Feed aggregator


Reading Rewards - reviews -

Useful by Debra Oswald

You might expect that a book written by the creator of the TV series “Offspring” would be funny, quirky and downright enjoyable.  You’d be right.  It is all of these things and more.
“Useful” follows the story of Sullivan Moss.  

After deciding that he’s a complete waste of space, Sully manages to fall the wrong way from a ledge while trying to commit suicide.  Waking up in hospital, he’s astounded at the care of the nurses being wasted on a useless person such as himself.  With this thought, he realises that while he might be useless, his organs aren’t. Unfortunately for Sully, the process of donating a kidney is a bit more involved than walking into the Urology Department and asking them to take a kidney.

Embarking on what may be a year long journey to become a kidney donor, Sully does what he can to ensure good kidney health.  This not only means being sober, but being employed for the first time in his life, because kidneys can’t support themselves.

Full of relatable characters, budding romance, blossoming friendships and laugh out loud moments “Useful” is a book that ended far too quickly for my liking; I would have quite happily kept reading about Sully and his new friends for months.  There are no fairy tale endings for any of the characters in the book, but as in real life, there rarely are.


Secrets of Midwives

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth

Neva Bradley, a third generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy - including the identity of the baby’s father - hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s - a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all.

In a family of midwives, babies are brought into the world and secrets surface. But are some secrets best kept hidden? "

I knew nothing about this book until it was recommended to me. The stories of the three generations of midwives are fascinating, and the story is told by alternating narratives by the three main characters. I found each of the characters totally believable and its hard not to get involved in their stories. There is a little bit of everything in this novel - romance, secret lives, a death and babies being born. It will appeal to readers of women's contemporary fiction. It was an easy and most enjoyable read.


Pakenham Telephone Directory from 1973

Links to our Past - history -

In the last post I put up some pages for Cranbourne from an Interim Telephone Directory, produced when the new automatic exchanges were installed.  Click here to read this post. I have since been provided with some images from the Pakenham Gazette of June 20, 1973 showing the last days of the Pakenham Manual Exchange. The staff at the manual exchange consisted of fifteen 'girls' and the Officer-in-charge. Three of the staff were to be re-deployed and the rest retrenched. 

Last day of the manual telephone exchange at Pakenham, from the Pakenham Gazette of  June 20, 1973.  Featured in the photo are - Post Master Ray Wallis, Monitor Mrs S. Mitchell and some of the'girls' on the old exchange Mrs C. Nicholls, Mrs D. Stone, Mrs S. Cameron, Miss P. Methven and Mrs M. Lowe.  Image courtesy of  Andrew Trotter. 

Sunday is National STD day - that was Sunday June 24, 1973. This was the day telephone subscribers from Bayles, Beaconsfield Upper, Koo-Wee-Rup, Lang Lang, Nar Nar Goon, Nar Nar Goon North, Officer, Pakenham, Pakenham South, Pakenham Upper, The Gurdies and Yannathan South would be able to 'dial their own calls to many Victorian and Interstate centres just as easily as they dial local calls'.  Image courtesy of Andrew Trotter, from the Pakenham Gazette of June 20, 1973.

Here are the Pakenham pages from the Interim Telephone Directory produced in 1973 - about 1,000 subscribers in all. Click to enlarge images.

If you want to look at the pages from the Interim Telephone Directory for Cranbourne, click here

The Heineken Story

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Heineken Story: the remarkably refreshing tale of the beer that conquered the world, by Barbara Smit

Taking us on a journey from a small family brewery in Amsterdam in 1864 to the present day, The Heineken Story tells the remarkable and sometimes controversial true story of one of the world's largest brewing companies, and of Alfred 'Freddy' Heineken, the singular businessman who secured its position. 

From spectacular takeovers and inspired marketing campaigns, to a kidnapping that brought in the largest ransom ever paid for an individual, this is a gripping account of the battle for the international beer market. 

I was attracted to this book for two reasons: I am married to a beer connoisseur, and the words “famous kidnapping” in the summary on the back of the book intrigued me. 

As I had not known that the owner of one of the world’s biggest companies was kidnapped in 1983 and an enormous ransom of 15 million euros paid for his release, I thought the story was worth investigating. I was not disappointed as the transformation of the Heineken company from a small family brewery in Amsterdam in 1864 into today’s multibillion dollar multinational business is fascinating. Full of takeovers, marketing campaigns and corporate skulduggery, the Heineken story is enthralling, even if you don’t know the difference between a Carlsberg and a Budweiser.


Cranbourne Telephone Directory from the early 1970s.

Links to our Past - history -

I came across an 'Interim Telephone Directory' for the local area. I'd say it was from the early 1970s and covers part of the 59 area - Lang Lang  to Cranbourne, Officer to Nar Nar Goon.  It was produced when the new automatic telephone exchanges and STD (Subscriber Truck Dialling) came in. Here are the pages from Cranbourne - it's just over 3 pages long - about 800 subscribers. I wonder how many telephones there are in Cranbourne now?

Click on each image to enlarge them.

