do quiet deep knee bends;

  Can’t remember where I put my keys;

  Can’t blow out all the candles on my birthday cake;

  Don’t look good on a motorbike anymore;

  Forget to attach e-mail documents as promised in the e-mail.

But, hey, you can’t have everything. I still remember yesterday and the day before that. At our age, that’s got to be a big plus !!

Hope all are as healthy as I am; and as happy. Would love to hear from anybody passing through or living near-by.

Ray Paterson:  Phone-07 3351 2353 (Home);  0409 510 440 (Mobile)




Bryan Simpson


Post Wagga Bio

January 1964, 3AD.

First posting after Wagga was 3 Air Depot Amberley to work under Ex Wagga Boss Howard Kay.  Amberley was an enjoyable posting with both good work conditions and social life.  Met my future wife (Margi). 


August 1965, 11 Squadron.

Posted to 11 Squadron Richmond.  A period mainly devoted to saving for my upcoming marriage.  Received a telegram on our honeymoon advising a promotion to Corporal and posting to 81 Wing Williamtown. 


August 1966, 81 Wing,

And Subsequently 481 Maintenance SQN, 76 SQN and 76 SQN Detachment. Darwin.

Settled into married life in Newcastle and various jobs from Mirage instructional duties, Sabre Maintenance, 76 Squadron, Darwin Mirage Detachment and Bali aircraft staging.  Spent a whole six months on CPL pay before getting Higher Duty Allowance for SGT and then acting SGT until full promotion on time.  In hindsight this was thanks to Howard Kay for pushing us to get qualified.  Senior LAC’s and CPL’s had not envisaged the rapid impact of RAAF expansion on promotion and had not completed tests and exams.  Our Daughter Michelle was born during this posting (between detachments).


December 1969, Butterworth

Posted to Butterworth and did the rounds from 75 Squadron to 478 Squadron and an extension to fix some problems in 77 Squadron to round out three years.  By this stage I apparently had a reputation for problem solving and planning abilities that landed me a posting to Aircraft Research and Development Unit.


December 1972, ARDU Laverton.

Arrived to a promotion to Flight Sergeant and find I had inherited a section that resided in a parachute drying tower and technically non compliant on most things.  Stirred the shit and solved all the problems and was rewarded with a posting to the dreaded Headquarters Support Command. 


May 1975,  HQSC Melbourne.

A major plus of this job was working for Bob Bartram.  My personal opinion of Melbourne is that it is only one step from the A!s*ole of Australia.  That aside we purchased a kombi camper and boat and the six years in Melbourne were enjoyed.  Margi took formal art training at the Victorian Art Society and produced many fine oil paintings.  I had a severe seasonal allergy problem to the region.  We took extended leave (using long service) during the worst part of the years to escape the symptoms.


July 1978, 492 Squadron Edinburgh SA.

Our first (and only) preferential posting!  A promotion (Warrant Officer) posting.  A challenging rewarding and enjoyable job.  An excellent bunch of troops that made the going easy.  Margi had successful exhibitions of her oil paintings.


However, after three years with the challenges of P3C aircraft introduction declining it was decision time on the future. 

I secured three options,

A civy job at Defence Research, 

A maintenance management job at Greenvale mine in North Qld, and

A commission to Flight lieutenant (level 3!).

I opted for the commission. 


November 1982 HQSC.

Two years as a Project Officer on the P3C Project, again working for Bob Bartram, and completion of all the Officer training and examination needs for Squadron Leader promotion.  With what I thought was average effort I was awarded Leadership and Academic Dux awards. 


March 1985 RAAF Washington USA (F/A-18 Project St Louis)

A posting to clean up a mess created by a so-called Rhodes scholar expert (but a nice bloke).  From a work perspective probably the least enjoyable posting of my RAAF career.  But, as I had always had good challenging jobs the benchmark to judge by was high.  However, with an excellent bunch of troops I was able to get the Project back on track and maintained my record of minimum time promotion with promotion to Squadron Leader for the effort. 


January 1988 Department of Defence Canberra.

Project management specifying, tendering, negotiating and managing international Defence contracts.  Enjoyable job with long hours and lots of travel.  However, looking down the barrel at Staff College and a posting back to Melbourne (HQSC).


