Escort cbd free no strings attached sex New South Wales

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I have heard of people booking trips to all manner of Asian and other destinations just so they can blitz the shops. That sounds like the epitome of boredom to me, but even I was dazzled by the art, craft and pure entertainment value of shopping in India.

Like the sleepy and sluggish River Ganges, Varanasi is best enjoyed slowly, savouring the spirituality and the diversity of the devout pilgrims the river attracts. Tuncurry is a tiny jewel in the string of coastal gems that make up the mid-north coast region of New South Wales. About four hours drive north of Sydney, Tuncurry and its sister town Forster, are slightly off the beaten track i. Rather than creating a sad feeling that the World has passed it by, the detour required to reach both these towns means that they retain their laid back ambience.

A huge positive when you want a stress-free beach break. Yes, I have a lot to learn about India, but I suspect there are a few of you out there who also have never heard of the Thar Desert.

There is nothing like an Intrepid tour to take you slightly off the beaten track and at the same time, open your eyes and your mind, to new places. So many visitors to Australia stick to the tried and true path, and miss out on the best bits! Their focus remains firmly fixed on the heavily promoted destinations of Sydney, the Gold Coast and Great Barrier Reef, and yet the hidden gems that represent the best of Australia, remain just that — hidden.

After chronicling her European journey of self-discovery in Without Reservations, this Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the Baltimore Sun quit her job and left home again. This time she roamed the world, taking lessons and courses in such things as French cooking in Paris, Border collie training in Scotland, traditional Japanese arts in Kyoto, and architecture and art in Havana. With warmth and wit, Steinbach guides us through the pleasures and perils of discovering how to be a student again.

She also learns the true value of this second chance at educating herself: I really, really, really get the picture? And I was disappointed. While it was just as beautifully written, and set in equally exotic and attractive locations around the world, this one came across as quite self-indulgent and conceited.

Yes, she was indulging her desire to travel and learn, but this time it appeared to me like she was showing off, and we know how us Aussies do not like show-offs. I am the first to admit that perhaps I need to re-read her book as I may be judging her harshly. Despite my criticism, I am supportive of her ability to follow her dreams, set her own goals and go after them, even in the face of naysayers.

She lived in Baltimore, Maryland and passed away in March from cancer. The joy of travel is that there is a destination or activity to suit any taste or interest.

You can lounge on a beach, hike a mountain or sail the seven seas. Alternatively, you can connect with the locals outside of the usual tourist traps. If you enjoy immersing yourself in a destination without sacrificing any creature comforts, then consider Nepal.

It is certainly more than just postcard perfect mountains, and offers a range of activities, sights and interests to satisfy the choosiest traveller. In this post I will share our home-based adventure as an AirBnB host. In reality it is a pretty tame adventure, but hopefully this post will be useful if you have ever considered signing up as an AirBnB host. Over the years we have stayed in a few AirBnBs ourselves.

Needless to say, since we joined AirBnB my work has gone ballistic, but we are still managing to keep all the balls in the air. Steinbach searches for the answer in some of the most exciting places in the world — Paris, where she finds a soulmate in a Japanese man; Oxford, where she learns more from a ballroom dancing lesson than any of her studies; Milan, where she befriends a young woman about to be married. Beautifully illustrated with postcards Steinbach wrote home to herself, this is an unforgettable voyage of discovery.

Although I read this book many years ago, it still resonates with me today. I was struck by her courage to cast off the expectations of other people, as well as the limitations that she placed on herself. She wondered what happened to her old self, the missing woman, who was adventurous, curious and more of a risk-taker?

Of course it helped that she had the financial wherewithal to afford her very own brand of international irresponsibility, but what a way to pursue a journey of self-discovery. How liberating would that be? The hum and energy in the air was palpable, as I edged my way through the crowd, to find a massive pair of eyes locked onto mine.

Wherever I went, the eyes followed my every move. I simply could not escape. Why is it that as we age, our sense of adventure often dims, and our expectations of what we can achieve, or what is appropriate behaviour, changes?

Thankfully I think society now views 50 as the new 30 and 60 as the new 40, so the only limitations we are controlled, or driven by, are the ones we place on ourselves.

One of these days I am going to stop writing posts about my trip to Nepal, but I doubt it is going to happen any time soon. Walking around each and every corner seemed to reveal a new and amazing vista, and each day seemed to open me up to different and thought-provoking experiences…like meeting a Living Goddess. Perhaps the name should be changed to The Sapphire City , especially when stepping out on a walk from Potts Point to the Sydney Opera House on a sparkling Winter morning.

Have you ever experienced a sight on holiday that has rocked you to your core? A sight, or site, that just makes you shake your head? And still not believe what you are seeing? Nothing beats a pleasant stroll in the Winter sunshine. The stroll is enough in itself, but when you have something interesting to look at, AND you learn something at the same time, more the better. And a walk through the historic, wide Adelaide streets fits the bill nicely.

When planning to walk your first camino, there are a hundred things to get excited about and another hundred or more logistical questions. I try, I really really do try, but I am yet to make travel blogging second nature, yet to create the habit. I like to think I am well-travelled and worldly wise, but I get a reality check every time I discover a place that I have never heard of before.

On a recent trip to Nepal I was introduced to the fabulous city of Pokhara. After the hustle and mania of Kathmandu, it was a welcome relief to breathe the sweet mountain air. How easy is it to be dazzled by the romance of an exotic destination, and your own backyard gets ignored? I know I am guilty of this sometimes, until I make myself stop and acknowledge the beauty right under my nose. By land and by sea, by train, truck, horse and yacht, he makes his way across the globe — and through a series of hilarious adventures.

He survives a bus crash in Australia, marries a princess in Laos, is attacked by Komodo dragons and does time in a Chinese jail. The next lift — or the next near-miss — is always just a happy accident away. This is the astonishing true story of a remarkable voyage, an old-fashioned quest by a modern-day adventurer. I love a good adventure, and even more than that, an adventure that turns into a comedy of errors.

I give Mackinnon full marks for audacity, vision and perhaps a fair dose of stupidity thrown in there. He was lucky to get out alive! How is it that some people can dream up these journeys, and rationalise in their own minds that such trips are perfectly acceptable, and perfectly achievable?

I guess that is what sets us apart — true adventurers and absolute novices. He seems to lurch from one disaster to the next, meeting ever more fantastical characters, and brushing ever nearer to death. He gets arrested, jailed, deported, married, kidnapped, becalmed, and continuously re-routed on his two-step-forward-one-step-back progress, battling to get out of the Southern Hemisphere, let alone to a remote island off Scotland.

In fact, over pages of the book are devoted to lurching around Australia, New Zealand and Asia, before racing through the Mediterranean, Europe and finally to England in the last handful of pages. Similar to his debut novel, he travels and writes quoting great swathes of poetry, and in this book, playing his tin whistle to earn his keep. After all, this book covers a year of adventure in , and this book was not released until Surely the lapse of 21 years has polished the tales to a golden hue?

Regardless, it is an enjoyable read and I look forward to him packing his bags, or at least putting pen to paper, again soon. His interests include painting, philosophy, writing, conjuring and home-made fireworks. I am also not good at sitting still at the best of times, and know I benefit from some early morning exercise before being locked away for the day.

As I had been to Adelaide once before on a very short visit, I knew that the Torrens River was the perfect area to stretch my reluctant legs. As you may have gathered by now, I will travel anywhere at any time, but up until recently, I had never travelled as a genuine tourist with a group. It seems a bit rude to only spend 24 hours in a place.

Surely it is impossible to get the sense of a city in one superficial skim? Where is the fairness in that? Where are my manners? In my defence, I am not a city person, and this visit was a short stopover on the way to Nepal. When the focus is on the exoticism of Nepal, one day in the sprawling metropolis of Kuala Lumpur was more than enough for this visit.

Kuala Lumpur , including the Klang Valley, has a population of 7. And, as soon as Bill Bryson was old enough, he left. After ten years in England, he returned to the land of his youth, and drove almost 14 miles in search of a mythical small town called Amalgam, the kind of trim and sunny place where the films of his youth were set.

Instead, his search led him to Anywhere, USA; a lookalike strip of gas stations, motels and hamburger outlets populated by lookalike people with a penchant for synthetic fibres. He discovered a continent that was doubly lost; lost to itself because blighted by greed, pollution, mobile homes and television; lost to him because he had become a stranger in his own land.

Since returning from Nepal, I have been struggling to order my thoughts and photos, and process all that I have seen. I really am at a bit of a loss to know where to start. There is so much more to this country than its glorious mountains. Although we only enjoyed a ridiculously short four-day visit, it was jam packed with exotic sights, sounds and smells and NOT ONCE did I pull on my hiking boots! By now you guys may have twigged that I love history.

My love is not based on any great intellect, it is more just a general fascination with how people lived and why things happened. Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does.

Little differentiates one day from the next. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye. But before Harold mails off a quick reply, a chance encounter convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. In his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold Fry embarks on an urgent quest. Determined to walk six hundred miles to the hospice, Harold believes that as long as he walks, Queenie will live. While my travels have often been very physical and tangible, I find that travel also stretches me emotionally.

And believe me, it is often from the highest of highs, to some pretty low lows. I love it all regardless. Port Arthur looms large in the Aussie psyche. Now, I want to encourage you to jump in your car, take a little drive through gorgeous countryside, and then do a little more exploring on foot. Nearly years ago, Duke Godfrey de Bouillon set out on the First Crusade— and in our own time, author Tim Severin retraced his steps.

Jerusalem, city of gold. In the process, he covered more than 2 miles by horse, past ruined Crusader settlements and ancient battlefields, over arduous mountain passes, and across Anatolian steppes. A dazzling synthesis of adventure, practical history, and exploration, told by one of our finest and most respected travel writers — illustrated with his own photographs.

I stumbled across the Warm Showers group a couple of years ago when I started following a blog about cycling the length of the Mississippi River in the USA. Peter and Tracy are the most inspiring couple, and tackle the most astonishing cycling adventures. That really intrigued me and I had to find out more. Yes, I am a child of the 70s and 80s, flares, ponchos and Farrah-Fawcett-flick hairdos, but this song and its cutting edge film clip for its day does capture the essence of my South African adventure.

I feel that, in some ways, I got to know Southern Africa better than many people because I lived there for 12 months, eventually learned the language, and travelled extensively. How good is it when something you have been dreaming about for a long time, actually comes off? That is exactly what happened to me recently when I fulfilled a long-held dream to sail across the skies in a hot air balloon.

A couple of quiet weeks sailing the River Severn was the intention. Somehow things got out of hand — a year later I had reached Romania and was still going…. Truly hilarious books are rare. Even rarer are those based on real events. Mackinnon, your charming and eccentric guide, on an amazing voyage in a boat called Jack de Crow. Equipped with his cheerful optimism and a pith helmet, this Australian Odysseus in a dinghy travels from the borders of North Wales to the Black Sea — 4, kilometres over salt and fresh water, under sail, at the oars, or at the end of a tow-rope — through twelve countries, locks and numerous trials and adventures, including an encounter with Balkan pirates.

Along the way he experiences the kindness of strangers, gets very lost, and perfects the art of slow travel. My home town of Mudgee, Central West NSW, is already a popular weekend destination for Sydneysiders and others in need of a little down time and indulgence, but there is more to Mudgee than food and wine. I am convinced that many people spend a sumptuous weekend in Mudgee without realising that there is a vast selection of natural wonders right on our door step.

The thought of walking 1 km across a foreign country could be considered a tad daunting. To get all your senses on board, you need cold hard facts, a good dose of wisdom and a sprinkle of philosophy. I promised that this holiday would be just that — a holiday. No ruins, no museums, no cultural sites or sights. But, a visit Turkey? How could I possibly resist their siren call? A hijacking, several nuclear explosions and a religious experience … just some of the ingredients in the latest tour de force from the bestselling author of the Carpet Wars.

In the searing summer of , Christopher Kremmer returns to India, a country in the grip of enormous and sometimes violent change. As a young reporter in the s, he first encountered this ancient and complex civilisation. Now, embarking on a yatra, or pilgrimage, he travels the dangerous frontier where religion and politics face off. Giving me a couple of days to acclimatise, if that is possible in a bustling Asian city, Miss Mai, my local contact, arrived at the apartment to introduce me to my placement at VietHealth.

As my background is in professional grant writing, I was confident that I could add some value. The reason for the missed train was because we had been advised by some officious Frenchman, that we must pull our bikes apart, and bag them up, to be allowed to board the train. Sparks flew from both our spanners and our finger tips as we frantically disassembled the bikes but alas, the train doors slid shut and the train slowly pulled away from us and out of the station. What makes us, all of a sudden, decide to step away from the comfort of our ordinary lives, and into the Great Unknown?

One day I am a plain-Jane, sensible-type. The next day I have locked myself into an adventure that is guaranteed to take me well out of my comfort zone. After much searching and comparing, I decided to volunteer for a month in Hanoi, Vietnam. Unbeknown to me, international volunteering is big business and some companies charge substantial fees to place a person in a volunteer role. My teenage-gap-year days are far behind me, and I wanted to feel comfortable that my skills were going to be appreciated and useful, as well as providing me with a genuine opportunity to contribute.

The fees they charged covered the sourcing of a placement, my accommodation, meals and some local transport. I would also have local contacts in Hanoi to provide support and information.

Not that I am a chicken or anything, but an Asian city with no local language or knowledge can be a tad intimidating. While more power to them, the thought of living with 40 squealing and partying year-olds, made my blood run cold. Give me a bit of peace and privacy any day. After the usual chaos and stress of packing and shutting down my business for a month, I was on the plane.

Vietnam Airlines was a good introduction to my ultimate destination. But, the staff were friendly, we took off and landed on time, and in one piece, and I knew I just had to go with the flow. Hanoi airport was the typical chaos and cacophony of an Asian airport, with their hawkers and hasslers. Thankfully I was greeted by my local contact and transported to my hotel, only to find that the hotel had transferred my booking to a different hotel around the corner.

I was quickly learning that things worked differently in Vietnam. In the heart of the Old City, I played tourist for a couple of days, and then I was moved to my apartment in the north-western suburbs of Hanoi. There was some initial confusion, as my local contact tried to drive me to the volunteer hostel, until I gently, but firmly, confirmed that I was to live in an apartment.

The taxi changed direction, and my new home became one those non-descript, high-rise apartment blocks that you see crammed closely together in rabbit warren streets, clustered on the fringes of countless Asian cities. The apartment was quite spacious and the living areas were simply furnished.

There were a few things lacking like beds, linen and the remotest hint of cleanliness or hygiene! Yes, it was filthy! I quietly inquired about the housekeeping arrangements and was told that a cook came daily and a cleaner once per week. Perhaps that week was in ! My room was a bare mattress none too clean on the floor and a few scraggly wire coat hangers dangling precariously from electrical wiring protruding from the walls and ceiling.

Before leaving Australia I had confirmed that all linen would be supplied, but obviously that had been lost in translation too. Luckily I had packed a silk sleeping sheet and brought along an old beach towel. That became my linen for the next month. But again, the local staff were warm, friendly and welcoming and I was determined to make the most of the experience. After finding the local supermarket, I purchased the complete suite of cleaning materials and scrubbed my room and shared bathroom from top to bottom.

The view from my apartment. I only saw the distant mountains once in 30 days due to air pollution. The apartment turned out to be a comfortable and enjoyable location with enough interesting flat mates over the month for me not to feel lonely. A trio of Irish girls had me in stitches with their aversion to bugs and anything else that crawled.

There would be squealing and shrieking, and they would all be standing on their beds or chairs as I rushed in to remove the offending creepy crawly. Like many Asian cities, electricity was sometimes an optional extra. Huge lightning storms would take out the whole suburb or maybe it was just our turn to lose power. Not a drama except for the lack of cooling and light. One day I returned to the apartment block and had to walk up 27 flights of stairs in the pitch dark!

My work out for the day. I enjoyed living amongst the local Vietnamese people and I suspect I would have been one of only a handful of Westerners in the whole suburb. Being tall, white and female, I attracted a fair bit of attention as I walked to the supermarket or to catch the bus.

Once I said hello, good morning or how are you in my best Vietnamese, people would break into beaming smiles and return my greetings in their best English.

Never underestimate the power of a genuine smile. The daily commute to VietHealth was equal parts interesting and entertaining. As other commuters entered the bus there would be a stampede to sit next to me as I was a source of free English lessons for the next hour. Rarely have I felt so popular or so useful. One day we passed an old man on a bicycle carrying a four metre long ladder through peak hour traffic.

Yet, it seemed effortless to him and no inconvenience for the surrounding traffic. If I wanted to step out of my comfort zone on every level, then I got that in spades just by living in Hanoi. Living in the north-western suburbs of Hanoi and working in the north-eastern suburbs.

I visited in May. Like Goldilocks, not too hot and not to cold but a bit of everything weather-wise. Volunteering ticks all the boxes of culture, contribution, challenge and friendship. I flew to Hanoi on Vietnam Airlines. I am not sure they would be my airline of choice but at least I lived to tell the tale. For a walking perspective of the high mountains of Vietnam, have a peek at my post about walking at Sapa. For another expat perspective of living in Hanoi, have a look at, https: Everywhere is walking distance if you have the time.

When Paula Constant and her husband, Gary, attempt to break away from the conventional 9-to-5 routine, a few weeks lazing in a resort or packed in a tour bus is not what they have in mind. Quite an ambition for an unfit woman who favours sharing cigarettes and a few bottles of wine with friends over logging time on the treadmill.

But if the sheer arduousness of walking over 25 kilometres a day through the landscapes and cultural labyrinths of France, Spain, Portugal and Morocco — without a support vehicle — is overlooked in her excitement, then so too is the unexpected journey of self-discovery and awakening that lies beyond every bend. Both the companions she meets on the road and the road itself provide what no university can offer: It is a journey that begins with one footstep. I am going to have to stop reading these walking books.

All they do is to fill me with an urgent wanderlust. I could pack and leave home tonight. Paula and Gary Constant come up with the idea that they want to walk across the Sahara desert. This dream expands to walking from London to the Sahara, and they finally settle on walking from London to Cape Town!! And I thought I was a bit partial to a long stroll!

All these dreams and plans are delayed and postponed, as they work up the courage to finally put one foot in front of the other and actually start walking. I am surprised they even made it out of England let alone across France, Spain, Portugal and on to Morocco. Although like me during my walks, they had some incredibly tough times, they also shared immense joy — especially with the people they met along the way. An entertaining read for walkers, dreamers and would-be adventurers.

Paula Constant began walking from Trafalgar Square in Since then, she has walked over km through eight countries: From , Paula walked over km through the Sahara, until she was halted by civil war in Niger.

Paula is currently planning another walk, and lives in rural Victoria. Author blog or website: When visiting England, it is easy to be overwhelmed by wall-to-wall history, castles, museums and cathedrals. Getting slightly off the beaten track, if such a thing is possible in England, definitely has its rewards, as we found out in the small town of Battle.