Here are the instructions, so you know how to make STD calls!

The Dressmaker

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott

From the cover: A spirited woman survives the sinking of the Titanic only to find herself embroiled in the tumultuous aftermath of that great tragedy. Tess is one of the last people to escape into a lifeboat. When an enterprising reporter turns her employer, Lady Duff Gordon, into an object of scorn, Tess is torn between loyalty and the truth.

I wasn't particularly keen to relive this maritime tragedy having seen Leonardo Di Caprio's Titanic one too many times. However, thankfully, the actual tragedy is just briefly covered in Chapter 2. The bulk of The Dressmaker focuses on its aftermath.

The story centres around Tess Collins, an ambitious young woman, who manages to secure her passage on the Titanic as a personal maid to Lady Duff Gordon, a world-famous dress designer and a real figure in the tragedy. Luckily, being on the first-class deck, they both made it onto lifeboats. Lady Duff Gordon's boat, containing just 12 people, became known as The Millionaires Boat, and a topic of much debate during inquiries.

The author, a Washington journalist, made use of real testimony from the transcripts of the US Senate hearings that were held immediately following the disaster. Kate Alcott's story focuses on a puzzle at the heart of this tragedy: why did only one lifeboat go back after the ship went down and make an attempt to save those dying in the water? Her plucky character Pinky Wade, a female journalist at the New York Times, adds a spark to the story and gives an insight into the workings of a newsroom in 1912. I enjoyed this aspect of the story as Pinky struggles to care for her ailing father, cover the big stories of the day, and fight for equal pay.

As the truth about the tragedy is slowly revealed, Tess is forced to choose between her mentor and her conscience. She also has romantic decisions that need to be made, with two very different suitors pursuing her.

The Dressmaker's fashion focus gives it wide appeal but the novel does explore some serious dilemmas. What would you have done? Would you have left your husband on board to die while you jumped on a lifeboat? Would you have risked capsizing your lifeboat to drag drowning people from the sea? What defines a coward or a hero?

Sandra E

The Killer Next Door

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood

From the cover:  No. 23 has a secret. In this gloomy, bedsit-riddled south London wreck, lorded over by a lecherous landlord, a horrifying collection quietly waits to be discovered. Yet all six residents have something to hide.

Collette is on the run from her ex-boss; Cher is an under-age children’s-home escapee; while a gorgeous Iranian asylum seeker and a ‘quiet man’ nobody sees try to keep themselves hidden. And there for them all is Vesta, a woman who knows everything that goes on in the house – or thought she did.

Then in the dead of the night, a terrible accident pushes the neighbours into an uneasy alliance. But one of them is a killer, expertly hiding their pastime, all the while closing in on the next victim….

It is easy to feel for the residents of No. 23 Beulah Grove. As the plot exposes how many lonely individuals can fall through the cracks, ending up alone, friendless, with no family and no hope. Alex Marwood goes to a lot of trouble to ensure the reader has a deep understanding of each resident and what they have to hide, but without giving away who the murderer is.

It is a compelling thriller webbed with disturbing and even horrifying content. Each character is rich with social disquiet and trust issues. And this was before they all found out that one of them was in fact a serial killer. A serial killer with an interest in Egyptian embalming techniques!

I found this book a real page-turner and was engrossed from start to finish. For those who enjoy psychological thrillers this is worth a read. It would be of interest to readers who enjoy authors like Mo Hayder and Ruth Rendell.

~ Narelle

Vale Colleen McCullough

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Vale Colleen McCullough:  The larger-than-life popular author passed away yesterday, Thursday 29 January, in a Norfolk Island hospital.

Initially wanting to be a doctor, an allergy to the antiseptic soap used in surgery saw her switch to neuroscience. Colleen then worked in the Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney and the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London, UK before moving to the USA as a teacher and researcher in neurology at Yale Medical School. She starting fiction writing while there, first coming to notice with her book Tim which was made into a movie starring Mel Gibson.  She then followed up with The Thorn Birds in 1977 which went on to sell around 30 million copies worldwide and was made into a TV series starring Richard Chamberlain, Bryan Brown and Rachel Ward.

Her success allowed her to concentrate on writing fulltime, and after marrying Ric Robinson, a descendant of original Norfolk Island settlers, they moved to the Island permanently where she wrote continuously for decades, producing such varying works like love stories - An Indecent Obsession and The Ladies of Missalonghi; the post-apocalyptic A Creed for the Third Millennium; a seven-novel series - Masters of Rome; a biography of NSW governor, Sir Roden Cutler; and five stories featuring Carmine Delmonico, an American small town detective.  Her last work was published in 2013 - Bittersweet, a 1920-30s saga about two sets of twins.

Shona Martyn, Publishing Director, says, ‘For all of us at HarperCollins it was a privilege to work with Col. Her determination to keep writing (via dictation) despite a string of challenging health and eyesight problems was an inspiration. Ever quick-witted and direct, we looked forward to her visits from Norfolk Island and to the arrival of each new manuscript delivered in hard copy in custom-made maroon manuscript boxes inscribed with her name! We will miss her dearly. The world is a less colourful place without Col.