March 1989 Resignation and resettlement to Paradise (Cairns)

Decide to stick to the long-term plan and leave the RAAF at age 45 and make the break at a high point rather than at a point of disenchantment.


Took up a local Government position associated with the Cairns region water supply that was highly enjoyable and resigned in 2000 after ten years.


Margi has continued with her art and has sold paintings that have gone all over the world.  The Daughter Michelle spent eight years in the RAAF and is now settled in Darwin Married to another “Beaver’s” (Terry Opie) son.


Now fully retired with 4WD caravan and boat and have already circumnavigated OZ.  Both healthy moderately wealthy and no regrets.


Biggest influence and assistance in my RAAF career was Bob Bartram.


Dennis Stringfellow

I left Wagga in the morning after the ball in my brand new VW and headed up to Townsville. I went there for two reasons. Firstly, I lived there and secondly, I was posted to 10 Squadron and Townsville was where the squadron was located.

I was with 10 Squadron for two years. It was a good Squadron to be in for your first go at real Instrument Fitting on real live aeroplanes. The work was varied and the trips, where you could get rid of excess money quickly, were quite frequent and interesting.

Boxing Day 1965 I left Townsville to go to Butterworth. That was a long long flight. We covered a lot of ground and water to get there but get there we did. In Butterworth, I spent a quiet time working in the squadrons, the maintenance hangar and the workshop. Weekends were spent with a couple of mates looking about the countryside and taking the odd photo or two. I went to Ubon a few times. Not much to look at there so we all had another quiet time just sitting around discussing various topics in various places of interest until we were replaced. I left Butterworth just a few days before Christmas 1968 in a much quicker jet aeroplane this time bound for ARDU.

The RAAF really knew how to hurt you. I was used to two digit type temperatures and I get posted to Melbourne. Two years passed and just as I was getting used that I was zapped off to Darwin. I didn’t complain. I packed my bags, married Lynne and took off. The work in Darwin was good, the fishing was very good but this ideal life style, only after three and a half years, was cracked back to reality with a posting back to ARDU. I must have only been on loan.

This stint in Melbourne was pretty serious stuff. Work was very interesting and also a lot to look at in Victoria. I built a caravan there and used it to see just about all there was to see. After a couple of years and two children, ARDU shifted to Adelaide. I only spent one year there. The fishing was not bad, the sand crabs excellent and the nectar to wash them down with was quite good and plentiful.

Christmas 1978 I was off to Amberley to play with Canberra planes. The work was good, the trips were different but the fishing was ordinary. After a couple of years of very interesting work in high-level photography, my discharge time was up. We built our home just south of Brisbane in 1981 and are still at the same address.

My first couple of jobs in civvy street were short and not so sweet. The first with accounting computers and accounting machines. With a little help from bad management, they went broke. The next was with photocopiers, which I hated. Same thing all day, every day. I did get cheap copies though but there comes a time when everything has been copied.

I joined a company that sold and serviced One Hour Photographic Machines. There was one ex-appy, one rad tech and an army bloke as technicians there so the work environment was good and the work was very satisfying. You never knew what problem you would be working on or where you would be working in Australia from one day to the next. After a few years though the trips away became boring. I was with this company until it folded due to bean counters not spending all the beans correctly.

 “I’ll start my own business.” I said. Two of us formed a partnership and continued on in the same field making a comfortable living looking after existing machinery. After six years my partner retired and the older machines finally became too few to continue to secure a good income. Training or information on new machines was hard to get or was very expensive. My largest customer invited me to join them so back to working for a boss again. I have since changed companies but still work in the same field.

I very rarely go fishing now. There is too much water separating the fish these days. I spend a lot of my spare time looking at old engines and machinery especially steam driven. I have built up an extensive metal and wood workshop over the years and put them to good use making children’s wooden toys. I also mutilate metal into various shapes for various causes and uses. I must have learnt something in Basic.  The long-term project is a Queensland A12 steam locomotive from about 1895.  Three years so far with a good while to go yet. Other projects controlled by the leader of the opposition keep getting top priority for some reason for which I may discover some day.

In the future I hope to retire to a bigger shed with a smaller house and no grass.