I am not sure how we stumbled across this destination but it turned out to be equal parts fascinating and hilarious. Battle is located around 90km south east of London. As the name indicates, its origins are inextricably linked to the famous Battle of Hastings. The battle, fought between Harold the Saxon king and William the Conqueror from Normandy in , changed the course of English history.

It is believed that after he was victorious, William promised to build an abbey in memory of the people who died in the conflict. The town then grew out and around the Abbey. The thing I really loved about our year in England was that all the fabulous history was digestible and easily accessible.

We found Battle Abbey to be the perfect example of making history interesting and understandable, regardless of age or education level.

Rather than being yet another pile of mouldy stone and religious artefacts, the handheld audio guides took us back to its very origins and the daily life of its inhabitants. The original Abbey was populated by the Benedictine Order, and was a tangible symbol of the power of the new Norman rulers. Despite its awkward location on top of a narrow, waterless ridge, William insisted that the high altar of the abbey church be located where Harold had been killed.

Sadly, the church and parts of the cloister were then demolished. What really appealed to my quirky sense of humour though was the fact that our visit was timed to coincide with the annual celebration and recreation of the Battle of Hastings.

Returning the audio guides to the museum attendant, we ventured out of the Abbey and into the grounds and, at the same time, stepped years back in time. Maybe it is a combination of them not taking themselves too seriously, plus a passion for a specific slice of history and their willingness to preserve it. It became immediately obvious to us that this historical occasion had struck a seriously strong chord with a whole bunch of modern-day men and women who had literally invaded Battle for the day.

We were surprised to find that participants had travelled from all over Europe and even the USA for the opportunity to dress up, dance or die! Apparently this was how it worked in times past, with whole families going on tour with their warring men folk rather than waiting at home. The camp was made up of traditional tents and lean-to camping structures, forges to make and repair their weapons and various tourist trinkets , and smoky fires to prepare their food.

There was falconry, cavalry, piping music, dancing and ancient craft, but the highlight of the day had to be the re-enactment of the actual battle. The audience stood behind a temporary barrier and the announcer explained what was happening on the field. The Normans advanced menacingly towards us from the river while the Saxons attempted to slow their progress by bringing in their archery team.

Eventually the two sides met in a flurry of swords and clashing of shields, and a fair dose of good-natured pushing and shoving. I suspect many of the warriors struggled to keep a straight face and some opted to be killed or wounded simply to have the chance to lie down and catch their breath!

The classic absurdity came at the very end of the conflict when the Normans were victorious. Picture the field, littered with the dead and dying, and bloodied soldiers leant exhaustedly on their swords. There was much cheerful banter, back-slaps and handshakes between the opposing sides. If only all wars could end this way. In a nice nod to serendipity, a trip to France a little later in the same year took us to Bayeaux.

After our happy day in Battle, we made a beeline for the museum housing the Bayeaux tapestry. It is remarkable that such a fragile piece of handicraft has survived all this time. After 13 years, this day trip still brings a smile to my face. History does not have to be all dry, dusty and fact-riddled. This experience, and the crazy people involved, brought history to life and made it more than worthwhile to ignore the big name tourist sites, even if just for a day.

It is open daily, 10a. If you intend to visit a number of English Heritage sites when you are in the UK, consider joining English Heritage for discounted entry. For a sneak peak of the day, have a look at this YouTube clip. The perfect way to see history come alive! And a great way to engage children in history. Two big kids and two little kids — all in love with history — even if only momentarily. For two completely different perspectives on the Battle of Hastings and re-enacting history generally, have a look at: What is it about sailing that blows out the cobwebs and opens both mind and spirit to Nature?

How lucky for us that our boatie friends are residents of Hobart , Tasmania AND they invited us to go sailing with them for a couple of days?

Our home for the next three days — Content. It was a crisp Autumn day as we unpacked the car at the Derwent Sailing Squadron , and lugged all our gear along the pier to where Content was moored.

Just to be on the safe side, we had packed every item of warm clothing we possessed, and were rugged up for wild weather.

To me, there is no more atmospheric sound than the ringing tinkle and slap of boat rigging while boats bob at their moorings. Since it was a weekday, the marina was virtually deserted, reinforcing my gleeful feeling that we were wagging school.

Our friends informed us that the marina recently surveyed the boat owners and, on average, each boat only unfurled the sheets and sailed one day per year. Now that is a whole lot of money, and a whole lot of joy, to have tied up, going nowhere. She is a busy lady and her owners regularly toss off her bow lines and point her seaward.

After stacking and stowing, tying and untying, checking and fuelling, and with a shiver of excitement, we were away into a stiff breeze and heading down the Derwent River.

This was no pleasure cruise though as we all pitched in to help with ropes and sails. I do admit I was a bit nervous about taking the wheel. It had been over 20 years since I zipped around Sydney Harbour on an introductory sailing course.

Where was the wind? Are the sails luffing? When should I jibe? I doubt that I did that successfully. All that bracing, salty air supercharged our appetites and our fellow shipmates had just the solution.

Within minutes the line snapped taut and was hauled back in dangling a sizable squid. Into the bucket it went, and out went the fishing line again. In what seemed like only 30 minutes, we had enough squid for the freshest seafood lunch ever.

A dusting of flour, salt and pepper, and cooked lightly in olive oil — I had to restrain myself from charging below deck, raiding the kitchen and devouring the lot! The sail-eat-sail pattern was repeated continuously over the next three days. So much for my visions of a wind and storm-lashed Tassie, with the salt spray stinging our faces as we heeled over in the gales. I know it does happen, just not to us on this trip.

We were not deterred though and still made the most of the experience. We moored in secluded bays and took short walks along remote bush trails and pebbly shores.

It was heavenly to be gently rocked to sleep by the tidal rise and fall, and wake to the sun sparkling mirror-like on the sheltered bays. Sailing is such a simple way to spend your time, being guided by the wind and, fed by the ocean. The abundant sea life was quite incredible, and that fishing line over the back of the boat brought in exquisite whiting, endless squid and a grand, old daddy crab. Due to our respect for his advanced age, he escaped the pot, was untangled from the line and returned to the ocean to live another day.

Our friends were not only sailors, but also divers and the larder was further supplemented with lobster and abalone — all legally harvested of course. In previous posts, I have mentioned my complete lack of gourmet tastebuds, but the lobster was to-die-for. While the abalone was nice, it did not compare to the lobster or any of the other fresh morsels, and I am not really sure why people make such a fuss over this mollusc. Our sailing adventure in Tassie was the perfect blend of warm friendship, the freshest of fresh food, and the stunning outdoors.

It was entertainment enough just to sit and watch the cloud formations change from fluffy white to moody grey, and see the wind change the water from mirror to white caps. With limp sails, we returned to the civilisation of Hobart knowing that we had enjoyed something pretty remarkable. It was a true privilege to see this wild and pristine part of Australia. I felt like all my troubles had been blown and washed out of me, and I was renewed and rinsed clean. I am not sure if that allows you to sail or just sleep!

We visited in Autumn. The days were cool and crisp but unfortunately not very windy. If you enjoy sailing then the route we took was beautiful, relatively protected and safe.

To really get a true sense of sailing in Tasmania, have a look at this blog by sailing enthusiasts, Jack and Jude: He is indeed a brave man for marrying a crazy woman like me! I have only lived here for 25 years, so I am not quite a local yet, but this town has embraced me from day one. Over the past 15 years, the flow of Mudgee-bound traffic has steadily increased, and many people now decide that a weekend is simply not long enough, and they move here permanently.

Like many small towns in rural Australia, the lack of employment opportunities is a constant challenge. However, if you are innovative, have your own business that can tap into broader markets, or are financially self-sustainable, then Mudgee offers lifestyle benefits that are hard to beat.

I told you I was biased! As part of the three-week Mudgee Wine Festival, Flavours of Mudgee creates a huge street party, celebrating all the delicious food and wine produced in our region.

Importantly, it also celebrates the diversity of our population through the medium of food. Added to that are olive oils and olives, chocolate, cordials, fudge, relishes, ice cream, saffron, cheese, pistachios, breads, jams, honey and even native plants and seeds.

All made, or grown, by hand and with an eye on quality. Truly a feast for all the senses. I am a little embarrassed to admit that this year was the first time I had experienced Flavours of Mudgee. Market Street Mudgee never looked so good or so busy! The Mudgee CBD was jumping on the day. We had to park our car three blocks away unheard of in a country town as the street was so busy. As we strolled around the corner into Market Street, we could see why. Estimates were put at around 9 people sipping, tasting and dancing along to the music.

Not a bad number when you consider the resident population of Mudgee is only 8 people. Now that is some party. Small children with brightly-painted faces, dragging their colourful balloons behind them, dodged in and out of groups of people. Locals used the opportunity to stop, chat, and to catch up on all the latest news.

Even in a country town, time gets away from you and sometimes you have to make a special effort to reconnect with friends. Visitors dragged hay bales into a welcoming square formations, sat down, clinked glasses and raised them high to salute their health and the enjoyable weekend. The Mudgee Wine Festival is held for three weeks each September. Many of the wineries host special music and food events to compliment the tasting and sales of wine.

While these are, no doubt, pleasant entertainments, most of these activities take place out at the wineries themselves and outside of the town centre. In contrast, the Flavours of Mudgee event brought around 27 wine, beer and spirit producers out of their cellar doors and into the main street.

No wonder there was a party atmosphere. A good education as well as a taste sensation. I was also pleased to see some of the local retailers breaking out of their normal shop fronts and showcasing their wares al fresco. In the daily rush, sometimes it is easy to pass by a store, thinking that one day I will pop in when I have time. As the sun began to slip behind the Mudgee hills, the tone of the occasion started to change from family to fiesta.

The stilt walkers retired with the dwindling sunlight, to be replaced by local bands playing tunes that just had to be danced to. The street lights came on and the party rocked into the night. It is a free event that genuinely celebrates community on a whole range of levels. Flavours of Mudgee Street Festival is a community street party celebrating good food, wine and people.

Wine is also sold by the glass or bottle. Food can be purchased from a large variety of stalls. Otherwise it is a free event. Why not feel the love of a warm and welcoming community as well as escape to the country? Simply turn up — no bookings required although do book your accommodation well in advance as Mudgee is a very popular weekend destination, especially in September. For information about another fabulous Mudgee event, have a look at my post about Sculptures in the Garden.

If I have not tempted you to visit Mudgee yet, then have a look at this blog for the best of food, wine and Mudgee landscape: I need goals and I need exciting things on my horizon to keep me motivated and interested.

Many years ago I developed an aversion to birthdays. Most times I felt like I had accomplished a big, fat nothing. This was inaccurate and no way to think about my life, so I decided to change. Each birthday I would sit down and set myself some small challenges for the next 12 months. Then, I would stick this list, big and bold, on my fridge door.

This provided no end of amusement for visitors to my house, but more importantly it kept me honest and kept me focused. Subsequent birthdays were greeted with slightly less trepidation, and a degree of excitement, as I set myself even more ambitious goals. Perhaps this is a poor choice of words, and I do not plan on going anywhere soon, except to remarkable, exotic overseas and Australian destinations.

The Mississippi River Trail: It covers 3 miles 5 km , using the Mississippi River as the common theme or motif. In the past, the USA was never really high on my travel wish list mainly because the cultural contrast was not significant enough. However, this trip has captured my imagination because of the many states we will pass through — their different climate, architecture, history, scenery and accents.

Yes, it will take us around three months, but what a way to experience a country. Not as energetic as the first bucket list entry, but no less fascinating. Happy to take suggestions on the best ways to approach this adventure. The vibrant colours of India. How do they cram so much chaos, colour and culture into one five-letter word?

The thought of the scale of the population in India frightens the pants off me, but I am busting to get there to experience such their vibrant culture. I am not brave enough to do this solo or via independent touring so I am currently researching cost-effective and well-regarded tours that will give me a small insight into this country. Fingers crossed, I get to tick this one off the list in Has always been lurking on the list since we had a short visit to the Marmaris region back in I loved the collision of Asian, European and Middle Eastern culture and history.

We found the people incredibly friendly, and the architecture and arts fascinating. To be on the safe side, we will wait until the dust settles a bit in that region before venturing over. As an aside, there is a km walk called the Lycian Way that follows the Turkish coast line from Fethiye to Antalya.

Perhaps we could incorporate that stroll into a visit? Monks line up to collect alms. I am not sure if you have come across The Man in Seat 61? The loose plan is to fly into Singapore and then train and bus where necessary north through Malaysia, Thailand and finishing in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Again, a fantastic way to experience a variety of Asian cultures, move slowly through the changing countryside, and meet the locals. Houseboat Trip on the Hawkesbury River: This one is much closer to home, and probably the shortest travel adventure. The Hawkesbury River is one of the main rivers that forms a rough border on the northern side of the Sydney basin. Only three hours from home but a world away from the chaos of Sydney.

This walk starts at Irun, near the border of France, and follows the Spanish coastline until you cross into the province of Galicia, then turning south-west towards Santiago de Compostela. This is a tough walk apparently, due to the mountainous terrain, so we had better start training now!

We also plan to spend some time giving back. What is missing from our list? What cracker destinations must we add? The Bucket List is open to all suggestions. I figure once the appeal of sitting on a long haul flight fades, our focus will change and we will travel much closer to home. It appears that they also had the same conversations every year they saw the event on television. It is one of those places that has transformed itself from a sleepy agricultural service centre into a food and wine destination.

Unlike many larger places though, it has retained its small town, heritage feel which equates to a low-stress and relaxing weekend. Friday night in Canowindra and the town was jumping. I had booked our accommodation 12 months in advance, and confirmed it multiple times, and it was just as well.

Canowindra was overrun with balloonists, support crews, balloon lovers and thousands of other tourists just like ourselves. The footpaths were bustling and the cafes and pubs overflowing onto the streets. I can only imagine what a positive impact this event must have on the local economy, creating a sense of excitement and energy, if for only one weekend.

We also booked a table at one of the clubs for dinner and, even with a booking, it was a minute wait for some very average food. But it was hot and filling and just what we needed after a big day of travel and sight-seeing. That leaves plenty of time for a lazy exploration of the Canowindra streets, the many boutiques, art and craft stores and gourmet food and wine outlets, and the Age of Fishes Museum.

Of more interest to the men in our party were the many old Holden cars parked cheek-by-jowl or bumper to bumper? This collection was unique in Australia apparently due mainly to the pristine condition of many of the models. It was a shame that its opening hours were sporadic and unreliable. The men had to make do with pressing their noses up against the glass and looking longingly. As the day waned we gathered up our folding chairs, picnic baskets and every skerrick of warm clothing we possessed and, along with a thousand of our closest friends, converged on the local sports ground.

This was the home of the Balloon Glow and a party atmosphere was definitely in the making with every known food stall and beverage bar onsite.

A balloon skims the top of the trees as it comes into land at the Balloon Glow. Now that is skill! Other balloons were trailered onto the field in a collapsed state and placed strategically around the ground.

Excitement built as the sun went down and the number of balloons increased. When it was fully dark, the lights went out, the music began, and the balloons worked their magic. The balloons, and the flames inside, winked on and off in time with the music, blinking out vibrant colours and magically appearing out of the darkness. Such a simple activity but so striking and memorable. Sadly the music ended, the lights came on, and the crowds beat a hasty retreat in much need of a hot drink and a warm bed.

The next morning dawned bright and clear, as is the autumnal habit of this region, and we crunched across the frosty paddocks to watch the Key Grab. The rewards for such precision are some handy cash prizes.

We could have looked a bit silly — a large crowd of people standing in the middle of an empty paddock at a. But as we spotted the balloons pop up on the horizon and make a bee-line towards us, we knew it had been worthwhile.

They started out looking like boring black dots but as they zoomed closer, the early sun lit them up like floating rainbows — a riot of colour and vibrancy. The crowd cheered and ducked for cover as the balloons zeroed in on us and the target, but just as they neared, a gust of wind or a subtle breeze would foil their attempt and send them gently veering off into a neighbouring paddock. There is always next year. As we made our way home, we wondered why it had taken us so long to visit Canowindra and the Balloon Challenge.

We stayed at the Old Vic Inn in a massive room with 15 foot ceilings. There was a small entrance fee to the Balloon Glow but the Key Drop activity was free. Canowindra International Balloon Challenge will be held on April Do this if you are in need of a fun and interesting weekend away in gorgeous countryside or if you have a weakness for hot air balloons.

Book your accommodation early. We drove from Mudgee via Dubbo. Yes, the scenic route! I have my very own balloon ride scheduled for 4 March If you are an Aussie, you would have to have spent your life under a rock not to have heard of the many famous Tasmanian walking destinations on offer, such as Cradle Mountain National Park. International readers, you are excused! These walks were the perfect way to break up the road trip, stretch our legs and let the bulk of the grey nomad traffic pass us by.

Again, we were grateful to our Hobart friends, keen bushwalkers themselves, who gave us the heads-up about the best short walks in the areas we were visiting. This park is a good mix of soaring peaks, rough bushland and picture-perfect rivers and streams. It has a number of walks ranging from a short one-hour stroll along boardwalks, to a whole day climbing rugged paths and hiking through dense forest. As background , in there was a major push by the Tasmanian Government to dam the Franklin River, and sections of the Gordon River, as part of a hydro-electricity scheme.

Naturally, this was strongly opposed by the environmental movement and resulted in the largest conservation battle ever conducted in Australian history. Driving further west, but still in the same National Park, we stopped again to stroll up to the Nelson Falls.

I realise I have been known for doing a spot of extreme walking at times, but the walks we completed that day were mostly short and over relatively accessible terrain.

It is hard to believe that so many people just whizz by in their vehicles and miss the majesty of this wilderness. Arriving in Strahan , we took the opportunity to explore the Gordon River via water rather than on foot. Yes, it was a typical touristy thing to do but sometimes I just have to swallow my pride if I want to access far-flung places.

The worst and most dangerous convicts were sent to Sarah Island. On this island, convicts experienced severe deprivation and few lived to tell the tale. It is hard to picture such hardship when standing amongst exquisite surrounds on a peaceful Autumn day in the 21st century. The cruise up the Gordon River was simply stunning. I kept shaking my head in wonder at the thought of the damage that could have been done to this unspoiled region, all in the name of progress. At every bend in the river there was another spectacular vista, clear, mirror-like water and impenetrable forest.

Back on land again, we fired up the little car and drove north-easterly, just skirting the edge of Cradle Mountain National Park. Without enough time or the appropriate walking gear, that would have to wait for our return visit one day. Heading south, we swung into the Freycinet National Park.

Unlike our other short walks, this park was heaving with day trippers and fellow walkers. Freycinet is an attractive blend of bush and beach. It also has well-developed camping, visitor centre and other facilities, so no wonder it was popular. Our objective was to take the track up to the lookout delivering the famous, postcard views of Wineglass Bay.

After much puffing and panting, we arrived and immediately grabbed our cameras. The view was stunning and definitely worth the exertion. We were so tempted to keep walking and scramble down the other side of the mountain to the bay itself, but we had to turn away from the brilliant white beaches and yachts gently bobbing in the azure blue water. How does nature deliver such vibrant colours? Edging ever closer to Hobart, the last park on our list to explore was a day on Maria Island.