Victorian Premier's Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were inaugurated by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. The Awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas on behalf of the Premier of Victoria, and are in the following categories.  The winners are:

$25,000 The Prize for Fiction - To Name Those Lost by Rohan Wilson 
$25,000 The Prize for Non-fiction - The Europeans in Australia: Volume Three: Nation by Alan Atkinson 
$25,000 The Prize for Drama - Resplendence by Angus Cerini $25,000 The Prize for Poetry - The Beautiful Anxiety by Jill Jones 
$25,000 The Prize for Writing for Young Adults -  The Protected by Claire Zorn

The winners of these five categories contested the Victorian Prize for Literature – worth $100,000 - and the award went to non-fiction prize winner, Sydney historian Alan Atkinson. 

People’s Choice:  Where Song Began by Tim Low


Dreams of The Good Life

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Dreams of The Good Life: the life of Flora Thompson and the creation of Lark Rise to Candleford by Richard Mabey

This is the story of the author who wrote the English literature classic Lark Rise to Candleford. Unfortunately she is far less renowned than her crowning achievement! 

While Flora Thompson's much-loved portrait of life in the nineteenth-century countryside has inspired a hit television series, relatively little is known about the author herself. 

In this highly original book, bestselling biographer and nature writer Richard Mabey sympathetically retraces her life and her transformation from a post-office clerk who left school at fourteen to a sophisticated professional writer. Mabey shows how her legacy emerged from the creative tension between two different dreams of the good life. While her work's appeal comes from her commemoration of the virtues of traditional village life, just when these values were being eroded by the advance of urbanisation, her own history consisted chiefly of an escape from this culture and a hunger to become a different kind of person, a writer with her sights on the skies. Above all, this book helps us understand how the creation of a formidable imagination can arise from the humblest of beginnings.

Fans of the series Lark Rise to Candleford or those who have read the books might enjoy this biography of Flora Thompson who wrote the original books.   Lark Rise is about village life in England in time of change, the rural life that many saw as a simpler time.  Mabey tells of Flora’s escape from this life and her transformation from a working class girl to a professional writer. Mabey is a naturalist and biographer who does a great job telling this story.  


A Week in Winter

Reading Rewards - reviews -

A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
From the catalogue:  Stoneyville is a small town on the coast of Ireland where all the families know each other. When Chicky decides to take an old decaying mansion, Stone House, and turn it into a restful place for a holiday by the sea, the town thinks she is crazy. She is helped by Rigger- a bad boy turned good who is handy around the place, and her niece Orla, a whiz at business. Finally the first week of paying guests arrive: John, the American movie star thinks he has arrived incognito; Winnie and Lillian, forced into taking a holiday together; Nicola and Henry, husband and wife, both doctors who have been shaken by seeing too much death; Anders, the Swedish boy, hates his father's business, but has a real talent for music; Miss Nell Howe, a retired school teacher, who criticizes everything and leaves a day early, much to everyone's relief; the Walls who have entered in 200 contests (and won everything from a microwave oven to velvet curtains, including the week at Stone House); and Freda, the psychic who is afraid of her own visions; and others. You will laugh and cry as you spend the week with this odd group who share their secrets and might even have some of their dreams come true.  The literary world took a huge hit when it lost one of Ireland’s best and most beloved authors, Maeve Binchy.  This book was her last before she passed away in July 2012.   Binchy wrote with warmth about locations she knew best and populated them with a mix of characters – one of her most-loved writing traits.
It’s been years since I read a Binchy novel and I did enjoy meeting her people with their all-too-human flaws. And I loved the landscape - the crashing Atlantic sea on the rocks below the hotel, the seabirds and the rugged walks, while inside the warmth of the fire, Gloria the kitten curled up and the homely kitchen beckon.  But the way this book was constructed was like slamming two different novels into one, bang, then publishing it!
The first half concentrated on Chicky Starr, her story, and how she forged the decrepit Stone House into a warm and welcoming hotel by the sea.  The second half tells all the individual stories of each guest and how they come to be there during the opening week. The tenses were different, the voice was different, and that’s where it lost a lot of charm for me.
Narrated by the talented Caroline Lennon, her delightfully lilting Irish accent complemented the book beautifully so I can recommend the audio version for those who just simply want to lose themselves in the last novel from the Binchy pen.
We have this book in hard copy, large print, Playaway and CD formats.

Nancy Wake

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Nancy Wake: a biography of our greatest war heroine by Peter FitzSimons

Australia Day...  and a fitting time for a book review of Australia's most decorated* World War II heroine - the legendary Nancy Wake.

Born in Wellington, New Zealand, on 30 August 1912, Nancy Wake's family moved to Australia and settled at North Sydney when she was 2 years old. In the early 1930s, Nancy Wake was a young woman enjoying a bohemian life in Paris. By the end of the Second World War, she was the Gestapo's most wanted person.

