"And so the adventures begin....." robyngk's Profile
I was born in Seymour, in central Victoria in June 1960. My father was in the army and posted at Site 18 just out of town where he had met my mother some 5 years earlier - she being the daughter of his army Captain. I have two big sisters Lynette & Jenny and some 13 years later lost my title as "Baby of the Family" when my baby brother arrived as a very big suprise to everyone. With Dad in the army we were transfered about every 2 years in and out of state so my travel years began very early on - by the age of 4 I had already lived in 3 states in Australia. We spent a lot of my childhood in Seymour where we returned each time to my gransparents place when Dad was transfered overseas firstly as part of the South Pacific Peace Keeping Corp to Bourgainville in New Guinea and later to Vietnam. Living in Victoria itself gave us some great opportunities to travel on weekends sometime up to the high country and the snow fields and even over the border into NSW just for a picnic lunch. We spent 2 years in Adelaide where dad was based and on any long weekends we would travel back to Victoria to visit my Grandparents or meet them half way sometime in places like Port McDonald. Travel to all of us was such an adventure and mum and dad would make it all so exciting for us along the way so we never got bored or grumpy with the hours we would spend in the car - there were alway singalongs, "I Spy" and if we were really lucky dad would recite "A letter etched in Black" or "The Highway Man" which we all thought were incredibly exciting - I had visions of a wonderful life as a bushranger or such when I was about 4 years old!!!
By the time I turned 1 dad had been transfered to the army barracks near Wagga Wagga in NSW where we remained for just on 2 years. I don't remember anything much about Kapooka except that it was a place Mum hated. I am not sure if the memory of the possum falling out of the tree onto me on my swing is indeed a memory or just that the story was told so many times when i was growing up that is seems very vivid to me now - after all i was only 2 years old at the time!!!
Out of the blue came a posting for Dad to go as part of the Pacific Island Peace Keeping Corp to Bourganville in New Guinea. At the time Mum and us 3 girls were all to join him on this posting and set about learning to talk Pidgin English etc ready for the trip. Unfortunately for us another uprising happened only 2 weeks before we were to leave so Dad was told he would have to leave us behind and take up the post on his own. To this day i still have the urge to travel to New Guinea and see the country that so facinated me when dad came home with his slides of where he had been and some of the native tribes etc in full regailia. One day I hope to get there but I think the best days have probably passed and I doubt I will see the true tribal costumes that were on my dad's slides. The year after Dad returned from PNG we were transfered to South Australia and went along to the Royal Show as we had been told that the PNG Army band were the special guests that year. All hell broke loose when during their performance they spotted Dad in the crown, some broke rank and came yelling and sceaming across the parade ground, crying and shouting "Him big white fella stop along me" meaning "This man is my friend" - it is a memory that is with me when ever I hear any mention of New Guinea.
We were all really happy when our transfer came through to Adelaide where we spent a great 2 1/2 year living in Secombe Gardens. We had such a great time in Adelaide and I have some great memories of some of our adventures there - or at least some of mine - getting my head stuck in the iron railing down on the Torrens River because I got impatient waiting for the "Popeye" ferry to arrive and I wanted to see up the river if it was coming - the worse part of that was the ferry having to bob around in the middle of the river until they got my head out from between the bars!! I drove back across the nullabor to Adelaide a few years ago and took my friend Bev on a ride on the ferry and we laughed all the way through the trip. I also had a problem down at Glenelg beach one day getting stuck in between a couple of massive boulders while playing a game of hide and seek with my sisters - i was determine no one was going to find me!!! I started school in Adelaide at the ripe old age of 4 1/2 and had a best friend Susan Cripps (I ofter wonder what became of her). I have been back and seen our old neighbour Mrs Blackall and finally got to apologise for all the trouble we go up to along with her son Wayne who lead me astray something shocking!!!
When I was about 6 years old my Dad was transfered back to Victoria and the army base near Seymour called Puckapunyal. It was here that most of the Nasho's or National Service boys did their basic training. As kids we used to love going out there to the base on special days particularly to watch the March-Out Parade when they all "graduated". I guess at 6 I was a bit young to absorb the stupidity of the Vietnam war and how it was to affect us all. Dad was sent off to Vietnam with a contingent of Nasho's in November 1966 - of those 5 didn't return. It is a period of his life that I know very little about - all I really remember was the day he came home - it was a great suprise as he wasn't due for another week. I recall mum coming to the school to get us girls and the Nuns getting very excited for us and making all the other kids in the class give us a round of applause. It is like yesterday arriving in Melbourne at the barracks in my Grandfather's old "Prefect" that afternoon and Dad arriving a bit later in the back seat of a mini minor and nearly shoving the poor woman sitting in the front seat through the windscreen he was in such a hurry to get out. Mum in the meantime just stood behind our car crying while we 3 girls yelled and screamed and jumped all over him. I can still point out the spot going up "Pretty Sally" hill on our way home to Seymour from Melbourne that day where it became my turn to sit on his knee for a while - god some memories never leave you.
We remain in Seymour for quite a few years after Dad came home from Vietnam and he continued at Puckapunyal. My Grandfather died only a year after Dad returned and a year or two later dad suffered a nervous breakdown and spent quite a few months in Melbourne recovering. Mum used to be picked up every week by the Colonel's car and taken to visit him in hospital with us kids allowed to go up on the weekends. It was on April's Fools Day 1972 that they broke the news to us that our family was to increase in size. My baby brother Peter was born in November 1972 to much celebration in the small town of Seymour - the hospital brandy was dragged out at 4.30am and the rest of the babies in the nursery that day missed their early morning feed!!! Peter was so spoilt by everyone in the town not to mention his 3 big sisters and a grandmother who by then had come to live with us. In the meantime I started at Sacred Heart College in Seymour and had made up my mind by then that there was a much bigger world to discover and one day I would venture out to find it.
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