The island is a minute ferry ride out from the small town of Triabunna, and the ferry is a handy way to rest your legs before, and after, a day of walking. Maria Island was another penal settlement but not a very successful one.

Even though it was an island, this did not deter convicts from making their escape. Escape attempts happened so frequently, and were so successful, that the penal colony was finally abandoned in favour of Port Arthur. Even if you are not into history, this island has enough natural beauty to keep anyone entertained. Armed with a map and interpretative guide, we started out on the coastal path and then back-tracked through the scrub.

The walks were of varying lengths, and they moved us around the island, allowing us to take in the best views of bush, beach and convict ruins. The rocks and cliffs that edge the pebble beaches were particularly attractive with their layered colours and sculpture-like erosion. A range of national park passes are available depending on the time you spend there.

The days were cool and crisp, and thankfully the Rain Gods stayed away. We drove and, other than the slow traffic, it was the best and most flexible way to access the parks. I think you would wait a long time before you found a more passionate Tasmanian hiker than Denis. For really detailed and comprehensive information about a whole range of hiking opportunities in south east Tasmania, have a look at his blog at: Lash out and read it in hardback. At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything.

With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map. The other weapon we used was a relic of the Boar War which was a Martini Henry rifle which was much lighter and much more adaptable for small kids. Lived in tents just like real soldiers and ate like real soldiers, god the food was crook in those days too.

The cooks were provided by the army. Yes corporal, sergeant and then lieutenant. And we were pretty, like most GPS Schools we were. So there are a number of avenues of moving forward in the field. And what did your mum and dad think about your involvement in the cadets? So the Eastern Suburbs were quite different. As the war went on we had rationing come in, you were issued with ration books and for food and for clothing.

And so if somebody wanted to get married the entire families quota of clothing. The trams, the transportation system was pretty good for that time in Sydney and you could move around with a fair amount of ease. Scaling used to be a, not a profession but a skill that most school boys. Most of the meat went to the army in both lamb, pork and beef, it was directed so you were very lucky to have a good butchers, butchers were cultivated, grocers were cultivated to make certain that you got the best out of your ration book.

Clothing was very difficult to get, you wore it a lot longer than you normally would now, a lot longer. There was another thing there about clothing. I can remember in our family it was so desperate that with 5 aunts there were only 2 slips and the fight to get those slips was something very extraordinary for a young fellow to see.

Radios were the only means of communication and people used to sit round these. Films were still one of the top ways of entertainment and so was variety, most shows stayed open.

Down at the end of George Street were the Tiverly and the Haymarket, the Empire up the road near Railway Square and Theatre Royal in Castlereagh Street were the main venues in those days and they were packed out, absolutely packed out. And our uniforms got first choice,. Hop a Long Cassidy, westerns seemed to take a fair bit of the time. However there were places that devoted themselves entirely to news in those days, Fox Movie Tone News and Gomont News and these theatres just.

Lots of special events for visiting ships and. A lot of the local soldiers would take their mates home, very much like the Sullivans. They made a big impact and Kings Cross was where they tended to gather for various reasons they. It caused a great deal of trouble and was one of the worst features of having an army of occupation sitting around doing nothing in large numbers,.

So it was a bit innovating really, not really appreciated. We had black outs, cars were equipped with special covers to the headlamps which allowed some illumination, petrol was very difficult to get so we finished up with gas producers hanging on the back of cars omitting smoke in all directions, I think would be most incorrect these days to have a gas producer.

Black outs we got very very involved with. And in the backyard many people constructed an Anderson Air Raid Shelter, which was a kit provided by the government which could take about half a dozen people. And I helped construct our with. Transport was restricted in that night movement was curtailed to a very large extend, 2 reasons. Food was fairly simple and entertainment was mostly in the home with the things we mentioned before to take over.

I mean that was what was happening, and which Spitfire pilot was the new ace and then somebody would go and put a bit of a dampener on it but them somebody else would come up straight away.

And we often went fishing, we were fishing the night the Japanese submarines came into Sydney Harbour on the 31st, 30th May I think But you could see a lot of activity on the far side of the Harbour where the little submarines had got through and knocked off the Chicago and the Cutterbol, or injured.

And rallies were held to get funds to provide parcels for troops which we did, as the same as in the First World. War comfort parcels became quite a thing to send off. And you had the usual cake in a tin box, some smokes and a pair of socks, a scarf, a balaclava, all going to the Middle East.

The odd pair of laces, extra laces and if it was going. But most parcels were put together and handed in to the general pool,. And then as things developed into Papua New Guinea. Then of course when Macarthur came news was even more difficult to get because it all went through his headquarters. A lot of people have spoken of the King and Country sort of mentality at the start of the war, did you yourself notice any sort of change in maybe.

And then we had a ball at the Albert Hall or a dance at the Albert Hall a victory dance, there was also a victory party at the Services Club in Marnika and I think that was probably replicated all over Australia.

The man that was holding it was a fellow called Geoff Shelton, Jim Shelton who was very well known in military circles. At the time I think it was just a relief that the entire thing had been sewn up at last and most of the. So I think VE Day was much more a time for having a good time than.

So but Duntroon itself an RMC where do you think that sort of appeared as an option, was it because of your cadet? This way we get in early. I finished up with 14 and 4 pence after 3 years and I think one of our fellows finished up with something like a pounds which was phenomenal. So can you explain the process from filing out that initial application form to.

Yes there was a series of interview, most of these took place in Victoria Barracks in Sydney, one took place at Ingleburn which was a leadership test sort of thing, how many pieces of wood can you put together to get across a gap in the river or something or rather. And the committee interviewing panel.

In later years it became a much more complicated thing. And that was it in those days. I was then subject to my results from the Leaving Certificate, and all that was done therefore in , I. Being the 3 years that you spent there bridged the war and Post war? Oh yes there were, yes as I think I might have mentioned earlier that the staff at Duntroon at that time were largely taken from people who had been invalided out from active service for one reason or another.

Our infantry instructor Kit Miles who had been very badly wounded at Bardia and had taken a long time to recover. The, our commanding officer Colonel Knights had also been badly wounded. They also had other attributes as being extremely good swimmers, extremely good rugby players or extremely good cricketers and they formed the Coaching staff as well because sport played.

We still had to pass the academic standards, but the majority of our time was spent in learning military skills.

And the covered a wide field from simple drill. And then a series of tactical skills overlaid that in terms. And that was it, that was the training in his day, it had moved a quantum leap forward in my day and a lot of physical exercise. Challenging, cross country running, PT, some of our PT instructors we carry their scars to this day, and we thank them for it. All good stuff because it opened the book a bit and let you see what sort of ground you were talking about and how you fitted in at the minor level.

But you still knew that you were coming out of the system as a junior officer. I found it enjoyable there was some rough times with academic training in particular, there was some hard times with sport, bear the scars to this day. Broken jaw and broken arm that sort of thing, they were expected and everybody had that sort of thing. I think when I had my jaw broken was in and we were playing navy and I was running in cover defence and this little fellow, who in fact was an import from the air force.

And the fellow who knocked me 40 years later appeared in. I think we were lucky in that the standards that were available in those days were bought from Pre war. You knew their limitations and you knew they knew yours and you could therefore operate on that basis,. So it worked very well. Senior class was the senior class and acted like the senior class, we had people who ranged from the boy bastard to those who were discerning and determined to lead.

And we in turn hoped to do the same when we became the senior class. Oh yes, oh cripes yes, yes there must be, inevitably and some of them exist for many years after the event. There might be another competition to become the senior under officer, the senior cadet.

I mean you might be King for a year as the BSM the battalion sergeant major but as soon as you left you got back on your tail again. So once again you went through another levelling process. And was choosing your corps that you wanted to go to was that one of the better.

Well you could put forward your own ambition but whether that was satisfied was quite a different thing. I have an idea that I actually wanted to go to Armoured Corps before infantry and then my third choice was Artillery. Back then did they do the thing that they do now where they take you around and put on like a big show for everybody to show them what all the different Corps do?

Laurie Clark turned the carrier around in the main street pulling the wrong lever. New ones in the interim army were being put together, Beecroft was being established, that sort of thing. Graduation was pretty good, the parade was, actually we had several good parades during our time,.

That was a good parade though and the graduation parade was also a very good one. We were a very small corps then there were only about people in the corps. Yes they did, yeh, did stayed at the Inslee Hotel and came to the dance,. The main social swirl was that provided by the Royal Military College and that was governed by. And we laid down the parameters of who would come and that sort of thing. And the balls and dances that we held were the main attractions in Canberra for the youngest, the girls they had nowhere else to go, they had nothing else to do, we provided a venue for uniforms and long dresses and bands and things like that.

Might be that she was already engaged to a senior cadet, might be something else entirely different. And so we ruled the place with a rod of iron but it was a very very gentle rod of iron and I think we made a lot of friends at that time that are still, a lot of cadets married in, just after they graduated into families in Canberra, so I suppose we were responsible for a number of things.

The Christmas leave was about 3 weeks and the Easter break was just across Easter, the Easter break was too short for anybody to go home to the west or Queensland so generally you found that Sydney was the venue and I came in on my own there because of the show. Oh yeh, oh yes for 2, 3 reasons, 1 was if you got an invite out to morning tea, lunch, dinner anything with edibles you went.

And a lot of meat and vegetables, canned stuff, you know near the end of the war and after the end of the war all these rations being. And that was the same when I went back as an instructor we found the same thing again. And the other thing was sport we played in the local competitions. There was only about 45, people there when we were there and it was a very closed city,.

The people were a bit stand offish and there were very very deep social rifts in Canberra itself. The leftovers from the construction of Canberra had, were still workman, still in suburbs which were comparatively low grade whereas places like. And we were invited as a class to go to government House, the social committee arranged busses for the girls and the class, we picked up the girls on the way and we went out to government House.

Alcohol was a no no in those days for us,. And it was a great night, a really great night, we had a great time dancing, singing around the piano, all that sort of stuff, nobody disgraced themselves too much and we all piled into the busses and went to take the girls home.

On the way home we stopped in Muggaway and. John Crofts felt a need, now New South Wales at the time one could use the offside rear wheel of a vehicle in need but he was using the offside rear real on a bus, but typical Canberra every curtain was twitching and we were reported the next day. We had a royal prerogative.

The last event that you went to stands out for you, can you tell us about the kind of air of excitement that there was though at that graduation, that you were completing this part of your military career and about to embark on the next stage?

And then on the other side there was relief at actually graduating and finally there was an expectation that you were going to go into something better. And then you split up and away you went in your various directions, some of us in groups others singly to units, some to university to continue in studies at university. But in our time most people went to units first and then went onto university after.

Later a commission issued but not, no 3 years, 6 years, 10 years, 20, you were on the career path and away you went. It was pretty difficult in your new unit, you were treated as a new boy and you got the jobs that a new boy would get. So the mess however generally an officer mess in those days had, and continued to reflect for some time the tradition.

And the standards that they set in the messes was still. Because they carried on those traditions and therefore there were little things in say the mess life that a new officer found might be a bit tedious to start off with but you always made certain you said good morning to the mess president and the 2nd in command, the CO if he ever ventured in, and you were expected to do.

You were expected to do some of the more menial tasks in relation to the mess, you suddenly found a new officer was obviously the best bet for a treasurer or a secretary until the next new officer came at least.

And the unit itself had that sort of ethos transplanted into it, they were very much AIF. A lanyard it might be, a shoulder flash and that became part of the units ethos and part of the history. And the reliance on good solid warrant officers and sergeants was exactly the same as it had been in an AIF unit.

So we had quite a large proportion of young people coming in and the main training institution was 2 Training Brigade at Greta and that used to take the new intakes in, they were real kids they were younger than we were, which was something.

We followed the same traditions in a way, I can remember running a dance at Greta for the brigade and we bussed the girls in in the same way that had been done during the war. I was the officer in charge of the darts, I picked out the biggest girl around and the one most unlikely to get a dance that night and waltzed her to the centre of the floor and fell flat on my face over, all this candle grease that the boys had put down. And they all had a good night and then we made certain that everybody was back on the bus, all the girls were back on the bus and taken back home.

So the traditions were still being observed. Greta as a location was my first posting was to 2 Training Brigade. And as I said I was posted to the reinforcement platoon, Transit Platoon and therefore. Yes there was there was 3 weeks, 3 weeks leave and then we reported. So we went out on the 11th of December in my case and went back 3 weeks later at Greta and away we went from there. We had a small spell at Greta and then embarked for. Kure on the Westralia, they were still using troopers in those days not air and we take up a draft of soldiers to join Beecroft, a few navy personnel few air force personnel going to Iwakuni where the RAF was established.

And took us about 10 days I think to get to Kure. Got off the boat and was met by the assistant adjutant, taken shown a room, allocated your space and told to report to the CO at a particular time. The 2IC was remarkable character he was I B Ferguson who later commanded the battalion in Korea and is well known and very well respected officer, he was a magnificent regimental officer, he built a little bit of an army of his own within the battalion.

But he was very very well regarded, he was never liked, he was. And the people who knew him before Beecroft swore by him and they kept that going. So we had a fairly good time, we were originally posted to a place called Okiahama which was outside the base area of Kure where Beecroft was.

And we were only there a short time, about winter I suppose and we were shifted back to Hero, the occupation force started to run down a bit and from thereon we spent most of our time between Hero and Tokyo on guard. What was the feeling about Beecroft at that stage when you were being sent over there? Oh it was from a point of view from a young officer being sent there it was the only place to go.

There was nowhere else at that time so it was far better than anything else on the books. And it was a good life, I mean you had Japanese servants, you had transport, the place was a bit of a disaster in many areas, I mean Tokyo was flattened, Hiroshima which. And nevertheless there were other areas that were absolutely pristine and beautiful and totally Japanese. The people were very good, we had a number of ex POWs from Japan in the battalion and while they might have had an edge in working the black market because they all spoke perfect Japanese.

No theft or anything like that. And to move to a big city from Kure to a greater big city like Tokyo and then find that lot of Tokyo was simply burnt out and then see how quickly it revived was astonishing, they really got their act together. And Macarthur sitting over the top of us of course. The Ambassador was driving around in something else but not his Rolls Royce. And the building had steps which you had to pull out to get down, we drove up to Deotchi I got out, Japanese bloke pulled down the steps in we go, marching into the Deotchi, biggest building in Tokyo at that stage, 6 storeys high.

In through 2 great big bronze doors at the opening and a great hall right down to the back where the lifts were, or the elevators and they to had bronze doors, there were 2 of them one on each side. And as we went in the doors opened, we walked in turned round, up to the 6th floor doors open went in. Right at the other end overlooking the Imperial palace was. I stopped with Colonel Prentice and my boss walked forward, Macarthur put his arms out like that, Robbie put his arms out like that, the doors closed, I never knew what happened, closets I ever came to meeting Macarthur.

And Tom Blamey came up on one occasion to, that. And then we took him back to the mess and he sat down in an easy chair and I noticed he had a very old uniform on,. And I went away, I was the mess Secretary at the time, lowest man on the totem pole and I went away to make certain the tea was coming and I turned back and he was asleep, so we just sat there and waited for him. Can I ask what your impression of him was at that time, before you met him?

Yes as a young officer the 2 different aspects of Blamey had sort of permeated through. I think the one that was repeated most was the run rabbit run exercise at Labuan. It was difficult to be judgemental because. We knew from gossip that there was always.

But as young soldiers he impressed us as being a very elderly gentleman and too heavy, the extraneous things. What about alternatively Macarthur, what were you impression were of him? Well Macarthur was, well actually I think he was a bomb but he had absolutely wonderful PR machine and it worked overtime for him, but. They all sort of went back into the dross and out came the shining example who sort.

No my feelings were quite against Macarthur when the war finished. When I went to Japan it was quite remarkable he had impressed himself on the Japanese population to a very great extent. Every time he left the Embassy where he lived to go to the Deotchi building the whole route was jam packed with.

Japanese people waving, cheering as he went in the car to work every morning, same coming back at night, no not a rent a crowd or anything like that they just got there. And I remember on May Day in there was a large communist influence starting to appear in Japanese politics and. I was on guard in that little hut I was talking about and wondering if I should call the 6th Cav or the 7th Cav to see if I could get something done with this huge mass of people.

What were your first impression of going to Japan and seeing the remnants of the war? Oh some of it was quite horrifying but on the other hand like most Australians at that time our feelings towards the Japanese were not exactly friendly.

But very soon you found that. We were suppose to be in countermands. So relationships were very good, for a time I went to a place called Koala which was a rest area for Beecroft people, not quite certain why we needed a rest area, but the general was a very avid golfer. And it was only the periphery that the occupation forces were. Did you ever have a, any insights or feelings that there still was a simmering of say resentment or anything like that?

No never once not even when we were processing Japanese prisoners of war coming back from the islands. So it was a good experience from that point of view,. We did train of course we had a Japanese Army training area at a place called Haramurah and that was a big training area for Japan, enough to use artillery on and we used to go up and do mortar training and small arms training and tactical training, keeping in……….. Yes and the battalions of the regiment used to compete, or still do compete for the Gloucester Cup presented by the Duke of Gloucester for the premier infantry battalion in the Australian Army and we were the only infantry battalions 1, 2 and 3 RAR.

And we were about the only people that were in a position to do anything in the way of training at that stage the others were just sort of re-forming back in Australia so we kept on. For example deployment of the machine gun platoon, deployment and use of the mortars, anti tank and that sort of thing.

Were there any problems, disciplinary problems with the Australian soldiers in Japan? I want to put this another way, most soldiers in Beecroft did not want to go home to early, it was a good life for them and they enjoyed what they were doing, it was great fun and they had a lot of fun there. As a result we had a very high incidence of VD [venereal disease] and no matter what you do you always seem to get a high incident of VD in those circumstances,. I did in sense that generally it was about 2 years, then as things changed back home that tenyer started to change to and some people were there for 3 years some were there for 3 years and went to Korea direct.

Some like myself had something like. It was just a re-deployment of the resources because we were getting thin on the ground really. I was sorry to go but when I came back there was 2 of us came back together and we. And they were great fun, I went round schools of all denominations, I went back to my old school and checked them out there. That must have been a bit of a thrill was it to go back to your old school?

I have mixed feelings about the headmaster because I sat outside his office on a number of occasions. But the deputy head I thoroughly enjoyed, who was good. And you gradually found there were favourite schools, I like going to.

Some of the Marist Brothers schools were absolutely magnificent teaching staff the way that the kids reacted to the teachers was terrific. Some of the great public schools were the same but far more formal you know Scotch College would be Scotch to the bottom and Sydney Grammar. The fellows who were running these cadet brigades were old, in the main, members of the Australian Instructional Corps which existed before the war, little carder of instructors, very very high in reputation.

And as I say they came from the AIC [Australian Instructional Corps] mostly and the courses number 7 number 8 and number 9 the senior staff officer was a fellow called Laurie Male, he was distinguished in the Australian Army for 2 reasons.

He was then went to 8th Division and was a guest of. Also a member of the Australian Instructional Corps, a very imposing well built man and a very gracious man.