Her courier job became a highly successful escape network for Allied soldiers, perfectly camouflaged by Nancy's high-society life in Marseille. Her network was soon so successful - and so notorious - that she was forced to flee France to escape the Gestapo, who had dubbed her 'the white mouse' for her knack of slipping through its traps.

But Nancy was a passionate enemy of the Nazis and refused to stay away. Supplying weapons and training members of a powerful underground fighting force, organising Allied parachute drops, cycling four hundred kilometres across a mountain range to find a new transmitting radio - nothing seemed too difficult in her fight against the Nazis.

This book was a pleasant surprise.  As it is a biography, I was expecting something reasonably dry, more a factual documentation, but it is written in FitzSimons' typical style - light, easy-to-digest, something more akin to fiction than non-fiction.  This may rankle some biog aficionados, but I liked it.  Overall, this Bolinda e-Audio download is well worth a listen and Stephanie Daniel narrates it well, handling the many accents with aplomb. We also have this title in other audio formats - MP3, CD and Playaway, and hard print.

*Companion of the Order of Australia
United Kingdom George Medal
Commonwealth of Nations 1939–1945 Star
France & Germany Star
United Kingdom Defence Medal
United Kingdom War Medal 1939–1945
French Republic Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur
French Republic Officier de la Légion d'Honneur
French Republic Croix de Guerre
United States of America Medal of Freedom
French Republic Médaille de la Résistance
Badge In Gold - New Zealand

This Changes Everything

Reading Rewards - reviews -

This Changes Everything: capitalism vs the climate by Naomi Klein

In her most provocative book yet, Naomi Klein tackles the most profound threat humanity has ever faced: the war our economic model is waging against life on earth. Klein exposes the myths that are clouding the climate debate. 

You have been told the market will save us, when in fact the addiction to profit and growth is digging us in deeper every day. You have been told it's impossible to get off fossil fuels when in fact we know exactly how to do it - it just requires breaking every rule in the "free-market" playbook: reining in corporate power, rebuilding local economies and reclaiming our democracies. You have also been told that humanity is too greedy and selfish to rise to this challenge. In fact, all around the world, the fight back for the next economy is already succeeding in ways both surprising and inspiring. Climate change, Klein argues, is a civilizational wake-up call, a powerful message delivered in the language of fires, floods, storms, and droughts. Confronting it is no longer about changing the light bulbs. It's about changing the world - before the world changes so drastically that no one is safe. Either we leap - or we sink. 

I admit I am a Naomi Klein fan, so picked up her latest effort with glee and was not disappointed. Klein convincingly argues that the root cause of climate change and the failure of humanity to adequately deal with it lies in the western free-market economic model. It is capitalism which has fostered the exploitation of the earth’s resources to the point of possible human extinction, and therefore the solution to the carbon crisis lies with transforming the global political system to break free of our slavish devotion to fossil fuels. And Klein also argues convincingly that this task is definitely do-able, quoting recent reports and investigations which prove it. While much of the narrative is grim, there is also a very positive case to argue that the chances of humanity saving itself are good – IF we take heed and act now.


Beaconsfield War Memorial

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

The Beaconsfield War Memorial was officially opened on Saturday March, 13 1920 by General Brand. At the opening ceremony, the President of the Memorial Committee, Mr W. Nixon said that he was proud of the fact that 33 men had enlisted from there. All regretted that 9 of these had been called upon to make the Supreme Sacrifice. 

Pakenham Gazette March 19, 1920

The Memorial only has the names of the nine men who did not return, and they are listed below with their Service Numbers (SN) so you can look up their full record on the National Archives of Australia website.
Bragg, Arthur Robert (SN 2564) Arthur was 39 when he enlisted on August 2, 1915. His next of kin was his wife, Emily, who owned the Central Hotel in Beaconsfield. He was reported missing in France on July 28, 1916 and  a later Court of Enquiry determined that he had been Killed in Action on July 19, 1914. We have come  across Arthur before in this blog as he was in a list of men who had played football for Berwick and who enlisted. You can read about these footballers and Arthur and a fairly salacious report about his divorce from Emily here
Childs, Albert George  (SN 2599)  Albert enlisted on July 7, 1915. He was born in England and was a 29 year old dairyman. His father was his next of kin, from Bridport in Dorset where Albert was born, His address on the Nominal Roll is Primrose Park, Beaconsfield, however he is listed as living at Nar Nar Goon in the 1914 Electoral Roll and so he is also honoured on the Nar Nar Goon Honour Roll which is at the Nar Nar Goon Public Hall.
Christie, John Leslie  (SN 3054) He was listed as L. Christie on the Memorial, so it seems like he was known as Leslie, so that's what we will call him.  Leslie was born in Lang Lang and was 25 years old when he enlisted on July 22, 1915. His next of kin was his father, William Christie of Beaconsfield.  Leslie was listed as missing and a Court of Enquiry determined that he was Killed in Action on July 19, 1916, in France. 
Dineley, Edward Bernard (SN 1151)  Edward was born in Charters Towers and was a 22 year old engineer when he enlisted on Match 22, 1916. His next of kin was his mother, Mary Dineley, who had the Cardinia Park Hotel at Beaconsfield.  Edward was Wounded in Action in Belgium and he died from these wounds on September 22, 1917.

