FROM THE INTRO TO 1939
a young boy, as the War years went on, reality and fantasy went hand in hand. As I heard of our victories, I day-dreamed of
being at the head of our Military forces, throwing grenades and leading bayonet charges. I sank dozens of battleships from
my submarine that was always under attack. And I lost count of the squadrons of Messerschmitts that
I sent spiralling from the sky. Needless to say, I was awarded a lot of medals and, as I got a bit older, earned the plaudits
of quite a few pretty girls.
But, mixed in with
all this romance were some more analytical thoughts. Every day, once the battles got going, I would go to the newspapers’
maps of where the battlelines currently were. One for the Western front, one in North Africa, and a third in Russia. Later, another in the Pacific. Then I would examine them minutely to see just how
far we had moved, backwards or forwards. I read all the reports, true and false,
and gloated when it was said we were winning, and shrunk away from our losses.
. . . . And finally, when war did come, and grind on, year after year, what effect did it
have back here in Australia? How did we as a society cope with a world that just
had to continue on, given that the sons and dads of the nation were actually being killed daily overseas? When the postman did his normal delivery and brought a letter saying your loved one is dead? What did we do when old jobs suddenly disappeared, and new ones were created a hundred miles away? When
goods, long readily available, were no longer for sale? When everything changed?
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JAN: BRITAIN PLANNING FOR WAR
AUSTRALIA STARTING TO DITHER
FEB: BBC UNDER
OZ: PM LYONS ALSO UNDER ATTACK
MAR: GERMANY TAKES CZECH RUMP
OZ: TV IN 10 YEARS?
APR: BRITAIN TRIES MORE TREATIES
OZ: Mr LYONS DIES IN SYDNEY
MAY: IS POLAND NEXT?
OZ: THE DRUNKOMETER IS COMING
JUN: JEWISH PROBLEMS
FOR THE WORLD
WE EVACUATE CHILDREN?
JUL: HITLER’S NEXT
OZ: AUSTRALIA UNEASY IN ASIA
HITLER – RUSSIA PACT: OH NO!
NO MORE PIGEON PIES
SEP: AT LAST; POLAND
OZ INTERNS ENEMY ALIENS
OCT: BRITISH CHILDREN ON THE MOVE
OZ ARMY IN FLUX
NOV: PHONEY WAR STARTS
OZ CANTEENS: WET OR DRY?
DEC: FINLAND FIGHTS BACK
THE MOOD IN AUSTRALIA
EXTRA READING -- COMPLETELY OPTIONAL
YOU WILL NOT BE
EXAMINED ON ANY OF THIS
ABOUT THIS SERIES …
But after that, I realized that I really knew very little about
these parents of
mine They had been born about the start of the Twentieth
Century, and they died in 1970
and 1980. For their last 50 years, I
was old enough to speak with a bit of sense. I could have talked to them a lot about their lives. I could have found out about the times they
lived in. But I did not. I know almost nothing about them really. Their courtship? Working in the pits? The Lock-out in the Depression? Losing their second child? Being dusted as a miner? The shootings at Rothbury? My uncles killed in the War? Love on the dole? There were hundreds,
thousands of questions that I would now like to ask them. But,
alas, I can’t. It’s too late.
prompted by my guilt, I resolved to write these books. They describe happenings that affected
people, real people. The whole series is, to coin a modern phrase, designed to push the reader’s buttons, to make you remember and wonder
at things forgotten. The books might
just let nostalgia see the light of day, so that
oldies and youngies will talk about the past and re-discover a
heritage otherwise forgotten.
Hopefully, they will spark discussions between generations, and foster the asking and answering of questions that should not remain unanswered.
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