I remember on one occasion we were running the Army Ball in the Trocadero in Sydney and that was our job 2 Cadet Brigade we ran the ball. And they were the sort of people who a young officer was thrown in amongst and really it was a great education for the 15 months I was there. General Berryman was the general involved and I got an.

February and 6 weeks later I was in Korea, so it worked somewhere along the line. Before you got that posting to Korea was there something you were doing here as well with the mines, with the mines gold strike? Oh yes, no that was the coal strike, yes that was just after I came back from Japan in fact I was on leave in August But anyhow we did a good job as far as the mines were concerned,.

So we got trucks from Orange, all came in with lights and engines that worked and all that sort of thing and we started to run coal and we did so for about nearly 3 weeks, quite exciting. But it was sufficient to bring the whole industry to a grinding halt including underground mines.

So the only way of getting coal into the power houses, which was the main source of power in those days was to used the open cut mines and use them vigorously to get coal in, otherwise everybody was in blackout.

How did most of the guys feel about being used in a, basically a union dispute? Loved it, loved it thought it was great. No it was absolutely hilarious I mean we worked like Trojans,.

And one morning he was down there and the thing tumbled and down came the structure. He probably needed to use it more than once that day. So it was rather good. The quartermaster Neville Wilson and I had a short. And so we had a pretty good time. What was some of the specifics of your role as adjutant in a special company like that? And generally carrying out the administration, producing routine orders and camp instructions to facilitate the operation,.

Oh under the National Service, under the National Emergency Regulations we could sequester transport, buildings, plant. Other than those trucks that you just talked about what else did you sequester?

Well we had the dozers and other machines used by the gunners to cut into the open cut and graders to keep the roads. No great military application except administration really. Not a great deal, it had been known probably better in miliary circles than it was in general public circles because the division of Korea into the 2 halves Russia half, at the end of the war and the American half and the. The Americans at that stage had handed power across to the South Koreans to Syngman Rhee, who was just as much a dictator as Kim Il-sung on the other end.

And that gave them a lot of headway and. China had not moved in so that there was a vacuum in power terms in that the US was still committed in South Korea but Russia had moved out and China had not taken over the role,.

China wanted to get the Russians out of the way anyhow. And so they intervened and of course since the war started they had been getting ready to intervene.

Would you say that most fellows that were sort of of your age and the ones coming through even. There was an element of that. There were a number of people who had missed out on active service with the benefits that that brings with it and also the adventure it brings with it and this looked as though it was going to be pretty short. And the Americans were the people. I forget how many countries we had involved with this, a flag in there or a pendant in there with a lot of flags on it, Thais, Greeks, French.

The French were absolutely wonderful they sent over a battalion but they had a general in Tokyo who dropped his rank to lieutenant colonel to command. I said Greece, I think there were 18 nations involved by the time we were finished, UK of course, Canada,. Turkey and that forms part of the Kapyong story the Turkish brigade, relationships were very good with them. We were also very short of troops by that stage, people had got back into civil life, the army had run down.

But a leavening of people with Second World War experience, most of those people had been in war,. But there was also a leavening of youngsters who had never seen active service before and that was the makeup of the unit that was put together in Japan. And some of those people in Japan had been in Japan for something like 4, 5 years during the occupation. And that resulted in 2 different streams which had an effect later. Those people who had served in Japan for more than 2 years only did 8 months in Korea, everybody else coming from Australia did 12 months.

So it meant at the end of 8 months we were going to lose the basis of the battalion,. The soldiers that were there just for the 8 months did they have a choice to stay longer if they wanted to? But no they had no choice and we had company commanders, company sergeant majors the backbone of the battalion simply taken away and they had to replace it, very difficult job. With, just going back to saying that we were deployed in support of the United Nations,.

Well it was regarded with, it was held in high regard and that was probably mainly because remember Doc Evatt was the first President of the United Nations Assembly in San Francisco before it moved to New York.

And we had a deep involvement with it and so as a country we thought it was a good thing. And we had a relative high casualty rate for a loan battalion during the Korean Campaign. I was and supported by my class mates, photos available and the reception was held at. So from the time that you got married how long was it before you got notice that you were going to be going?

Less than a month, hmm and so we had to re-arrange all our plans and we moved into my in-laws place and were allocated a veranda and a bedroom which we turned into an all electric home, there was 1 power point which was the light coming from the ceiling. And we flew up, the name I mentioned before Jim Shelton and.

I flew up on a converted bomber, a Lancastrian and over night in Manila and then went onto Iwakuni and I then, we then came back from Iwakuni which is not far from Kure to the base at Kure which Beecroft Base was still there and I got the call immediately and this was not into April. Within that time then between the couple of weeks still at home in Australia were there any special training that you underwent?

I knew, no not a great deal because what had happened in the intervening period was the war. So we finished up with rather a garbled picture and in fact. Then I was told I was a new boy so better learn it all over again, but I in fact took over the same platoon as the battalion I had when I was with Beecroft, not the same personnel but the same platoon, 2 Platoon A Company. So in a sense it was a home coming, later on it was even more so when I moved away from the platoon and became assistant adjutant and I was doing the job I was doing for some months a couple of years before and looking at the same name rolls and saying oh there still here, made it very easy for me to sort of fit in.

The platoon that came under your command though, had they seen fighting already? Oh yes, oh cripes yes they were well and truly in yep. And just before I arrived. And there was confidence in the commanders and you had to fit in and make certain you got it right and I had one of the best platoon sergeants that we ever had called Harris who was famous for saying that.

Monty my so called batman who was also my sig [signaller], in those days we used to have a radio set called a WS88, it fitted in two pouches, some officers used to carry these things,. But that meant that you had to keep on putting you hand up and his hand kept going up and down and on one occasion oh, with.

He went out wounded Jack Church had gone out wounded in the hand in a matter of about 3 weeks before, he was a class after me at Duntroon and……………. Do you know was that a challenge for you? Oh yes my word, my word, I was fortunate that within about 3 days we were in the biggest action we were likely to have for some months. Not quite, what happened was that as I said the company commander was an old friend and one of the platoon commanders was an old friend to and.

They filled me in and the other thing was that the battalion was so well grounded at this stage that if we stopped and went into a defensive position everybody. Yes Anzac Day was coming up and a lot of preparation had gone into tying us up with the Turkish brigade which was also in reserve, we were in reserve at the time, just out for a few days.

And pulled out mainly because of Anzac Day really and the Turkish brigade was sending over a large contingent and. I was lucky as the last arrived I got the highest hill and it was a little pimple up off the road, everybody thought this was going to be a piece of cake as usual, as you usually do and so everybody who could get on low ground got on low ground, while.

Or they could only give us predicted fire rather because they had no survey in, they went back into their gun position and had to try and do everything by guess and by God. I mean we stabilised that, there was some very heavy fighting there and then the night started to fall and they started to move round towards my position and beyond that to D Company which was on my right.

And we had a torrid night and they got between my platoon and the rest of the company down on the lower ground, in the morning we had to clean that out, lost a bloke there. We had, we were very fortunate we had 1 killed and about 12 wounded, most of them not severe, couple severe but.

And I can remember my greatest moment of terror was we had a Chinese gentleman with a long bamboo pole with a couple of cakes of gun cotton on the end with a string obviously to pull the string and ignite the gun cotton and blow it up. The drills take over to a very large extent and we laid out, we were unfortunate in one way that the ground that we were on was rocky and still pretty hard.

So a lot of time went into that, a lot of time went into getting up extra water and extra rations and God bless the platoon sergeant and the company quartermaster sergeant for that because they sent up more than we needed actually and we were able to use it for the rest of the company the next day. And we sorted ourselves out, got the phone lines in. Oh that was probably my first shot fired in anger and it had no effect on the enemy whatsoever, and it had a drastic effect on me because I got rid of my Smith and Wesson and got myself a Colt 45 and I finished.

This one worked quite well, we had, so our moment of danger passed on the first night. And that kept us. He might put it out a couple of hundred metres and walk it in,. Spade mortar, little spade mortar. And then we went through the withdrawal procedure, I suppose before that the other major event was we were napalmed by the Marines, inadvertently.

But those casualties were a very sorry sight, very bad, very badly burnt and there are stories in the book you can read on it. The withdrawal was, looking back on it now and looking back was one of the best parts, military parts of the operation. Sheer drop about metres on one side, miles down and they were on our tails and we leap frogged back and it was almost a copy book job.

And we got further back as darkness came and we finally broke contact and I suppose we had probably more casualties in that time than we had when we were forward. But we managed to get all those out.

And we finally moved back and then started in single file to get down to the river and the order of march was 3 Platoon, Company Headquarters. And off we went and we got down to the river and there standing in the middle of the river was a fellow called James Hartchi Young from B Company.

He was glad to see me and I was very glad to see him and we went across and rejoined the battalion. The rest of the company. And fortunately that was just about the last action we had, picked up a section of Machine Gun Platoon which had been. But with the Chinese it was different, Chinese were good soldiers and. Not much Burp guns and SKS predecessor of AK47 and some elementary stuff like the pole charge I mentioned and flares, used very sparingly, mortars,.

And vice versa of course we know that, but the Chinese were very good soldiers. Well we were on the central front at that stage and it was extremely hilly, very sharp cliffs. Very difficult country to navigate in and very difficult country to fight effectively and without good support, and we were a bit light on in support at Kapyong. Some, fair bit of snow still on the ground and as I said shail rock on the top paddy down below, most of the area had been cultivated, most of the arable area had been cultivated at.

But not a great deal of forest, vastly different to when I went back, it was completely overgrown, had great difficulty deciding where I was, but you can pick it out, take your time. The Americans supplied us with pile jackets which were a fleecy lined.

And the 2 were reasonably good, gloves were very clumsy and made weapon handling very difficult and the footwear I think was probably the worst feature and head gear. We had to get rid of slouch hat and put on. The Brits sent us some stuff over and it came via. And so that went out the window too, next winter we were better prepared, much better prepared. In the meantime were you getting any comforts fund stuff that helped?

Yes we were but nevertheless not generally spoken about. The greatest number of casualties we had were self inflicted wounds. Most of them were minor finger joint, worst toe joint, simple things like that, bullet through the hand, anything to get out.

They used to watch one another and, particularly when we were operating at altitude. And if they had start rubbing again,. Oh you mean did we blame the government, no, no soldiers are very funny people. No let me tell you about when we changed our uniforms into battle dress, British style battle dress blouses and things and they. I had Monty who was my signaller, batman and general confidant, while I was with the platoon and he and I got on very well together, he used to prepare the odd meal for me and start digging the trench or the slit trench and put up the hoochie [makeshift shelter].

And then when I came back he. Platoon commanders were in another series of groups, there were some Second World War officers who took specialist platoons like Machine Guns and Anti Tank. The platoon commanders were mainly from RMC, either my class or. Freddy used to run down a mountain like mountain goat from his Gurkha training, I staggered up and down.

Very good feeling among the officers, very good tight group, well oiled and the company sergeant majors were all old hands, well known, well respected, even loved, Darkie Griffiths,.

We did have a couple of people who were forced on the battalion, there were 2 different cases. One was a fellow called Arch. Similarly with, he had competition from a fellow called Wings Nichols,. Those were the sort of people who were, Nichols was not allowed across either. As soon as he came across with Hassett he blossomed and became a magnificent company commander and very distinguished.

And we were just fortunate that there were enough people in the. And before Kapyong started the battle there you were about to have your Anzac. But there was a fair amount of expectation to be a great big ding and we were really loving it. And it was a great healing factor I think for the soldiers, soldiers always liked Johnny Turk.

Oh yes of course it was because Anzac was a great thing anyhow and I mean nationally it was great things and you had to have someone to have Anzac with for god sake apart from the Kiwis,. And we concentrated on the main game, ourselves the Kiwis and the Turks. It was, well it was on that occasion, 6 weeks later when we moved up through.

Gloucester Valley and moved into what was called the James Town Line we were on a feature called the Lozenge feature, cause it looked like a lozenge, the digging was easy there. And before you became adjutant what other sort of role did you have as the section, sorry as platoon commander as far as looking after your men went?

In our case it was a check. It was just the drill your weapons were always done, your gear was always checked and where we could, particularly as the weather moderated, we went on a one for one basis where if something wore out or got torn we replaced it straight. When you were talking earlier about when you were withdrawing and you had Chinese POWs with you, what was the orders about how they were to be treated?

We had a general order that. No shade of a dispute or a likelihood of a breakout. And once they went back they went into, we had no facility on a Commonwealth basis for POWs apart from immediate caging with the military police and then they were handed over to the Americans.

I know we were discussing earlier their military capability but what was your personal regard for them? No the soldiers themselves like soldiers everywhere seem to have much the same attitude as we have in that they had to sort of keep a sense of humour. There was the famous incident of one of our fellows firing desperately at this fellow who was popping up and down behind a rock and shooting back and our bloke kept missing and finally the Chinaman put his shirt on a pole and waved it to.

But within the limits of the capability of the Chinese Army to look after them it did its. And they were the same. So a general respect grew up for them then they produced their artillery which was very effective and we had some of the heaviest concentrations that had been seen since the Second World War in later times in Korea.

So it sort of soldiery, I had to say the word camaraderie but a soldiery respect was certainly there between the Chinese and the Australians and most Commonwealth troops too with the Chinese. Again we were talking about what equipment they had what about in terms of uniform, were they better.

In terms of winter uniforms initially the Chinese were, they were wearing padded uniforms, their footwear was not particularly good and they did suffer obviously a number of, large number of casualties from frost bite from poor footwear. They improved that during the year, for the next winter.

But their general uniforms were quite adequate to the task, they started out white in winter,. Oh yes, yes weapon care, you slept with it, it was the only way to keep it from.

And I think we used a few strange medicines to, frost bite. And you had to burn down the odd house and keep warm and that sort of thing if you had the chance to do that. Otherwise it was very very difficult,. They were quite dangerous events without any enemy, simply the weather. But mostly people had gone, been taken out by the government, South Korea.

Oh yes I mean just south of us was Uijongbu which was about 20 miles south and from there on you were in a bustling community.

Asian community with arable land cultivated into paddy and rice and vegetables and small villages and the towns crowded with refugees. And Seoul was a very big city and slightly bashed about because it had been taken twice and misused a bit. But it still had a big population and still maintained, because it was a rail. In that war zone though were there any South Koreans still left, civilians or had they all?

No civilians no, well let me qualify that we had the Korean Service Corps which were civilians who carried for us, were our porters, these were organised a little later in the war. We had say with the battalion something like. We looked on them with great affection, a few of them actually came to Australia with connections with. I used to pay them and I think one dollar, one pound for heavens sake, no one US dollar, one US dollar was worth 43, won and they used to get paid something like 10 dollars a month so we used to go down to Seoul.

But they were a great asset but they were the only civilians we had in the war zone itself. So that our contact with the people was not great at all, much greater after the war than it was before the war, still maintained to this day locally. No, no Kapyong was in April and we moved up to the Imjin River in May and we took up a position there. The Chinese were in occupation north of the river and then gradually withdrew towards a fortified line north.

And the decision was finally taken to move north of the river, we moved north in August and started to prepare for a major offensive. It was a very well executed piece of work, it was a joy to, a military joy to see.

And the unit showed that it was capable of doing a great deal as a formed body. It was one of the best actions of Australian infantry battalion ever and deserves to be ranked up, won us a Battle Honour. My own part was very restricted I was, I came up daily to battalion headquarters and checked in. Famous occasions well there was the occasion when there was a battalion headquarters and Arch Luken,. And it was a very very fine action. For the purpose of the archive could you just give us an overview of the action?

The most important 2 were hill and hill and there was an intermediate one called hill , there was also another one called To go back in the story the brigade was. When the orders group had finished the 3 COs descended on the brigade major and they dictated the orders. And shortly after the battle the brigadier was relieved and went to Kenya and one of the, the British battalion commanders took over the brigade. It was a sad end for the brigade commander but the plan.

And there were repercussions later on but we survived those. Yeh and a New Zealand battery, field regiment commander and that was the cabal that sorted things out and probably just as well. Just to sort of illustrate it the brigadier was famous for going round and sitting at the battle map near the intelligence tent with a chinagraph pencil putting Bren gun. The brigadier got up. We moved forward into an area that had been cleared by the Canadians for us to start the operation, Canadian brigade and in particular the Royal 22nd Regiment, a French Canadian regiment, they held what we call a forming up place.

And from there we launched into the battle and we took first. Before we got to we had to take and the fog came down, it was very early in the morning, it was probably fortunate in a way but it made navigation very difficult for B Company and A Company who were the assault companies at this stage.

And they did run into some trouble, the fog cleared and Hassett then put C Company through those 2 companies and swept up the hill and took it and held it, which was far more important than just taking it. And we then moved B Company up there and swept on towards And in doing this we used a great deal of artillery, the entire corps artillery, every gun within range was used in support so we had something like 72 guns.

The Chinese were taken by surprise when we took but they were ready for us when we moved onto and the battle on was far more intense. We had a number of casualties mainly in C Company and B Company and we had support from the 8th Hazzars which was a British cavalry regiment using Centurion tanks.

Now we got those tanks up the hills. It was so accurate that you could keep on using a tank gun until they were just yards away so it managed to get us in with. Nevertheless we did suffer quite badly the evacuation casualties was very well organised and we used the people I spoke about before the Korean Service Corps plus our own people of course to get people down. I remember things flashing into your mind.

I remember on one occasion during the battle we had a casualty Darcy Eckles was the acting company sergeant major of B Company, he was hit in the throat and the company Medic managed to stop the bleeding which was very difficult with a carotid artery and we got him down to the landing. He was a very popular sergeant, great soldier and it was so silly,. Those things sort of hurt more than others that you sort of get from time to time. As adjutant did evacuating the wounded come under your jurisdiction?

Not evacuating them, finding out where they went. We had great trouble because our wounded would go through a number of channels, that chopper for. Then they could go back from there without us knowing anything about it direct to US Evacuation Hospital across to Tokyo General back to Triplah in Hawaii, San Francisco and the first we hear about it is in the Stars and Stripes.

We had one fellow. The Doc was the principal there and he said what happened. The evacuation nevertheless was very much better than it was in the Second World War and the support was absolutely fantastic from both the Nor MASH, the Norwegian Army Hospital and the American, both specialists and Nor MASH was chest and stomach wounds and so if you had that you went immediately to there either.

Others went to and they dealt with a more general surgical procedures. When you were talking about that it was hard to try and find where they had gone to, to track them all what. Okay get his papers, his dog tag and anything else of a personal nature and you go through that and then bundle it up and send it off. So in a circumstance like that where someone is killed their personal effects etc come back to you? No we send those to, we had a little branch of the Army Records Office in Korea itself, 6th Advance 2nd Echelon they called it, strange name and they dealt with such things.

They looked after all our statistics and they looked after the belongings of next of kin and processed those back through Japan and sent them. Oh yes I had to write to wives and mothers and fathers, yes not a very nice thing to do. So the notification process used to go through to Australia, normally handled by the personnel services in each of the commands in Australia.