Beaconsfield War  MemorialPhotograph courtesy of the  Casey Cardinia Remembers websitewww.caseycardiniaremembers.org.au
Harbour, Herbert Joel  (SN 3337) Herbert enlisted on July 19, 1915.  He was 27 years old, born in Beaconsfield and his next of kin was his father, John, of Beaconsfield. Herbert was Killed in Action, in France, on February 2, 1917.
Manning, George William Harold (SN 219)  George enlisted on August 17, 1914. He was 20 year old salesman. His next of kin was his father, J.G Manning of Beaconsfield. I presume this is John Goodyear Manning, who is listed in the 1914 Electoral roll at Beaconsfield.  George died of wounds, which were received whilst fighting at Gallopoli,  on August 8, 1915. 
McNaughton, Hugh (SN 3869b)  Hugh enlisted on August 2, 1915. He was 31 and his next of kin was his mother, Mary McNaughton of Beaconsfield. Hugh was Wounded in Action on October 16, 1917, suffering gun shot wounds to the head and arm. He was sent back to Australia on the hospital ship, the Euripides, which reached Melbourne on March 21, 1918.  He was discharged from the AIF on May 1, 1918 and died at the Caulfield Hospital on May 16, 1918.
Osborne, James Patrick (SN 2733)  James was born in Walhalla and enlisted on August 2, 1915 aged 36. His next of kin was his mother, Bridget Osborne, of 'Lower Beaconsfield', I assume some people still called the town around the Railway Station that to distinguish it from Upper Beaconsfield. James was Killed in Action in France on August 19, 1916.
Tucker, John Frederick  (SN 2795)  John was an orphan and he enlisted at the age of 22 on August 2, 1915. his next of kin was listed as his employee, Mr A. W Shorthouse of Upper Beaconsfield. There is an Arthur William Shorthouse in the  Electoral Rolls, so I believe this is him.  John was Killed in Action in Belgium on September 3, 1916. There is a letter on his service file at the National Archives, from Mr Shorthouse, requesting John's medals. Mr Shorthouse said that John had no blood relations and had lived and worked with him for eight years, prior to which he was an Orphanage boy. The AIF would not give him the medals as the Deceased Soldiers' Estate Act had  a prescribed list of whom the medals were to go to (they had to go to a blood relation) and suggested that Mr Shorthouse get a Statutory Declaration setting out his claim. This was in March 1921 and the file does not tell us whether Mr Shorthouse was successful.

Circle Line

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Circle Line : around London in a small boat by Steffan Meyric Hughes

Join the editor of Classic Boat magazine as he sets sail around London, glides through historical monuments, and unearths long-forgotten secrets from beneath the waterways.

In 1969, man flew to the moon and sailed around the world solo. In 2009, sailor and Londoner Steffan Meyric Hughes thought he'd try something a little closer to home and became the first to sail and row around London in a small boat. Along the way, he discovered not only history of the great city but great secrets of the mysterious Thames: wrecks, bombs, and intrigue. This is the story of a unique journey on the forgotten waterways of one of the world's greatest capitals; an investigation into the way we live today; and a humorous, moving trip down memory lane.

Here's one for the armchair traveller with a taste for the unusual.  There are lots of yarns to enjoy about people who live around the water, the history of these areas and of course, the city that they pass through.  It's a very engaging book and easy to read.


Bunyip Methodist Church Roll of Honour

Casey-Cardinia 1914-1918: the Great War -

The Bunyip Methodist Church Roll of Honour is in the Uniting Church at Bunyip. The Bunyip Methodist Church was in High Street, just up from the Post Office, and officially opened on October 8, 1899 and by 1902 the Church had been lined, a new porch added and,  later, a Vestry added. The Church closed in the 1970s and was later demolished.

Bunyip Methodist ChurchSource: Call of the Bunyip by Denise Nest.
There are 25 names on the Honour Roll and I did naturally expect that they might all have been Methodists , however only 12 were. Five said they were Church of England, four were Presbyterian, one was Catholic and one was Baptist and two had no religion stated. So either the Bunyip Methodists were a very ecumenical lot or else there were some mistakes made at the time. Either way this is an interesting list and is an example of one of the thousands of Honour Boards established after the War by churches, schools and businesses.

Here is a list of the 25 servicemen and their Service Number (SN) so you can look up their full record on the National Archives of Australia website www.naa.gov.au  If you want to read about the other men from Bunyip who enlisted and are on the Bunyip War Memorial, then click here.
Barnett, Charles Henry  (SN 1673) Charles was born in 1896 in Bunyip. In June 1912 he signed up to Royal Australian Navy for seven years. He was on the Cerberus, the Protector and the Sydney. He was in Navy until 1921.  Charles and Clifford, below, were the sons of William and Emma (nee Mills) They were at Bunyip  from at least 1896 when Charles was born and were on the Electoral Roll at Bunyip  to 1912, but not on the Roll in 1914.