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How to become a female escort what does nsa mean sexually Brisbane Trying to orient ourselves around the Main Canal, we wandered the cobbled streets, absorbing the atmosphere of this unique city. We had a couple of things more operational, we had Korean riots in those days. Give me a bit of peace and privacy any day. I know it does happen, just not to us on this trip. Yes, the scenic route! There was nowhere else at that time so it was far better than anything else on the books.
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Best sites for casual sex best site for casual dating I realise that Australians do not have a strong philanthropic culture but just think what we could create in our communities if we did? As a child were you perceptive enough to realise that it obviously had had an enormous impact on him? Not only could you study history but you would walk past it on your way to school. Now that would have been memorable! When planning to walk your first camino, there are a hundred things to get excited about and another hundred or more logistical questions. The walks were of varying lengths, and they moved us around the island, allowing us to take in the best views of bush, beach and convict ruins.

So much for my visions of a wind and storm-lashed Tassie, with the salt spray stinging our faces as we heeled over in the gales. I know it does happen, just not to us on this trip. We were not deterred though and still made the most of the experience.

We moored in secluded bays and took short walks along remote bush trails and pebbly shores. It was heavenly to be gently rocked to sleep by the tidal rise and fall, and wake to the sun sparkling mirror-like on the sheltered bays. Sailing is such a simple way to spend your time, being guided by the wind and, fed by the ocean.

The abundant sea life was quite incredible, and that fishing line over the back of the boat brought in exquisite whiting, endless squid and a grand, old daddy crab. Due to our respect for his advanced age, he escaped the pot, was untangled from the line and returned to the ocean to live another day. Our friends were not only sailors, but also divers and the larder was further supplemented with lobster and abalone — all legally harvested of course.

In previous posts, I have mentioned my complete lack of gourmet tastebuds, but the lobster was to-die-for. While the abalone was nice, it did not compare to the lobster or any of the other fresh morsels, and I am not really sure why people make such a fuss over this mollusc.

Our sailing adventure in Tassie was the perfect blend of warm friendship, the freshest of fresh food, and the stunning outdoors. It was entertainment enough just to sit and watch the cloud formations change from fluffy white to moody grey, and see the wind change the water from mirror to white caps. With limp sails, we returned to the civilisation of Hobart knowing that we had enjoyed something pretty remarkable.

It was a true privilege to see this wild and pristine part of Australia. I felt like all my troubles had been blown and washed out of me, and I was renewed and rinsed clean. I am not sure if that allows you to sail or just sleep! We visited in Autumn. The days were cool and crisp but unfortunately not very windy. If you enjoy sailing then the route we took was beautiful, relatively protected and safe.

To really get a true sense of sailing in Tasmania, have a look at this blog by sailing enthusiasts, Jack and Jude: He is indeed a brave man for marrying a crazy woman like me! I have only lived here for 25 years, so I am not quite a local yet, but this town has embraced me from day one. Over the past 15 years, the flow of Mudgee-bound traffic has steadily increased, and many people now decide that a weekend is simply not long enough, and they move here permanently.

Like many small towns in rural Australia, the lack of employment opportunities is a constant challenge. However, if you are innovative, have your own business that can tap into broader markets, or are financially self-sustainable, then Mudgee offers lifestyle benefits that are hard to beat.

I told you I was biased! As part of the three-week Mudgee Wine Festival, Flavours of Mudgee creates a huge street party, celebrating all the delicious food and wine produced in our region.

Importantly, it also celebrates the diversity of our population through the medium of food. Added to that are olive oils and olives, chocolate, cordials, fudge, relishes, ice cream, saffron, cheese, pistachios, breads, jams, honey and even native plants and seeds. All made, or grown, by hand and with an eye on quality. Truly a feast for all the senses. I am a little embarrassed to admit that this year was the first time I had experienced Flavours of Mudgee.

Market Street Mudgee never looked so good or so busy! The Mudgee CBD was jumping on the day. We had to park our car three blocks away unheard of in a country town as the street was so busy.

As we strolled around the corner into Market Street, we could see why. Estimates were put at around 9 people sipping, tasting and dancing along to the music. Not a bad number when you consider the resident population of Mudgee is only 8 people. Now that is some party.

Small children with brightly-painted faces, dragging their colourful balloons behind them, dodged in and out of groups of people. Locals used the opportunity to stop, chat, and to catch up on all the latest news. Even in a country town, time gets away from you and sometimes you have to make a special effort to reconnect with friends. Visitors dragged hay bales into a welcoming square formations, sat down, clinked glasses and raised them high to salute their health and the enjoyable weekend.

The Mudgee Wine Festival is held for three weeks each September. Many of the wineries host special music and food events to compliment the tasting and sales of wine. While these are, no doubt, pleasant entertainments, most of these activities take place out at the wineries themselves and outside of the town centre. In contrast, the Flavours of Mudgee event brought around 27 wine, beer and spirit producers out of their cellar doors and into the main street.

No wonder there was a party atmosphere. A good education as well as a taste sensation. I was also pleased to see some of the local retailers breaking out of their normal shop fronts and showcasing their wares al fresco.

In the daily rush, sometimes it is easy to pass by a store, thinking that one day I will pop in when I have time. As the sun began to slip behind the Mudgee hills, the tone of the occasion started to change from family to fiesta. The stilt walkers retired with the dwindling sunlight, to be replaced by local bands playing tunes that just had to be danced to.

The street lights came on and the party rocked into the night. It is a free event that genuinely celebrates community on a whole range of levels. Flavours of Mudgee Street Festival is a community street party celebrating good food, wine and people. Wine is also sold by the glass or bottle. Food can be purchased from a large variety of stalls. Otherwise it is a free event.

Why not feel the love of a warm and welcoming community as well as escape to the country? Simply turn up — no bookings required although do book your accommodation well in advance as Mudgee is a very popular weekend destination, especially in September.

For information about another fabulous Mudgee event, have a look at my post about Sculptures in the Garden. If I have not tempted you to visit Mudgee yet, then have a look at this blog for the best of food, wine and Mudgee landscape: I need goals and I need exciting things on my horizon to keep me motivated and interested.

Many years ago I developed an aversion to birthdays. Most times I felt like I had accomplished a big, fat nothing.

This was inaccurate and no way to think about my life, so I decided to change. Each birthday I would sit down and set myself some small challenges for the next 12 months. Then, I would stick this list, big and bold, on my fridge door. This provided no end of amusement for visitors to my house, but more importantly it kept me honest and kept me focused.

Subsequent birthdays were greeted with slightly less trepidation, and a degree of excitement, as I set myself even more ambitious goals. Perhaps this is a poor choice of words, and I do not plan on going anywhere soon, except to remarkable, exotic overseas and Australian destinations. The Mississippi River Trail: It covers 3 miles 5 km , using the Mississippi River as the common theme or motif.

In the past, the USA was never really high on my travel wish list mainly because the cultural contrast was not significant enough. However, this trip has captured my imagination because of the many states we will pass through — their different climate, architecture, history, scenery and accents.

Yes, it will take us around three months, but what a way to experience a country. Not as energetic as the first bucket list entry, but no less fascinating. Happy to take suggestions on the best ways to approach this adventure. The vibrant colours of India. How do they cram so much chaos, colour and culture into one five-letter word? The thought of the scale of the population in India frightens the pants off me, but I am busting to get there to experience such their vibrant culture.

I am not brave enough to do this solo or via independent touring so I am currently researching cost-effective and well-regarded tours that will give me a small insight into this country. Fingers crossed, I get to tick this one off the list in Has always been lurking on the list since we had a short visit to the Marmaris region back in I loved the collision of Asian, European and Middle Eastern culture and history. We found the people incredibly friendly, and the architecture and arts fascinating.

To be on the safe side, we will wait until the dust settles a bit in that region before venturing over. As an aside, there is a km walk called the Lycian Way that follows the Turkish coast line from Fethiye to Antalya.

Perhaps we could incorporate that stroll into a visit? Monks line up to collect alms. I am not sure if you have come across The Man in Seat 61? The loose plan is to fly into Singapore and then train and bus where necessary north through Malaysia, Thailand and finishing in Luang Prabang, Laos.

Again, a fantastic way to experience a variety of Asian cultures, move slowly through the changing countryside, and meet the locals.

Houseboat Trip on the Hawkesbury River: This one is much closer to home, and probably the shortest travel adventure. The Hawkesbury River is one of the main rivers that forms a rough border on the northern side of the Sydney basin. Only three hours from home but a world away from the chaos of Sydney. This walk starts at Irun, near the border of France, and follows the Spanish coastline until you cross into the province of Galicia, then turning south-west towards Santiago de Compostela.

This is a tough walk apparently, due to the mountainous terrain, so we had better start training now! We also plan to spend some time giving back. What is missing from our list? What cracker destinations must we add? The Bucket List is open to all suggestions.

I figure once the appeal of sitting on a long haul flight fades, our focus will change and we will travel much closer to home.

It appears that they also had the same conversations every year they saw the event on television. It is one of those places that has transformed itself from a sleepy agricultural service centre into a food and wine destination.

Unlike many larger places though, it has retained its small town, heritage feel which equates to a low-stress and relaxing weekend. Friday night in Canowindra and the town was jumping. I had booked our accommodation 12 months in advance, and confirmed it multiple times, and it was just as well. Canowindra was overrun with balloonists, support crews, balloon lovers and thousands of other tourists just like ourselves. The footpaths were bustling and the cafes and pubs overflowing onto the streets.

I can only imagine what a positive impact this event must have on the local economy, creating a sense of excitement and energy, if for only one weekend. We also booked a table at one of the clubs for dinner and, even with a booking, it was a minute wait for some very average food. But it was hot and filling and just what we needed after a big day of travel and sight-seeing.

That leaves plenty of time for a lazy exploration of the Canowindra streets, the many boutiques, art and craft stores and gourmet food and wine outlets, and the Age of Fishes Museum.

Of more interest to the men in our party were the many old Holden cars parked cheek-by-jowl or bumper to bumper? This collection was unique in Australia apparently due mainly to the pristine condition of many of the models.

It was a shame that its opening hours were sporadic and unreliable. The men had to make do with pressing their noses up against the glass and looking longingly. As the day waned we gathered up our folding chairs, picnic baskets and every skerrick of warm clothing we possessed and, along with a thousand of our closest friends, converged on the local sports ground.

This was the home of the Balloon Glow and a party atmosphere was definitely in the making with every known food stall and beverage bar onsite. A balloon skims the top of the trees as it comes into land at the Balloon Glow. Now that is skill! Other balloons were trailered onto the field in a collapsed state and placed strategically around the ground.

Excitement built as the sun went down and the number of balloons increased. When it was fully dark, the lights went out, the music began, and the balloons worked their magic. The balloons, and the flames inside, winked on and off in time with the music, blinking out vibrant colours and magically appearing out of the darkness.

Such a simple activity but so striking and memorable. Sadly the music ended, the lights came on, and the crowds beat a hasty retreat in much need of a hot drink and a warm bed. The next morning dawned bright and clear, as is the autumnal habit of this region, and we crunched across the frosty paddocks to watch the Key Grab. The rewards for such precision are some handy cash prizes. We could have looked a bit silly — a large crowd of people standing in the middle of an empty paddock at a.

But as we spotted the balloons pop up on the horizon and make a bee-line towards us, we knew it had been worthwhile. They started out looking like boring black dots but as they zoomed closer, the early sun lit them up like floating rainbows — a riot of colour and vibrancy. The crowd cheered and ducked for cover as the balloons zeroed in on us and the target, but just as they neared, a gust of wind or a subtle breeze would foil their attempt and send them gently veering off into a neighbouring paddock.

There is always next year. As we made our way home, we wondered why it had taken us so long to visit Canowindra and the Balloon Challenge. We stayed at the Old Vic Inn in a massive room with 15 foot ceilings.

There was a small entrance fee to the Balloon Glow but the Key Drop activity was free. Canowindra International Balloon Challenge will be held on April Do this if you are in need of a fun and interesting weekend away in gorgeous countryside or if you have a weakness for hot air balloons.

Book your accommodation early. We drove from Mudgee via Dubbo. Yes, the scenic route! I have my very own balloon ride scheduled for 4 March If you are an Aussie, you would have to have spent your life under a rock not to have heard of the many famous Tasmanian walking destinations on offer, such as Cradle Mountain National Park. International readers, you are excused! These walks were the perfect way to break up the road trip, stretch our legs and let the bulk of the grey nomad traffic pass us by.

Again, we were grateful to our Hobart friends, keen bushwalkers themselves, who gave us the heads-up about the best short walks in the areas we were visiting. This park is a good mix of soaring peaks, rough bushland and picture-perfect rivers and streams. It has a number of walks ranging from a short one-hour stroll along boardwalks, to a whole day climbing rugged paths and hiking through dense forest.

As background , in there was a major push by the Tasmanian Government to dam the Franklin River, and sections of the Gordon River, as part of a hydro-electricity scheme. Naturally, this was strongly opposed by the environmental movement and resulted in the largest conservation battle ever conducted in Australian history.

Driving further west, but still in the same National Park, we stopped again to stroll up to the Nelson Falls. I realise I have been known for doing a spot of extreme walking at times, but the walks we completed that day were mostly short and over relatively accessible terrain. It is hard to believe that so many people just whizz by in their vehicles and miss the majesty of this wilderness.

Arriving in Strahan , we took the opportunity to explore the Gordon River via water rather than on foot. Yes, it was a typical touristy thing to do but sometimes I just have to swallow my pride if I want to access far-flung places. The worst and most dangerous convicts were sent to Sarah Island. On this island, convicts experienced severe deprivation and few lived to tell the tale. It is hard to picture such hardship when standing amongst exquisite surrounds on a peaceful Autumn day in the 21st century.

The cruise up the Gordon River was simply stunning. I kept shaking my head in wonder at the thought of the damage that could have been done to this unspoiled region, all in the name of progress. At every bend in the river there was another spectacular vista, clear, mirror-like water and impenetrable forest.

Back on land again, we fired up the little car and drove north-easterly, just skirting the edge of Cradle Mountain National Park. Without enough time or the appropriate walking gear, that would have to wait for our return visit one day.

Heading south, we swung into the Freycinet National Park. Unlike our other short walks, this park was heaving with day trippers and fellow walkers. Freycinet is an attractive blend of bush and beach. It also has well-developed camping, visitor centre and other facilities, so no wonder it was popular.

Our objective was to take the track up to the lookout delivering the famous, postcard views of Wineglass Bay. After much puffing and panting, we arrived and immediately grabbed our cameras. The view was stunning and definitely worth the exertion.

We were so tempted to keep walking and scramble down the other side of the mountain to the bay itself, but we had to turn away from the brilliant white beaches and yachts gently bobbing in the azure blue water. How does nature deliver such vibrant colours? Edging ever closer to Hobart, the last park on our list to explore was a day on Maria Island. The island is a minute ferry ride out from the small town of Triabunna, and the ferry is a handy way to rest your legs before, and after, a day of walking.

Maria Island was another penal settlement but not a very successful one. Even though it was an island, this did not deter convicts from making their escape. Escape attempts happened so frequently, and were so successful, that the penal colony was finally abandoned in favour of Port Arthur. Even if you are not into history, this island has enough natural beauty to keep anyone entertained. Armed with a map and interpretative guide, we started out on the coastal path and then back-tracked through the scrub.

The walks were of varying lengths, and they moved us around the island, allowing us to take in the best views of bush, beach and convict ruins. The rocks and cliffs that edge the pebble beaches were particularly attractive with their layered colours and sculpture-like erosion. A range of national park passes are available depending on the time you spend there. The days were cool and crisp, and thankfully the Rain Gods stayed away. We drove and, other than the slow traffic, it was the best and most flexible way to access the parks.

I think you would wait a long time before you found a more passionate Tasmanian hiker than Denis. For really detailed and comprehensive information about a whole range of hiking opportunities in south east Tasmania, have a look at his blog at: Lash out and read it in hardback. At twenty-six, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. With nothing to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life: She had no experience of long-distance hiking and the journey was nothing more than a line on a map.

But it held a promise — a promise of piecing together a life that lay shattered at her feet. Yet another walking book that made me want to do just that — WALK! I have completed three caminos so far, but these all pale in comparison to the walk that Cheryl undertook. Cheryl is truly a wild child after her mother dies. It plunged her into bottomless grief which pushed her into a self-destructive life. Too many men, drugs and other risk-taking behaviours. Ultimately, the trail broke her apart, piece by piece, and then built her back up again as a stronger, more balanced person.

I marvel that she could undertake such a mammoth trek with so little preparation and training. It was like a comedy of errors in the beginning as she limped along mile after mile, being crushed by the weight of her pack. I felt every blister and aching muscle, but I also felt her triumph as her body started to acclimatise and Cheryl started to believe that she could actually achieve her lofty goal. The thing I most admire about this book is her unstinting honesty. In essence, it is an inspiring human story played out in glorious scenery, and in hiking boots.

Her books have been translated into forty languages around the world. She lives in Portland, Oregon. Tweet Email Print Like this: It is not often that charity, community and culture collide in an event that turns into a genuine win, win, win.

Mudgee , in Central West NSW, is well-known as a weekend escape to enjoy rolling hills, fresh foods and a diverse range of delicious wines to accompany both the view and the victuals. Adding another string to the tourism bow is the ongoing growth of cultural activities such as sculpture. Kay Norton-Knight of Rosby Wines has been a long-time supporter of the local arts scene and is an accomplished artist herself.

Six years ago, Kay rallied her friends and family, identified a worthy charity, and Sculptures in the Garden was born. As with many community events, SiG as Sculptures in the Garden is fondly referred to started out small with just over works, and has experienced exponential growth each year.

Even if you are not in the market for a piece of sculpture for your house or garden, this event is simply a charming day out. All the sculptures are cleverly placed in the gardens and surrounds of the rustic Rosby homestead, providing a picture-perfect backdrop to the many works. The local Guide Dogs committee provide sumptuous catering and Rosby wines are available by the glass, or bottle if you feel so inclined. Over 3 people did just that over the weekend.

But SiG is not just about standing back and looking at art. There was also an opportunity to learn. On both days of the exhibition, there were sculpture walks led by local artists as well as garden walks. A new event this year featured a panel discussion that delved into the importance of public art and its place in the Mudgee region. The audience melted and drooled over the latest litter of golden pups.

Children were not forgotten in this event. The children were enthusiastic and excited to be able to show off their creativity, and their display demonstrated that there is some serious budding talent out there. A sign of things to come. SiG has a more lasting impact than just an annual weekend. As well as generating significant funds for the Guide Dogs and tourism traffic throughout the region, it also provides an opportunity for the Mudgee community to connect with a number of signature pieces on a longer-term basis.

The SiG exhibition has four separate acquisitive prizes. Mid-Western Regional Council is progressively developing a sculpture walk along the banks of the Cudgegong River. The river meanders through Lawson Park and the sculptures add additional interest to the riverside walk. A true statement piece, the 4. It will definitely catch the eye of passers-by AND generate a great deal of discussion. One of the things I really love about SiG is how it makes sculpture totally accessible to Joe Public.

I think this has something to do with the fact that the art is all outdoors in a natural setting — no stuffy galleries or pretentious crowds.