Barnett, Clifford (SN  2257)  Clifford was born in 1898 and he joined the Royal Australian Navy in October 1912, perhaps inspired by his brother, Charles, above. He was on the Tingira, the Australia, the Platypus and the Cerberus. Clifford was in the Navy until 1923.

Bastin,  John Alfred (SN 2339)  John was born in Bunyip and was a fisherman. He enlisted on January 7, 1916 and his next of kin was his father, Alfred Bastin. He Returned to Australia on March 14, 1919. His stated religion was Church of England.

Campigli, Donald Hugh (SN 7460)  Donald  enlisted on December 11, 1914 and served in Gallipoli where he was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal, was later at Dardenelles, and was discharged February 1916 but then rejoined  on July 16, 1917 and Returned to Australia April 1920.   On his second enlistment he was  one of the 'Sportsmen's Thousand' a 1917 campaign to encourage sportsmen to join the AIF. His father, James, was the Station Master at Bunyip from February 1901 to May 1904 but the family had been in Bunyip earlier than that as Donald was born there in 1896. His stated religion was Presbyterian.

Australian War Memorial collection ARTV00026
Dale,  Charles Coning.  Lieutenant Dale enlisted on November 3, 1914. His next of Kin was his wife, Sibyl,  of Canning Street, North Carlton. Charles was a soldier and had already spent three years at the Royal Military College at Duntroon.   He was Killed in Action August 7, 1915 at Gallipoli. Charles was born in Longwarry in 1894 and his parents, James and Elizabeth,  are on the 1903 Electoral roll at Bunyip. His stated religion was Presbyterian. Charles left behind a widow who had the delightful name of Sybil Daffodill (nee Wootten) whom he married in 1914. They had  a little girl, Valda Rita, who was born in 1915. Did he ever get to see his daughter? I suspect not as he left Australia on February 25, 1915.

Forsyth,  Robert Bruce   (SN 203) Robert enlisted on August 18, 1914. He was the son of William Forsyth of Bunyip. According to Call of the Bunyip, William had worked on the drainage of the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp and Robert was born near Five Mile (Koo-Wee-Rup North) William was allocated  a block on the Main Drain near the Juction bridge.  William was the Superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School as well as being a member of the Salvation Army. In spite of this, Robert said he was a Presbyterian when he enlisted.  Robert was twice mentioned in Dispatches and was awarded the Military Cross. Captain Forsyth Returned to Australia November 6, 1918.

Heatley Edward (SN 6945a)  Listed as Heatly on the Honour Roll. Edward enlisted on October 19, 1917. He was a farm labourer and his next of kin was his father, William, of Bunyip. His stated religion was Roman Catholic. He Returned to Australia on July 1, 1919.

Heatley, William Henry (SN 246 and 5603) Listed as H, Heatly on the Honour Roll, so we will call him Henry.  Henry enlisted on December 24, 1914 was discharged on June 18, 1915 as he was medically unfit due to 'small multiple subcutaneaous tremors and variciceie'. He re-enlisted on February 8, 1916, served in France and then  Returned to Australia on November 5, 1917. He was discharged from the AIF in August 1918 as he was medically unfit due to 'multiple lipomata and debility'. His father William Heatley of Bunyip was his next of kin, though this later changed to his wife Muriel. His stated religion was Church of England. In spite of the difference of religion I believe that Edward (above) and Henry were brothers - the sons of William and Margaret (nee Hannan).

Jenkin,  Samuel  (SN 6533)  Samuel and his wife Alexandrina lived in Bunyip and he enlisted on October 4, 1915.  He was a farmer. He Returned to Australia on May 4, 1919. His stated religion was Methodist.

Jewell,  John George (SN 55)   John enlisted on August 22, 1914. He Returned to Australia on January 23, 1918. John was born in Bunyip and his next of kin was his father, William, of Bunyip, although the 1914 Electoral Roll have William and his wife Elizabeth at Tonimbuk. Call of the Bunyip  says that the Jewells had fifty acres as part of the Tonimbuk Village Settlement Scheme and they arrived at Tonimbuk around 1892. John's stated religion was Church of England.

Masters,  Percy Thomas (SN 1777 or 1580) Percy enlisted on January 4, 1915. Percy was awarded the Military Medal. He Returned to Australia on March 9, 1919. He was the son of  William and Clara Masters of Bunyip. His stated religion was Methodist.

Miles,  Eric Clive  (SN 3733)  Eric was born in Bunyip and he enlisted on December 15, 1917, when he was 18 years old. His next of kin was his father, Henry Miles of  Bunyip.  He Returned to Australia on July 1, 1919. His stated religion was Methodist.

Miles,  Ronald Birkett  (SN 2715) Ronald enlisted on August 2, 1915, when he was 20.   His parents were William and Mary Miles of Bunyip.  He Returned to Australia on December 21, 1918. His stated religion was Methodist.

Miles, William Joseph  (SN 3388) William was 29 when he enlisted on November 4, 1916 . He was a farmer from Bunyip and his wife Harriet was his next of kin. William was born at Mt Doran, as well  Ronald, above, so I assume they were brothers.  He Returned to Australia on July 13, 1919.   His stated religion was Methodist.

Bunyip Methodist Church Honour Roll
Morrison,  George Alfred   (SN 2135) George enlisted at Bunyip on July 27, 1915. His next of kin was his mother, Sarah Morrison of Bunyip. George was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. He Returned to Australia April 19, 1919. His stated religion was Methodist.

Mouser,  George   Lieutenant George Mouser  enlisted on May 1, 1916. He Returned to Australia on July 24, 1919. His next of kin was his father, John Mouser of Narre Warren. John was the Station Master at Narre Warren from July 1915 to August 1918 and had also been the Station Master at Beaconsfield from June 1912 to March 1914.  John is listed on the 1903 Electoral Roll at Bunyip, occupation Railway employee, so that's the Bunyip connection. George is also honoured on the Narre Warren War Memorial. His stated religion was Methodist.

Pomeroy,  Alfred John (SN 2745)  Alfred was born at Beulah and he enlisted on March 21, 1916. His next of kin was his father Richard of Barrow Street in Brunswick. His stated religion was Methodist. He Returned to Australia on July 1, 1919. What is his Bunyip connection?  Richard and Sarah Pomeroy are listed in the 1903 and 1909 Electoral Rolls at Bunyip South (Iona); in the Victorian Births Index there is an Alfred John born in 1893 to a Richard and Sarah Pomeroy at Beulah, so I am convinced that Alfred is our man. It would seem that Richard and Sarah are some of the hundreds of families that moved to the Koo-Wee-Rup Swamp in the 1890s and early 1900s due to the availability of land.

Ransom,  Harry  (SN 6366)   Harry was a 19 year old postal assistant when he enlisted on July 21, 1916. He Returned to Australia on December 11, 1918. His stated religion was Methodist. His next of kin was his father, Harry, who was then Station Master at Tallarook. Harry senior had been the Station Master at Bunyip from June 1908 to November 1910, so it is likely that Harry and his brother Herbert, see below, attended school at Bunyip.

Ransom,  Herbert William (SN 128) Herbert enlisted on August 18, 1914. He was 19 and like his brother, Harry, above, he was also a postal employee. At the time he enlisted his father was at Maffra. His stated religion was Baptist. Herbert suffered a gun shot wound to the abdomen and the bullet was still in his body as an operation was not considered necessary. Harry was discharged from the AIF on medical grounds and Returned to Australia on October 8, 1915.  

Spence, James Sinclair (SN 10339) James was 30 when he enlisted on August 2, 1915. He was an Inspector at the Melbourne & Metropolitan Board of Works. His next of was his wife Jessie. He Returned to Australia on May 11, 1918. His stated religion was Methodist.  James, Malcolm and Russell (see below) were brothers. They were the sons of James and Zillah (nee Ward) Spence, who came to Bunyip in 1892. Both James and Zillah had died  by the time their sons enlisted.  (Information from Call of the Bunyip) The three boys all stated that they were Methodists on their enlistment papers.

Spence, Malcolm (SN 4614) Malcolm enlisted on August 31, 1915, his next of kin was his sister, Harriet Walker of Bunyip. He was 22 years of age and was a postal employee. He was Killed in Action, in France, on July, 20, 1916.  Malcolm is the brother of James and Russell. Malcolm is also listed on the Bunyip War Memorial.

Spence,  Russell Ayres (SN 3555)  Was enlisted when he was 19, on July 8, 1915. He was a taxi driver and his cousin was his next of kin. He suffered from various wounds and diseases and was still in hospital in England in 1919. He is listed in the 1924 Electoral roll at Footscray, so obviously came back to Australia. He later had a farm in Bunyip and he was the Superintendent of the Methodist Sunday School.  Russell is the brother of James and Malcolm.

Wheeler,  Ernest James (SN 22329)  Ernest enlisted  on January 10, 1916 His next of kin was his mother, Henrietta Wheeler of Bunyip. Ernest was a tile maker from Mitchum and he Returned to Australia May 29, 1919.  His stated religion was Church of England.

Withington,  Robert Charles     Major Withington was a Medical Practitioner who enlisted on December 2, 1915 at the age of 41.   He Returned to Australia March 16, 1919.   According to Call of the Bunyip, Dr Withington was Bunyip's first resident doctor. Robert, his wife Eleanor and daughter, Rewa, and had arrived there in 1904 from Fiji where he had been a Missionary Doctor. They had two other daughters, Irene and Elizabeth, born when they were at Bunyip.  Call of the Bunyip also says that Dr Withington held the distinction of being the first person in the Bunyip district to suffer in a motor accident when his car was hit by a passenger train. His stated religion on his enlistment paper was Presbyterian, however Call of the Bunyip says that the family was Methodist. After the family lived at St Georges Road in Elsternwick.