The volunteer team that organises SiG are to be congratulated for all their hard work. Mudgee may be rich in food and wine but visitors and community alike can also enjoy a new kind of richness — a richness of the soul. Hard to measure but no less important. Sculptures in the Garden is a two-day arts event.

Food and wine is available each day. Stay for an hour or all day. Add some culture to your wine escape in Mudgee and drive home with a permanent memory of Mudgee in the form of a work of art.

You will need a car to get out to Rosby. No public transport is available to the site but taxis are available from Mudgee. Rosby is home to Kay and Gerald Norton-Knight. The event is created and operated by volunteers. For another, almost local, perspective on SiG, plus some good photos of the event, have a look at https: Until , I had never spent much time in Tasmania.

Sure, I had seen plenty about it on TV, and had once been locked in a conference room in Hobart for a week, but I had never had the opportunity to really explore.

Many people had told me it was green and lush, like a mini-England, but it was time to go and find out for myself. I will talk about that in a separate post at a later date, as it was such a special experience — a true feast for all the senses.

There is nothing like exploring a place with the locals to get all the inside information on their patch. The thing I particularly enjoy is that you get to explore a place at a much deeper level — the economy, the politics and what makes a community tick.

A true warts-and-all picture. I can safely say that Tasmania won our hearts. Tasmania is the complete package when it comes to the variety of things to see and do. Hobart is well-known for its convict and pioneering heritage. Settled in , many of its handsome sandstone buildings remain intact, giving the city a feel of grandeur and grace. Other than a stroll around the distinctive wharf area — the final port for the annual Sydney to Hobart yacht race — a journey to Hobart would not be complete without a visit to MONA.

Even if you are not an art lover, go there for a complete reorientation of your senses. I do not have an artistic bone in my body but even I could appreciate the diversity and depth of most of the art works. The MONA experience started with a relaxing ferry ride from the Hobart wharf, up the Derwent River, to the foot of a sandstone cliff that encases the Museum.

Where things started to challenge normality was when I had to walk four storeys underground to disappear into a world of wackiness and confrontation.

I spent most of the next four hours laughing outrageously, laughing nervously or being completely gobsmacked! I have no idea whether those were appropriate responses, and perhaps I was showing my complete lack of culture and civilisation.

There was the Fat Car, a plump and pumped up Porsche, as a commentary on our flabby and obese lifestyles. There were Egyptian sarcophagi and a truck in a hall. Yes, a full-size semi-trailer four storeys underground, wedged in a hallway. By the end of the visit, I was physically exhausted and almost sore from the sensory overload.

Such an assault on the senses, both positive and negative, has left a deep and lasting impression. It has not converted me to become a modern art fan, but it has certainly put Hobart on the cultural map! A postcard showing the level of detail and the skill of the art of The Wall.

Located at Derwent Bridge, midway between Hobart and Strahan, a sculptor is creating a breathtaking work of art in wood. The Wall is made up of three metre high panels of wood, all joined together to form a solid visual expanse.

These panels are being progressively carved to highlight the history of the central Tasmanian highlands, starting with the Indigenous people and including the timber industry, pastoralists, miners and Hydro workers. The skill involved is simply outstanding — a wagon has every spoke, chain and rope carved individually and separately to stand out in relief.

When we visited in , the wall was around 40 metres long, with the final length to be metres. I agree that sometimes wood turning and wood carving can be a little twee, but this is art in a wooden form. Back in the car, we joined the stream of grey nomads heading west towards Strahan. Get stuck behind a grey nomad in a caravan or camper, and even though Tasmania is small, it takes a long time to roll anywhere!

The West Coast Wilderness Railway was a highlight for the train nut in our travelling party. The steam train puffed its way from Queenstown to Strahan, through some of the most remote and picturesque landscape you could ever come across. Queenstown is a bit of an anomaly in the normally leafy Tasmanian countryside. It is a moonscape, battered and barren as a result of over years of copper mining.

It is a tired community with little going for it other than being the starting point for the tourist railway. I am sure the loyal locals would beg to differ, but the down-at-heel feel and multiple empty shops indicated to me that its time has passed. The negative impacts of the copper mining history can still be seen today with both the Queen and King rivers classified as toxic. A perfect example of paying for the mistakes of generations past.

It strains and groans as it rattles and ratchets its way up the mountain. I wondered if we were going to make it, while the train buff was almost hanging out the carriage window, counting every rack and every pinion. Other than being a very pleasant way to spend a day, we were educated about the pioneering history of the region as we rattled along the route, with a number of stops where we could pan for gold, explore ruins and stretch our legs.

Returning to Strahan , we spent the rest of our visit wandering around the streets and docks. Strahan is a charming port town, perfectly set up for tourists with a range of intriguing art and craft stores, and plenty of top quality food and beverages.

Not the most exciting souvenir in my opinion, but each to his own! Unfortunately, time beat us and we had to point the little car back towards Hobart. I have only covered a few of the highlights we experienced. There is just so much history and beauty crammed into this gem of an island. One day when we sign on as full-time grey nomads, we will return. MONA is open every day except Tuesdays. The Wall is open seven days and entrance fees apply.

MONA is located 11 kilometres north of Hobart — approximately 25 minutes by water, or 20 minutes by road. Choose Tasmania if you would like a short break with lots to do in a small space. We drove and, other than the slow traffic, it was the best and most flexible way to move about.

I am not the only one to wax lyrical about a road trip in Tasmania. I entered the city over the bridge built in 25BC, made up of 60 perfect consecutive arches, and I knew I was in for something special. The plaza was just coming to life — yes, it was pretty early, but the throng grew and it became a hub of chatter and gossip. Even the ubiquitous Spanish storks thought it was the best place to reside. I think that Australia has a lot to learn from countries such as Spain. Either by good luck, good management or tradition, towns, cities and even the smallest villages in Spain have incorporated central spaces for people to meet and socialise.

This has to be good for the soul as well as building a strong sense of community. It also gives the areas a warm, bubbling vibe. It attracts tourists like me and we stay and spend money. What is not to love? It occupies a prominent position on the Silver Route Ruta de la Plata , the main transport route for moving goods especially silver from southern Spain to the north, and is the basis for the km-long Camino Via de la Plata trail.

The Romans left behind lasting reminders of their occupation which are a feast for both the eyes and minds of amateur historians like me. It comes with a handy map which shows you how to navigate the city to reach these sites.

My first stop was the Amphitheatre, a stage where burly gladiators wrestled with beasts. This building preserves some of its original elements, like the grandstands, the box and the gallery.

I could almost hear the roar of both the audience and the ferocious animals fighting for their lives. The Teatro Romano right next door to the Amphitheatre was erected between 15 and 16BC and can seat people. The original stage area is dominated by two rows of columns, decorated with the remains of sculptures of deities and imperial figures.

When I visited, workers were busily constructing temporary stages and sound systems. I am not sure what performance was planned but I suspect it was opera. How cool would it be to watch any show against such a historic backdrop? Now that would be something to see and a perfect excuse for me to return.

On the same site are a number of gardens and excavations revealing detailed friezes and parts of Roman buildings. It must be a nightmare to build anything in this city. As soon as you start digging a footing or similar, you find yet another Roman, Visigoth or Moorish relic. These are big buildings, how do they get buried so deep underground? Obviously more research is required on my part. Back to the map again and off to the Roman Circus.

This is one of the best preserved circuses to be found and also one of the largest at m long and 96m wide. The stands could hold 30 spectators. What a sound they would have made when their charioteer was winning. The Aqueduct of the Milagros is simply gobsmacking. How something so large and so old can remain standing for so long, I will never know.

More than metres of the aqueduct have been preserved and some sections are 27m high. The Diana Temple was similarly astounding. I love how such history is juxtaposed with modern buildings right next door.

Again, that will have to wait until next time. As I explored the city, I bumped into a few of my fellow walkers. There were arches and forums and Christian churches and bridges and Moslem citadels. I suspect it is possible to spend days in this magical city and still not feel like you have seen it all. Sitting there, I started to wonder what it would feel like to grow up and live, amongst such significant history.

Not only could you study history but you would walk past it on your way to school. Or maybe I would be just another bored school kid, more interested in the playground and Pokemon Go than a pile of dusty stones. More things to ponder as I shouldered my backpack and stepped out into the dawn, northbound once more ….

A rest day, so two nights in September Cool mornings and beautiful blue sky days. I had done some research before leaving Australia and all the forums etc raved about Merida as a perfect place to rest and soak up some ancient history.

For more information about walking the Camino Via de la Plata, have a look at https: For more photos of Roman ruins, have a look at: We Australians are spoiled for choice when seeking a bolt-hole to escape the worst of Winter. From any point on our continent, just keep heading north, and each inch on the map will equate to a couple of degrees further up the thermometer.

Last year it was Hawaii; this year we set off for Palm Cove in far north Queensland to defrost, and see what all the fuss was about. Palm Cove is one of a series of small beachside communities that populate the region 28km north of Cairns. If you plan to do much tripping around in this part of the country, I would recommend a hire car. By the time you calculate the cost of taxis and additional shuttle transport, the cost of a hire car and the ultimate flexibility it provides, makes it a financially viable option.

In contrast, I would not recommend the Atlas Car Rental company at all. Yes, they were one of the cheapest options available but the staff were exceptionally rude, totally disinterested and refused to supply the size of car originally booked online. Their version of customer service was to hand us the keys and walk away.

Winding up the rubber band of our little car, we did a quick raid on the supermarket in Cairns before making our way to Palm Cove. For some reason we thought this necessary, not thinking that the towns and villages further north would be of the size to contain decent supermarkets.

As we drove north, the Captain Cook Highway took us slightly inland but the abundant tropical vegetation and soft sea breezes indicated that the ocean was never far away.

It made it so easy to move around. It was a leisurely three-block stroll back from the main drag — super-quiet and leafy.

Yes, the true definition of a tropical paradise. The Weather Gods continued to frown on us and, even though it was lovely to pull on the shorts and t-shirts, it either misted, drizzled or rained properly the entire time we were there.

Knowing that we would not melt under a little rain, and with only four full days to cram everything in, we set out to discover why so many rave about Palm Cove. The esplanade is edged with swaying palms, a United Nations of eating houses and ice cream stands, while a long and winding path bordered the beach.

I was surprised and disappointed to see signs warning of crocodiles and stingers in the ocean, but a few brave souls frolicked in the green water regardless. The hire car gave us the scope to tour the neighbouring villages of Clifton Beach, Kewarra Beach, Trinity Beach — more swaying palms and ice cream shops — and then explore further afield.

We tried to plan our days around the weather forecast, which turned out to be a really good intention but completely pointless on implementation. First on the list was a visit to the Kuranda Rail and Skyrail. It was frustrating to watch the rain spatter against the train windows as we weaved and rattled our way up the mountains to Kuranda. The atmospheric train ride and history attached to the railway was fascinating, however Kuranda itself was a bit of a tourist trap — all souvenir shops and over-priced eating establishments.

A quick walk up the main street was enough for us. The Skyrail floated over the tree tops of the Barron Gorge National Park as we descended the mountains and back down to the coast. We particularly enjoyed a short, guided walking tour from the Barron Falls station. Thank goodness there were only 11 of us plus crew on board, as we huddled under protection from the rain the majority of the trip.

One of the busy little clown fish. It was a weird feeling to snorkel and, at the same time, feel the rain pounding on my back. The cloud cover did not allow the coral colours to really dazzle but I just pretended I was hovering above brilliant reds, blues and greens. Another gorgeous day trip was up to Mossman Gorge and then onto Daintree.

We sought sanctuary and dryness in the Matchbox car and drove a little further north to the Daintree River. For around an hour we cruised the Daintree River, taking in the mangroves and wildlife large and small. The weather was still grey and forbidding but not half as forbidding as the huge crocodiles lounging on the river bank waiting for a tourist to dangle a lazy arm over the side of the boat.

One of the residents of the Daintree River area…thank goodness my camera has a decent zoom. How lucky are we to have the diversity of wildlife — both beautiful and murderous — in Australia? Palm Cove ticked all the boxes for our Winter escape. It is the perfect destination for a short break with plenty to see and do within an easy drive. A five day break with self-contained accommodation. Eating out in Palm Cove is very expensive so it was nice to have the option to self-cater.

Apparently there are certain times of year when it is safer to swim in the water. To escape Winter and feel the sun and warmth on our skin — with sunscreen of course. If you only have 48 hours in Palm Cove, then this blog may help you narrow down your choices: I am going to apologise right up front for this blog post. Or it could identify for you a place you definitely do NOT want to visit.

But for this something year old big kid, it was a dream come true. As a child growing up in the s and 70s, the highlight of each week was the Wonderful World of Disney every Sunday night at 6p.

I would be glued to the black and white and eventually colour TV and transported to every far flung corner of the world or my imagination. A year living in England in placed all of Europe on our doorstep including, within spitting distance, Disneyland Paris. Of course we explained this trip as a birthday treat for the two much younger members of the household but, I admit to being just as excited as they were.

It was a challenge to temper the excitement as we trundled through the wintry streets of Byfleet at 5a. Needless to say, the thousands of bleary-eyed commuters who joined our train trip into London were less than excited about their day.

They had no choice but to put up with our jollity and two children bouncing off the walls of the train. There are two very passionate train lovers in this family so the excitement levels threatened to go off the scale when we arrived at Waterloo station to board the Eurostar train to Lille and then onwards to Disneyland Paris.

In reply to quizzical, and somewhat exasperated, looks from our fellow travellers, I would flash the cover of our Disneyland Resort Paris guidebook and they would nod knowingly, and redouble their efforts to ignore us. Does life get much better than that? As soon as we arrived at the resort park — yes, there is more to Disneyland than just Disneyland — we checked into our hotel, collected our admission tickets and ran squealing with glee towards the entrance turnstiles.

We were there at last. Little did they understand the warped logic of we Disney-addicts and our assumption that the colder temperatures would reduce crowd numbers.

Thankfully we lucked out on both points — cold but crystal clear blue sky days and a manageable number of other hardy souls running from ride to parade. Most times we were not disappointed. The first part of the strategy and see previous comments about the resident train nuts was to get the lie of the land. Armed with this information, we were ready to immerse ourselves in all things Disney.

It is the perfect welcome to the park and fires up the imagination for the rest of Disneyland. In reality it is just a string of over-priced cafes and souvenir shops, but the gauntlet must be run to get into the park proper. I am a roller coaster fan from way back so I took to them with gusto. How old did I say I was? The kids were lapping it all up too although the 9-year old refused to open his eyes from go to whoa!

I think it would have been scarier than having them open. We enjoyed robot-like animatronics in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and a reverse-ride through Indiana Jones and the Temple of Peril. Yes, more high-pitched squealing and tightly scrunched eyes. At last, an opportunity to sit and rest our tired legs.

Yes, we got sprayed with water at the same time. Gross but very funny! The Wonderful World of Disney Parade and the Main Street Electrical Parade at night were both worth plonking down on the street gutter and watching all the childhood favourites as they strolled or rolled by.

It was a truly fairy-tale experience and my only regret is that I came to my senses and did not buy my own set of mouse ears.

We ran from joyride to roller coaster to parade for three days straight but soon it was all over, and it was a very happy but wearied family stumbling homewards from the Byfleet train station. Is youth wasted on the young? Late Winter — yes, it was cold and sometimes grey but that kept the crowds and therefore our competition under control. A birthday celebration for one of the children and a long-held dream for both of the adults. For more up-to-date information about a family day out at Disneyland Paris, then have a look at this great blog that specialises in traveling with children: I imagine that tourism is a tricky business.

What attractions and businesses do you need in a community to capture and keep a visitor for more than one day? Not every community can have a Disneyland, nor every town an Eiffel Tower. Personally, I feel it is the simple things that are sometimes the most attractive, but few communities realise they have it in their power, or have the energy and initiative, to create something special. Greenville , South Carolina, is a living, breathing example of how to create something out of nothing.

The residents are obviously passionate and proud of their city and are not afraid to invest their energies, and their all-important dollars, to benefit both locals and visitors alike.

We visited Greenville as part of a short but convoluted road tour of the USA see my post about looking for James Taylor. On the surface, Greenville could be viewed as basically another smallish city in the deep south of the USA. It is when you get out of the car and onto the streets that you get the true sense of the city and how it has been rejuvenated to stand out from the crowd. In the early days, Greenville was a mill town. Cotton mills were prolific, and woollen mills and a paper factory all clustered along the edges of the Reedy River.

In it even branded itself as the Textile Centre of the South. Viewing historical photos, I can only imagine the impact these industries had on the local economy but also the environment. Today there is little evidence of the negative impacts of the mills, and the Reedy River has been restored and enhanced to make it virtually unrecognisable in comparison to those industrial days. This trail stretches a superb 21miles While any community can create a park or a trail, the thing that really caught our imagination was that much of it was, and continues to be, funded via philanthropy.

I realise that Australians do not have a strong philanthropic culture but just think what we could create in our communities if we did? I spent many hours walking through Falls Park and Cleveland Park — adjoining parks in different parts of Greenville — but all connected by the Trail. It was obvious to me just how popular this walk was, with locals of all ages walking and cycling, and visitors such as myself armed with cameras and smartphones.

Falls Park and the Reedy River — all rejuvenated, replanted and restored. Yes, there is money in the great outdoors and we, as individual donors, can influence that. The whole street has been converted into a public art space with an easy stroll from one sculpture to the next. The odd sculptures range from bronze busts of civic forefathers, accompanied by panels of historical explanatory information, to exuberant lifelike violin and flute players dancing in the forecourt of some non-descript corporate structure.

The majority of these works were funded by private individuals or families in memory of someone, or for their own posterity I guess. All the sculptures were linked together as part of an informal walking trail which moves you from the top of the main street to the bottom — yes, sharing the love amongst the business community.

The really clever thing they have done in this city is to include sculpture targeted at children. A dedicated Mice on Main sculpture trail has been developed which is literally one great mouse hunt. Nine tiny bronze mice are hidden in mysterious places along the main street and children use a treasure-hunt-type map to discover them all.

How tricky is that? It engages the younger members of a travelling party, captures the whole family for longer eating, drinking and shopping as they walk, systematically moves visitors throughout the community, AND it is community-funded. As you can tell, Greenville certainly left an impression and inspired us to think about what we could be doing in our own home town to enrich our community and add to the tourism arsenal.

Greenville is a fantastic example of a community with a bit of vision and a lot of energy to bring their dreams to life. Their efforts have built a rich and vibrant community with a very high quality of life for themselves, but they have also created cultural and environmental tourist attractions that encourage people to visit, stay and spend.

I love those meeces to pieces. Greenville has a population of around 62 people. We were there in early Spring and the flowers were just starting to pop open. Greenville is a picture-perfect introduction to the southern states of the USA. Friendly and warm people, interesting arts, tempting shopping, historic architecture, southern cuisine, a jazz scene and plenty of outdoor activities.