Williams,  Thomas Trevor (SN 7575)  Thomas was born in Bunyip and enlisted on July 18, 1917. His next of was his father, Benjamin, who lived in Elsternwick. He was 18 years and 2 months old at the time of his enlistment. He Returned to Australia on March 21, 1919. His stated religion was Church of England.

When the Devil Drives

Reading Rewards - reviews -

When the Devil Drives by Chris Brookmyre
From the cover: Private Investigator Jasmine Sharp has been hired to find Tessa Garrion, a young woman who vanished without trace.  What begins as a simple search awakens a malevolence that has lain dormant for three decades.  As Jasmine uncovers a hidden history of sex, drugs, ritualism and murder, she realises she may need a little help from the dark side herself if she’s going to get to the truth. 
This novel is the second featuring PI Jasmine Sharp and Detective Superintendent Catherine McLeod, the first being Where the Bodies are Buried.  And from various Brookmyre fans comes the general consensus of opinion that he’s on a bit of a downhill slide.  
Not having read the first one, I can only put forward my opinion that this book is OK, a relatively pedestrian read and a bit of a letdown when compared to the blurb above which sounds like there’s going to be some paranormal goings on.  There isn’t.  Set in Scotland and with myriad accents, narrator Sarah Barron does well, bringing colour to the somewhat one dimensional story.  Our 21 years old protagonist, Jasmine, has potential but just doesn’t ramp up any feelings of “go girl!!”  This book is not bad, it’s just a bit 'ho hum'.  We have this title in hard copy, large print, audio CD, playaway and e-Audio formats. Deb.

Premier's Literary Awards

Reading Rewards - reviews -

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards were inaugurated by the Victorian Government in 1985 to honour literary achievement by Australian writers. The Awards are administered by the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas on behalf of the Premier of Victoria.

Fiction – $25,000 The Prize for Fiction
Non-fiction – $25,000 The Prize for Non-fiction
Drama – $25,000 The Prize for Drama
Poetry – $25,000 The Prize for Poetry
Young Adult – $25,000 The Prize for Writing for Young Adults

The winners of these five categories will contest the Victorian Prize for Literature – worth $100,000 - and will be announced on Wednesday 28 January.  Here's your last chance to vote, CLICK HERE.

Last Man Off

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Last Man Off by Matthew Lewis

From the cover:  The waters of Antarctica, June 6th 1998. 23-year-old Matt Lewis has just started his dream job. An observer aboard a deep sea fishing boat, he is mesmerized by his new surroundings: glistening icebergs, killer whales and majestic albatross. As the crew haul in the longline for the day, the waves seem bigger than usual - they are casting shadows on the deck. A storm is brewing. What follows is an astonishing story of human courage, folly and tragedy. With the captain missing, and the crew forced to abandon ship, Lewis leads the escape onto three life rafts, where the battle for survival begins. 

This was a fascinating look at a subject I've never given a thought to - longline fishing on the southern ocean for Patagonian Toothfish!  

If you remember that solo sailor, Tony Bullimore, who got himself lost down there a few years back, you will recall just how far away from everything and how dangerous that particular patch of water is! The Falklands are hundreds of miles away, Chile is a little closer, and Antarctica's South Georgia island is your best bet if you're in trouble, only 200 nautical miles as the crow flies.  So if you're bopping about the briny in a little patch of rubber, you wouldn't be feeling too positive about a happy ending.  

The sheer of size the area; the challenges of having an international crew and the language barrier that presented; the short-cuts regarding regulations, safety gear, and modifications to the boat; the weather - a force 7 gale, 10 metre waves, blowing ice and and snow on the water; and the blatant incompetence by the skipper  ... all these things combined to create a disaster of epic proportions. 

I borrowed the Playaway format and Malcolm Hamilton narrated the book well, handling the many accents with aplomb.  We also have this book in hard copy, large print and CD audio format.  This hour-by-hour account will be enjoyed by readers of non-fiction classics such as 'A Perfect Storm' and 'Touching the Void'.

Mateship with Birds

Reading Rewards - reviews -

Mateship With Birds by Carrie Tiffany

Set in Victoria in the 1950s, Mateship With Birds tells the story of the developing relationship between a lonely dairy farmer and a nurse who is raising two children on her own. But it also tells the story of the local kookaburra family through the eyes of the dairy farmer. 

This book has the quintessential innocence of the 1950s Australia and resonated with me as my sister lives in Echuca, raises her children on her own and works at the local hospital. I have spent time there at her farm and amongst the birds.

This is Tiffany's second novel and it was selected for the $40,000 NSW Premier's Award. The author's success came soon after also taking out the inaugural Stella Prize for Australian women's writing. 

The Stella prize for female authors is quite controversial as it was established to recompense the disparity of male winners in the Miles Franklin Award. Ironically Stella is Miles Franklin’s first name - Stella Maria Miles Franklin. Tiffany is an agricultural newspaper writer by trade and has travelled a lot in the country observing the lives of country people. This is a warm easy read, soft gentle and funny. 

Sandra S


Subscribe to Casey Cardinia Libraries aggregator