We drove from Washington DC as you do in a hire car. The road network is excellent. One man pretending to be on a serious research project well yes, he actually was and me being a serious tourist! Looking for James Taylor. A Italian-cities-indays itinerary was planned, a cheap and cheerful airline booked and we were soon stepping out of the crisp air-conditioning of Marco Polo Airport near Venice, into a wall of heat.

Growing up on a farm, in a small country town, in rural New South Wales, in a country at the bottom of the World, always made places like Venice feel slightly out of reach. Like a tantalising jewel on the edge of my imagination. Now, at last, it was a reality. I know I am a simple soul, but I was transfixed by the garbage boat not truck , the delivery boat not van and the various traghettos, gondolas and ferries that moved the population around the liquid streets.

On foot, I was not struggling with stop lights and pedestrian crossings, no road rage or exhaust fumes. In through 2 great big bronze doors at the opening and a great hall right down to the back where the lifts were, or the elevators and they to had bronze doors, there were 2 of them one on each side. And as we went in the doors opened, we walked in turned round, up to the 6th floor doors open went in. Right at the other end overlooking the Imperial palace was. I stopped with Colonel Prentice and my boss walked forward, Macarthur put his arms out like that, Robbie put his arms out like that, the doors closed, I never knew what happened, closets I ever came to meeting Macarthur.

And Tom Blamey came up on one occasion to, that. And then we took him back to the mess and he sat down in an easy chair and I noticed he had a very old uniform on,. And I went away, I was the mess Secretary at the time, lowest man on the totem pole and I went away to make certain the tea was coming and I turned back and he was asleep, so we just sat there and waited for him.

Can I ask what your impression of him was at that time, before you met him? Yes as a young officer the 2 different aspects of Blamey had sort of permeated through.

I think the one that was repeated most was the run rabbit run exercise at Labuan. It was difficult to be judgemental because.

We knew from gossip that there was always. But as young soldiers he impressed us as being a very elderly gentleman and too heavy, the extraneous things. What about alternatively Macarthur, what were you impression were of him? Well Macarthur was, well actually I think he was a bomb but he had absolutely wonderful PR machine and it worked overtime for him, but. They all sort of went back into the dross and out came the shining example who sort. No my feelings were quite against Macarthur when the war finished.

When I went to Japan it was quite remarkable he had impressed himself on the Japanese population to a very great extent. Every time he left the Embassy where he lived to go to the Deotchi building the whole route was jam packed with. Japanese people waving, cheering as he went in the car to work every morning, same coming back at night, no not a rent a crowd or anything like that they just got there.

And I remember on May Day in there was a large communist influence starting to appear in Japanese politics and. I was on guard in that little hut I was talking about and wondering if I should call the 6th Cav or the 7th Cav to see if I could get something done with this huge mass of people. What were your first impression of going to Japan and seeing the remnants of the war?

Oh some of it was quite horrifying but on the other hand like most Australians at that time our feelings towards the Japanese were not exactly friendly. But very soon you found that. We were suppose to be in countermands. So relationships were very good, for a time I went to a place called Koala which was a rest area for Beecroft people, not quite certain why we needed a rest area, but the general was a very avid golfer.

And it was only the periphery that the occupation forces were. Did you ever have a, any insights or feelings that there still was a simmering of say resentment or anything like that? No never once not even when we were processing Japanese prisoners of war coming back from the islands. So it was a good experience from that point of view,. We did train of course we had a Japanese Army training area at a place called Haramurah and that was a big training area for Japan, enough to use artillery on and we used to go up and do mortar training and small arms training and tactical training, keeping in………..

Yes and the battalions of the regiment used to compete, or still do compete for the Gloucester Cup presented by the Duke of Gloucester for the premier infantry battalion in the Australian Army and we were the only infantry battalions 1, 2 and 3 RAR. And we were about the only people that were in a position to do anything in the way of training at that stage the others were just sort of re-forming back in Australia so we kept on.

For example deployment of the machine gun platoon, deployment and use of the mortars, anti tank and that sort of thing. Were there any problems, disciplinary problems with the Australian soldiers in Japan? I want to put this another way, most soldiers in Beecroft did not want to go home to early, it was a good life for them and they enjoyed what they were doing, it was great fun and they had a lot of fun there.

As a result we had a very high incidence of VD [venereal disease] and no matter what you do you always seem to get a high incident of VD in those circumstances,.

I did in sense that generally it was about 2 years, then as things changed back home that tenyer started to change to and some people were there for 3 years some were there for 3 years and went to Korea direct. Some like myself had something like. It was just a re-deployment of the resources because we were getting thin on the ground really.

I was sorry to go but when I came back there was 2 of us came back together and we. And they were great fun, I went round schools of all denominations, I went back to my old school and checked them out there. That must have been a bit of a thrill was it to go back to your old school? I have mixed feelings about the headmaster because I sat outside his office on a number of occasions. But the deputy head I thoroughly enjoyed, who was good.

And you gradually found there were favourite schools, I like going to. Some of the Marist Brothers schools were absolutely magnificent teaching staff the way that the kids reacted to the teachers was terrific.

Some of the great public schools were the same but far more formal you know Scotch College would be Scotch to the bottom and Sydney Grammar.

The fellows who were running these cadet brigades were old, in the main, members of the Australian Instructional Corps which existed before the war, little carder of instructors, very very high in reputation.

And as I say they came from the AIC [Australian Instructional Corps] mostly and the courses number 7 number 8 and number 9 the senior staff officer was a fellow called Laurie Male, he was distinguished in the Australian Army for 2 reasons. He was then went to 8th Division and was a guest of. Also a member of the Australian Instructional Corps, a very imposing well built man and a very gracious man. I remember on one occasion we were running the Army Ball in the Trocadero in Sydney and that was our job 2 Cadet Brigade we ran the ball.

And they were the sort of people who a young officer was thrown in amongst and really it was a great education for the 15 months I was there. General Berryman was the general involved and I got an. February and 6 weeks later I was in Korea, so it worked somewhere along the line. Before you got that posting to Korea was there something you were doing here as well with the mines, with the mines gold strike? Oh yes, no that was the coal strike, yes that was just after I came back from Japan in fact I was on leave in August But anyhow we did a good job as far as the mines were concerned,.

So we got trucks from Orange, all came in with lights and engines that worked and all that sort of thing and we started to run coal and we did so for about nearly 3 weeks, quite exciting.

But it was sufficient to bring the whole industry to a grinding halt including underground mines. So the only way of getting coal into the power houses, which was the main source of power in those days was to used the open cut mines and use them vigorously to get coal in, otherwise everybody was in blackout.

How did most of the guys feel about being used in a, basically a union dispute? Loved it, loved it thought it was great. No it was absolutely hilarious I mean we worked like Trojans,. And one morning he was down there and the thing tumbled and down came the structure.

He probably needed to use it more than once that day. So it was rather good. The quartermaster Neville Wilson and I had a short. And so we had a pretty good time. What was some of the specifics of your role as adjutant in a special company like that?

And generally carrying out the administration, producing routine orders and camp instructions to facilitate the operation,. Oh under the National Service, under the National Emergency Regulations we could sequester transport, buildings, plant. Other than those trucks that you just talked about what else did you sequester?

Well we had the dozers and other machines used by the gunners to cut into the open cut and graders to keep the roads. No great military application except administration really. Not a great deal, it had been known probably better in miliary circles than it was in general public circles because the division of Korea into the 2 halves Russia half, at the end of the war and the American half and the. The Americans at that stage had handed power across to the South Koreans to Syngman Rhee, who was just as much a dictator as Kim Il-sung on the other end.

And that gave them a lot of headway and. China had not moved in so that there was a vacuum in power terms in that the US was still committed in South Korea but Russia had moved out and China had not taken over the role,. China wanted to get the Russians out of the way anyhow. And so they intervened and of course since the war started they had been getting ready to intervene. Would you say that most fellows that were sort of of your age and the ones coming through even.

There was an element of that. There were a number of people who had missed out on active service with the benefits that that brings with it and also the adventure it brings with it and this looked as though it was going to be pretty short. And the Americans were the people. I forget how many countries we had involved with this, a flag in there or a pendant in there with a lot of flags on it, Thais, Greeks, French.

The French were absolutely wonderful they sent over a battalion but they had a general in Tokyo who dropped his rank to lieutenant colonel to command. I said Greece, I think there were 18 nations involved by the time we were finished, UK of course, Canada,.

Turkey and that forms part of the Kapyong story the Turkish brigade, relationships were very good with them. We were also very short of troops by that stage, people had got back into civil life, the army had run down.

But a leavening of people with Second World War experience, most of those people had been in war,. But there was also a leavening of youngsters who had never seen active service before and that was the makeup of the unit that was put together in Japan. And some of those people in Japan had been in Japan for something like 4, 5 years during the occupation. And that resulted in 2 different streams which had an effect later. Those people who had served in Japan for more than 2 years only did 8 months in Korea, everybody else coming from Australia did 12 months.

So it meant at the end of 8 months we were going to lose the basis of the battalion,. The soldiers that were there just for the 8 months did they have a choice to stay longer if they wanted to? But no they had no choice and we had company commanders, company sergeant majors the backbone of the battalion simply taken away and they had to replace it, very difficult job. With, just going back to saying that we were deployed in support of the United Nations,. Well it was regarded with, it was held in high regard and that was probably mainly because remember Doc Evatt was the first President of the United Nations Assembly in San Francisco before it moved to New York.

And we had a deep involvement with it and so as a country we thought it was a good thing. And we had a relative high casualty rate for a loan battalion during the Korean Campaign. I was and supported by my class mates, photos available and the reception was held at.

So from the time that you got married how long was it before you got notice that you were going to be going? Less than a month, hmm and so we had to re-arrange all our plans and we moved into my in-laws place and were allocated a veranda and a bedroom which we turned into an all electric home, there was 1 power point which was the light coming from the ceiling.

And we flew up, the name I mentioned before Jim Shelton and. I flew up on a converted bomber, a Lancastrian and over night in Manila and then went onto Iwakuni and I then, we then came back from Iwakuni which is not far from Kure to the base at Kure which Beecroft Base was still there and I got the call immediately and this was not into April. Within that time then between the couple of weeks still at home in Australia were there any special training that you underwent?

I knew, no not a great deal because what had happened in the intervening period was the war. So we finished up with rather a garbled picture and in fact. Then I was told I was a new boy so better learn it all over again, but I in fact took over the same platoon as the battalion I had when I was with Beecroft, not the same personnel but the same platoon, 2 Platoon A Company. So in a sense it was a home coming, later on it was even more so when I moved away from the platoon and became assistant adjutant and I was doing the job I was doing for some months a couple of years before and looking at the same name rolls and saying oh there still here, made it very easy for me to sort of fit in.

The platoon that came under your command though, had they seen fighting already? Oh yes, oh cripes yes they were well and truly in yep. And just before I arrived. And there was confidence in the commanders and you had to fit in and make certain you got it right and I had one of the best platoon sergeants that we ever had called Harris who was famous for saying that. Monty my so called batman who was also my sig [signaller], in those days we used to have a radio set called a WS88, it fitted in two pouches, some officers used to carry these things,.

But that meant that you had to keep on putting you hand up and his hand kept going up and down and on one occasion oh, with. He went out wounded Jack Church had gone out wounded in the hand in a matter of about 3 weeks before, he was a class after me at Duntroon and……………. Do you know was that a challenge for you?

Oh yes my word, my word, I was fortunate that within about 3 days we were in the biggest action we were likely to have for some months. Not quite, what happened was that as I said the company commander was an old friend and one of the platoon commanders was an old friend to and. They filled me in and the other thing was that the battalion was so well grounded at this stage that if we stopped and went into a defensive position everybody.

Yes Anzac Day was coming up and a lot of preparation had gone into tying us up with the Turkish brigade which was also in reserve, we were in reserve at the time, just out for a few days. And pulled out mainly because of Anzac Day really and the Turkish brigade was sending over a large contingent and. I was lucky as the last arrived I got the highest hill and it was a little pimple up off the road, everybody thought this was going to be a piece of cake as usual, as you usually do and so everybody who could get on low ground got on low ground, while.

Or they could only give us predicted fire rather because they had no survey in, they went back into their gun position and had to try and do everything by guess and by God. I mean we stabilised that, there was some very heavy fighting there and then the night started to fall and they started to move round towards my position and beyond that to D Company which was on my right. And we had a torrid night and they got between my platoon and the rest of the company down on the lower ground, in the morning we had to clean that out, lost a bloke there.

We had, we were very fortunate we had 1 killed and about 12 wounded, most of them not severe, couple severe but. And I can remember my greatest moment of terror was we had a Chinese gentleman with a long bamboo pole with a couple of cakes of gun cotton on the end with a string obviously to pull the string and ignite the gun cotton and blow it up.

The drills take over to a very large extent and we laid out, we were unfortunate in one way that the ground that we were on was rocky and still pretty hard. So a lot of time went into that, a lot of time went into getting up extra water and extra rations and God bless the platoon sergeant and the company quartermaster sergeant for that because they sent up more than we needed actually and we were able to use it for the rest of the company the next day.

And we sorted ourselves out, got the phone lines in. Oh that was probably my first shot fired in anger and it had no effect on the enemy whatsoever, and it had a drastic effect on me because I got rid of my Smith and Wesson and got myself a Colt 45 and I finished. This one worked quite well, we had, so our moment of danger passed on the first night. And that kept us. He might put it out a couple of hundred metres and walk it in,. Spade mortar, little spade mortar. And then we went through the withdrawal procedure, I suppose before that the other major event was we were napalmed by the Marines, inadvertently.

But those casualties were a very sorry sight, very bad, very badly burnt and there are stories in the book you can read on it. The withdrawal was, looking back on it now and looking back was one of the best parts, military parts of the operation. Sheer drop about metres on one side, miles down and they were on our tails and we leap frogged back and it was almost a copy book job.

And we got further back as darkness came and we finally broke contact and I suppose we had probably more casualties in that time than we had when we were forward.

But we managed to get all those out. And we finally moved back and then started in single file to get down to the river and the order of march was 3 Platoon, Company Headquarters. And off we went and we got down to the river and there standing in the middle of the river was a fellow called James Hartchi Young from B Company. He was glad to see me and I was very glad to see him and we went across and rejoined the battalion. The rest of the company.

And fortunately that was just about the last action we had, picked up a section of Machine Gun Platoon which had been. But with the Chinese it was different, Chinese were good soldiers and. Not much Burp guns and SKS predecessor of AK47 and some elementary stuff like the pole charge I mentioned and flares, used very sparingly, mortars,.

And vice versa of course we know that, but the Chinese were very good soldiers. Well we were on the central front at that stage and it was extremely hilly, very sharp cliffs.

Very difficult country to navigate in and very difficult country to fight effectively and without good support, and we were a bit light on in support at Kapyong. Some, fair bit of snow still on the ground and as I said shail rock on the top paddy down below, most of the area had been cultivated, most of the arable area had been cultivated at.

But not a great deal of forest, vastly different to when I went back, it was completely overgrown, had great difficulty deciding where I was, but you can pick it out, take your time. The Americans supplied us with pile jackets which were a fleecy lined. And the 2 were reasonably good, gloves were very clumsy and made weapon handling very difficult and the footwear I think was probably the worst feature and head gear.

We had to get rid of slouch hat and put on. The Brits sent us some stuff over and it came via. And so that went out the window too, next winter we were better prepared, much better prepared. In the meantime were you getting any comforts fund stuff that helped? Yes we were but nevertheless not generally spoken about.

The greatest number of casualties we had were self inflicted wounds. Most of them were minor finger joint, worst toe joint, simple things like that, bullet through the hand, anything to get out.

They used to watch one another and, particularly when we were operating at altitude. And if they had start rubbing again,. Oh you mean did we blame the government, no, no soldiers are very funny people. No let me tell you about when we changed our uniforms into battle dress, British style battle dress blouses and things and they. I had Monty who was my signaller, batman and general confidant, while I was with the platoon and he and I got on very well together, he used to prepare the odd meal for me and start digging the trench or the slit trench and put up the hoochie [makeshift shelter].

And then when I came back he. Platoon commanders were in another series of groups, there were some Second World War officers who took specialist platoons like Machine Guns and Anti Tank. The platoon commanders were mainly from RMC, either my class or. Freddy used to run down a mountain like mountain goat from his Gurkha training, I staggered up and down.

Very good feeling among the officers, very good tight group, well oiled and the company sergeant majors were all old hands, well known, well respected, even loved, Darkie Griffiths,. We did have a couple of people who were forced on the battalion, there were 2 different cases.

One was a fellow called Arch. Similarly with, he had competition from a fellow called Wings Nichols,. Those were the sort of people who were, Nichols was not allowed across either. As soon as he came across with Hassett he blossomed and became a magnificent company commander and very distinguished. And we were just fortunate that there were enough people in the.

And before Kapyong started the battle there you were about to have your Anzac. But there was a fair amount of expectation to be a great big ding and we were really loving it.

And it was a great healing factor I think for the soldiers, soldiers always liked Johnny Turk. Oh yes of course it was because Anzac was a great thing anyhow and I mean nationally it was great things and you had to have someone to have Anzac with for god sake apart from the Kiwis,. And we concentrated on the main game, ourselves the Kiwis and the Turks.

It was, well it was on that occasion, 6 weeks later when we moved up through. Gloucester Valley and moved into what was called the James Town Line we were on a feature called the Lozenge feature, cause it looked like a lozenge, the digging was easy there.

And before you became adjutant what other sort of role did you have as the section, sorry as platoon commander as far as looking after your men went?

In our case it was a check. It was just the drill your weapons were always done, your gear was always checked and where we could, particularly as the weather moderated, we went on a one for one basis where if something wore out or got torn we replaced it straight.

When you were talking earlier about when you were withdrawing and you had Chinese POWs with you, what was the orders about how they were to be treated? We had a general order that. No shade of a dispute or a likelihood of a breakout.

And once they went back they went into, we had no facility on a Commonwealth basis for POWs apart from immediate caging with the military police and then they were handed over to the Americans. I know we were discussing earlier their military capability but what was your personal regard for them?

No the soldiers themselves like soldiers everywhere seem to have much the same attitude as we have in that they had to sort of keep a sense of humour. There was the famous incident of one of our fellows firing desperately at this fellow who was popping up and down behind a rock and shooting back and our bloke kept missing and finally the Chinaman put his shirt on a pole and waved it to. But within the limits of the capability of the Chinese Army to look after them it did its.

And they were the same. So a general respect grew up for them then they produced their artillery which was very effective and we had some of the heaviest concentrations that had been seen since the Second World War in later times in Korea. So it sort of soldiery, I had to say the word camaraderie but a soldiery respect was certainly there between the Chinese and the Australians and most Commonwealth troops too with the Chinese.

Again we were talking about what equipment they had what about in terms of uniform, were they better. In terms of winter uniforms initially the Chinese were, they were wearing padded uniforms, their footwear was not particularly good and they did suffer obviously a number of, large number of casualties from frost bite from poor footwear.

They improved that during the year, for the next winter. But their general uniforms were quite adequate to the task, they started out white in winter,. Oh yes, yes weapon care, you slept with it, it was the only way to keep it from. And I think we used a few strange medicines to, frost bite. And you had to burn down the odd house and keep warm and that sort of thing if you had the chance to do that.

Otherwise it was very very difficult,. They were quite dangerous events without any enemy, simply the weather. But mostly people had gone, been taken out by the government, South Korea. Oh yes I mean just south of us was Uijongbu which was about 20 miles south and from there on you were in a bustling community. Asian community with arable land cultivated into paddy and rice and vegetables and small villages and the towns crowded with refugees.

And Seoul was a very big city and slightly bashed about because it had been taken twice and misused a bit. But it still had a big population and still maintained, because it was a rail.

In that war zone though were there any South Koreans still left, civilians or had they all? No civilians no, well let me qualify that we had the Korean Service Corps which were civilians who carried for us, were our porters, these were organised a little later in the war.

We had say with the battalion something like. We looked on them with great affection, a few of them actually came to Australia with connections with. I used to pay them and I think one dollar, one pound for heavens sake, no one US dollar, one US dollar was worth 43, won and they used to get paid something like 10 dollars a month so we used to go down to Seoul.

But they were a great asset but they were the only civilians we had in the war zone itself. So that our contact with the people was not great at all, much greater after the war than it was before the war, still maintained to this day locally. No, no Kapyong was in April and we moved up to the Imjin River in May and we took up a position there. The Chinese were in occupation north of the river and then gradually withdrew towards a fortified line north.

And the decision was finally taken to move north of the river, we moved north in August and started to prepare for a major offensive. It was a very well executed piece of work, it was a joy to, a military joy to see. And the unit showed that it was capable of doing a great deal as a formed body.

It was one of the best actions of Australian infantry battalion ever and deserves to be ranked up, won us a Battle Honour. My own part was very restricted I was, I came up daily to battalion headquarters and checked in.

Famous occasions well there was the occasion when there was a battalion headquarters and Arch Luken,. And it was a very very fine action. For the purpose of the archive could you just give us an overview of the action? The most important 2 were hill and hill and there was an intermediate one called hill , there was also another one called To go back in the story the brigade was.

When the orders group had finished the 3 COs descended on the brigade major and they dictated the orders. And shortly after the battle the brigadier was relieved and went to Kenya and one of the, the British battalion commanders took over the brigade. It was a sad end for the brigade commander but the plan. And there were repercussions later on but we survived those. Yeh and a New Zealand battery, field regiment commander and that was the cabal that sorted things out and probably just as well.

Just to sort of illustrate it the brigadier was famous for going round and sitting at the battle map near the intelligence tent with a chinagraph pencil putting Bren gun. The brigadier got up. We moved forward into an area that had been cleared by the Canadians for us to start the operation, Canadian brigade and in particular the Royal 22nd Regiment, a French Canadian regiment, they held what we call a forming up place.

And from there we launched into the battle and we took first. Before we got to we had to take and the fog came down, it was very early in the morning, it was probably fortunate in a way but it made navigation very difficult for B Company and A Company who were the assault companies at this stage. And they did run into some trouble, the fog cleared and Hassett then put C Company through those 2 companies and swept up the hill and took it and held it, which was far more important than just taking it.

And we then moved B Company up there and swept on towards And in doing this we used a great deal of artillery, the entire corps artillery, every gun within range was used in support so we had something like 72 guns. The Chinese were taken by surprise when we took but they were ready for us when we moved onto and the battle on was far more intense.

We had a number of casualties mainly in C Company and B Company and we had support from the 8th Hazzars which was a British cavalry regiment using Centurion tanks.

Now we got those tanks up the hills. It was so accurate that you could keep on using a tank gun until they were just yards away so it managed to get us in with. Nevertheless we did suffer quite badly the evacuation casualties was very well organised and we used the people I spoke about before the Korean Service Corps plus our own people of course to get people down.

I remember things flashing into your mind. I remember on one occasion during the battle we had a casualty Darcy Eckles was the acting company sergeant major of B Company, he was hit in the throat and the company Medic managed to stop the bleeding which was very difficult with a carotid artery and we got him down to the landing.

He was a very popular sergeant, great soldier and it was so silly,. Those things sort of hurt more than others that you sort of get from time to time.

As adjutant did evacuating the wounded come under your jurisdiction? Not evacuating them, finding out where they went. We had great trouble because our wounded would go through a number of channels, that chopper for. Then they could go back from there without us knowing anything about it direct to US Evacuation Hospital across to Tokyo General back to Triplah in Hawaii, San Francisco and the first we hear about it is in the Stars and Stripes.

We had one fellow. The Doc was the principal there and he said what happened. The evacuation nevertheless was very much better than it was in the Second World War and the support was absolutely fantastic from both the Nor MASH, the Norwegian Army Hospital and the American, both specialists and Nor MASH was chest and stomach wounds and so if you had that you went immediately to there either.

Others went to and they dealt with a more general surgical procedures. When you were talking about that it was hard to try and find where they had gone to, to track them all what. Okay get his papers, his dog tag and anything else of a personal nature and you go through that and then bundle it up and send it off. So in a circumstance like that where someone is killed their personal effects etc come back to you?

No we send those to, we had a little branch of the Army Records Office in Korea itself, 6th Advance 2nd Echelon they called it, strange name and they dealt with such things. They looked after all our statistics and they looked after the belongings of next of kin and processed those back through Japan and sent them. Oh yes I had to write to wives and mothers and fathers, yes not a very nice thing to do.

So the notification process used to go through to Australia, normally handled by the personnel services in each of the commands in Australia.

Would that stand out to you as one of the more difficult that you had to write? Yeh course it would, one of the more difficult things I had to write, one of the most difficult things I had to write yes, absolutely, not a pleasant.

I lead you off track there sorry we were half way through Operation Commando? Well were nearly finished actually in an overview. They were part of the company like drawing teeth to change a forward observer in a company, the company commander would scream the platoon commander would scream, everybody would scream so you had to leave him where he was as long as you could.

And they were very good people the Kiwi officers, as good as ours anyhow. And the cavalry or the tanks were quite remarkable, it was a posh British regiment one of the last posh British regiment the 8th Hazars. But in fighting they were terrific they really were. And when we were finished and finally taken out for a rest we got congratulations. No normally it takes about 20 years to work out alliance between an Australian unit and a British unit but there we were we were allied.

And at the back of that was a very sound logistic system which finally came together, mainly because the 2IC we had at that stage, a fellow called John Carey. And things like rations and ammunition and petrol and lubricants, stuff for the burners, all seemed to appear like magic and be in the right place at the right time. And the company commanders at the other end were absolutely superb. The risks were not quite as great and my roles were much wider in a sense that I personally typed up the order for issue on an old beaten up Remington typewriter which was the only one we had.

Our Gestetner [early wax sheet copier] was a flat bed Gestetner which had a silk screen on it,. One of the big differences between the 2 battles Kapyong and Operation Commando was in the command and control situation. In Kapyong battalion headquarters exercised very little control throughout the battle and it was mainly run by senior company commander and it was a defensive situation not an offensive situation.

But in Commando we developed a. And that meant that the passage of orders was much better. The briefings for every operation that Hassett undertook were always in detail, always supported by either an operation order or confirmatory notes and always expected to be issued either at the orders group or shortly after.

And those drills put the maximum flexibility possible into the lower. But the system of command control was. That and the fire support and the simple dash of the soldiers was quite incredible. The stories, the individual stories are worthy, and have been written several times. They show that Australian soldiers are just as good.

Getting a little off the serious side were you visited from the entertainment units at all? And went over like a tremendous,. He kept the old British Embassy as a residence in Seoul, whenever he came across he stayed there, and he kept it maned with a staff sergeant who was.

I knock on the door smelling like 3 months worth of bath and not too well received at all. In we came, we had a bath, in a bath in a real bath it was absolutely gorgeous, we had dinner, candle light dinner and that was a very good entertainment visit from my point of view.

Some of the others were quite different, Danny Kay, a bit morbid when he arrived. On the way up we had some incoming we thought, few explosions everybody dived out including Kay and Larry Adler who was with him, dived out and it was the gunners just clearing some debris off the track further up.

So up we got to B. Larry Adler was very much funnier than Danny Kay he told the story about going down to US Evacuation Hospital on the way through on their tour and he got in there in a ward and all these dark negro people were in the ward. Then we had Lady Mountbatten. Lady Mountbatten we were advised that Lady Mountbatten may require a separate toilet and would we please arrange a suitable separate toilet.

So our toilet, we were in the line at this stage and fairly static our toilets were 44 gallon drums with a hole knocked in the centre, square knocked in the centre and a wooden plug put in the top and burnt off periodically by the doctor. And so we put up a special one for Lady Mountbatten. And we motioned to him and he took it up and put it in the. She was great, she went and she went straight into the troops and she went from company to company and they really enjoyed her, she was really good and really worked the fellows very well indeed, she had them laughing and chiacking and carrying on.

And time came to leave, down got in the jeep blasting down the track and all of a sudden it screams to a halt, the guardsman gets. That was more or less the style of entertainment we had. What sort of correspondence had you had during all this time with home?

And no stamps were required on the way back. So it, the mail worked quite well so did parcels they worked quite well too. And we had things arrive from all over the place, we had anchovies, we had olives, we had caviar, we had Metaxa Brandy from Greece, cause the Greek battalion was near us and various other things all came in. On the famous occasion he went on leave and took Peter Scott with him the brigade major rang up and immediately asked us to send more people out on patrol and we had something like, including standing patrols we had about people every night out in no mans land in some form or other.

And the pressure was on to increase that number and Frank Hassett had said. But I got on quite well with. And they were famous with rolling with the punch, in other words when they were hit by the Chinese or anybody they went back a long way.

And we got fed up with trying to keep up with them cause they used to pull us back to if they went. I was an outcast from the Empire from then on. And it was a very satisfying job to be adjutant of 3RAR and I was almost a professional adjutant by that stage, several jobs after that were also adjutant jobs and I used to do it on my ear. And it was a good boss, he was a good boss to work for Frank Hassett and we had a good battalion headquarters staff,.

Peter Scott the intelligence officer was a great friend. And we followed one another for many many years, class behind me from Duntroon and then by my side always really, great friend. Dusty Ryan who you might. We had no sort of physical and recreation training to do so he became the acting RSM and he stayed through in that position from about July through until November when a new RSM was posted in. But he later became RSM of the army and a much loved soldier, much loved soldier and died in Western Australia a few years ago.

So there was a tremendous team and. But the communications used to go out, particularly the line communications would get blasted and the sigs would go out in this and patch them up and get us back into communications again, absolutely fantastic, things I would never think of doing myself, certainly then. A devastating position to be in because we were picking up a hell of a lot of people then that necessarily.

We used to have, it was a very strange unit we had an average of 3 suicides a month in that unit, nothing to do with the military, nothing to do with the training. And one fellow we could never. Was not a happy unit in some ways I was glad to get out of it and I went to the School of Infantry and within about 6 months we had almost the entire battalion staff of 3RAR back in harness again. You mentioned to us earlier that at that stage in the Australian Army it was quite small?

Now we held that 20, odd right through just about until the early 60s so we did know. And we still managed to do things like an SAS [Special Air Services] Squadron and an airborne platoon, put people through Specialists Courses, keep some gunners going, keep the skills alive. I really feel that the fellows who were at the top of those, in those days did a remarkable job with the material they had.

And we still kept the traditions alive. A wonderful unit because it was based on Canberra with public servants, and public servants in those days could get leave at any time for service with the reserve, or the CMF as it was in those days. So if anybody was short of a course at the School of Infantry they were on the phone to me saying can you round up 6, 8, 10 fellows by Monday, yeh no trouble, ring the contacts bang off they go they were professional course goers that you just called up and.

It was a good unit the officers there were a mixture of public servants and businessman and it was a good mix, very good mix and the troops were good too. And my 2 sister battalions. And one young fellow had given us a fair bit of trouble, it was nothing great but he used to never turn up for parades and we had to prosecute him and it was a dreadful business in those days, it was an administrative nightmare.

But we got him. Then off to Southern Command for a year in the general staff down there and training, then to Staff College. We went to Singapore by sea, we went to Singapore by sea on a British India Tramp Steamer with a gentleman aged 80, 3 racehorses, 4 cockies, sheep, 3 racehorses, 26 Holden cars on the top and we picked up, we went to every port between Melbourne and Fremantle.

Very interesting trip and we arrived in the Rhodes on Christmas Day, the party for our arrival had been going on for. And go up to Grick[? But I remember going up to Butterworth to celebrate the firing of the 50,th round from A Field Battery.

And they had too so we managed to recover a few million bucks, just Singaporean, on the way. That was an interesting posting. Bukitima Road in the Durnurma estate and the kids went to school there, we had a kampong down the back, Chinese servants, Malayan Caboong to do the gardening.

A very good existence, still some security measures in terms of kids going to school escorted everyday, same with the family, always escorted everywhere. No it was a tropical warfare establishment, simple infantry battalion with 4 companies, Headquarter Company, Support Company, no frills. And I found in later years that I was wearing my students as my junior officers, had to be good. We went from RMC to the. Well instead of a battalion of about we had and we had 5 rifle companies each of which was about strong and.

And a very big battalion headquarters with a colonel, full colonel as the boss, a lieutenant colonel as his Executive Officer and what we call the GSO2, General Staff Officer Grad 2 as the operations officer, and staff to match. And we always felt I think it was a political decision rather than a military decision, it followed from SEATO [South East Asian Treaty Organisation] talks and the introduction of the Pentomic Division by the Americans which they only held for about 18 months and got rid of it.

Oh yes it was a very good posting. We picked them up in Singapore put them straight into the Australian High Commission gave them a certificate of identity out. Yes it was yeh I had to stay on a little longer because we were building a new conferment at Bukit Arenda. In fact it was not the smaller one was about the same price as the larger one on the scale that we were buying, they just had a strange attitude about it.

Then after Tongking business we were gradually drawn in. And we got news of that, in early April there was a march in Sydney, a Churchill Remembrance Day or something or rather and we marched through Sydney and the General Hans Anderson took myself and my operations officer and the 2IC to lunch and told.

It was wonderful that we turned on a great show, it was a tri service show and it worked well. Then in May the government made the announcement and from there on we started rolling. Well we were still under a caveat of secrecy and the only people who knew in the battalion were myself, the quartermaster, the 2nd in command and the ops officer and we put together a number of things that would see us through.

Our biggest hurdle was that nobody else knew what we were doing so when we applied for new gear. And all of a sudden the gates opened and those things started to come in and we got going. Then the announcement was made and publicity took over for about oh a couple of weeks. It was put together by General Butch Williamson who was a very very.

And they were equipped for nuclear war but not actually for jungle warfare so they had to do some rapid re-training themselves.

And they went in and established themselves at Bien Hoa. So first of the rd spent something like a fortnight on the beach before the general had time to go out and find out they were relaxing on the sand, sunbathing. Shortly after we started to arrive, we arrived………. When you were saying, when the government made their first announcement that Australians troops were going do you remember how much information they gave the public?

HMAS Sydney loaded and people all throwing streamers and crying and all that sort of stuff. No, no panic at all. We had the feeling that the public was right behind us and I think they were too when we were on our own. It was not quite as clear cut from that point of view as,. Had to cross them off for compassionate reasons, one leg missing or something or rather, they just disappeared.

And we had to just delete these people from the unit and bring new people in all the time until we got what we wanted. So we had a corps of good people,. Oh great, great anything to get away from the Pentropic Division. And in fact a break from the normal routine of training. And then we went back to our old establishment and it looked as though the old ways had come back again, things were very difficult to get done.

We knew that we had an airborne roll, I had something like two hundred odd paratroopers in the battalion, qualified paratroopers and I had something like a hundred ex SAS people who were too old for the SAS and come into the unit as officers. So we were pretty hot shot outfit and we could build on that and put the people in the right places, so it worked pretty well. When we had to move we moved part by air and part by sea and I made one error there, I thought by putting the companies that were coming by sea in the aircraft carrier on.

They took just as much time to accustom themselves to the local conditions as the people who arrived straight off the plane, about a fortnight. So it took us a little while to get in there, before we went we actually had an air photograph of the area, we got that and some maps, got those sent down to us. And we laid it out in a most peculiar way to the American, no regular lines or anything like that, all companies were separated out, wire was everywhere and it was designed to be held by nineteen points so that we could all get out and fight leaving the base secure.

And we did we constructed this thing so it took quite a while to develop and during that time we were doing operations anyhow. So we moved into Bien Hoa, we had a parade in Saigon, they swept the parade ground for mines before we went on parade. It was about the last time we were all dressed up in brass and polish and that sort of thing and then we started training.

We were in heaven instead of having five choppers we had sixty and we just put our boys on the same way we always did and off we go. We had, strange enough a considerable amount of information about Vietnam, it had been an area for military thought for many years, ever since the French and Dien Bien Phu in and even before that.

And Group Mobile , Silfours[? We even set up a Viet Cong village in the Pentropic days in Holsworthy to train on with ordinance and search and those things, tunnel the lot, everything, panges. We were circumscribed in the role that we had was protection of the airfield, by some judicious wangling I managed to get that expanded to take in an area of operations outside the airfield for our own protection. But in fact to take us up to the river that boarded on War Zone D and that.

But apart from that we owned that piece of territory and did for the whole time we were there. When you say that you got there and you realised that you were slightly ahead of the Americans in sort of the operational procedures, what about in terms of local knowledge, did you? And they had to shuffle them out later on and replace them, so they had personnel tribulations.

And so I announced this and we needed two hundred volunteers to start off, this is very early in the piece so I had all these Australian soldiers with airborne haircuts and shiny shoes which was most unnatural,. Did that surprise you when you got there and realised their lack of local knowledge?

So their attitude is to get gung ho, get in and do it and get out, particularly units like paratroops, special forces units, those sort of things, get in do a job and get out. So they used to go off and try and salvage a Republic of Vietnam. And we gradually managed to get Army Headquarters to look at us doing a larger role. The relationship between ourselves and the Americans was great, really was they gave us.

And we were using things called a nine and ten set which were antiquated when we took them up and very unreliable and they gave us a thing called a twenty five set and it was like going from stereo, from mono was absolutely fantastic. We in turn showed them how to use a shower buckets and you know what a shower bucket is?

So they went for a very high price, a couple for a jeep or something like that would be quite easy, slouch hats as usual were good barter material. But troops melded very well together and very.

So we gave that up and they came over and had a look at the way we did things, we were on silent. But we did manage to get our area of responsibility expanded and we could operate into War Zone D because it was possible for the enemy to infiltrate from War Zone D towards the airbase and thereby create a. So our initial operations took place in War Zone D and we tried all sorts of combinations, in fact one of the things that I was very anxious to do was use the facilities that we had available to us from the Americans, such as the transportation systems, choppers and things like that and the artillery and the tank support and armoured.

Their active service role is stretcher bearers, and they allocated out to companies about four to each, companies once again these fellows are like gold to them they refuse to let them go once they got them. But when they came back into camp after operation they all got together, they were getting fitter and fitter, the music was sounding better and better and as. The enemy was very difficult situation, we were in the middle, unlike Korea, we were in the middle of a population, the population was.

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