- Song of The Billabong
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Photos & Excerpts
To complement the publication of 'The Song of the Billabong' a few photographs have been added of some examplary characters that readers of these non-fiction short stories will encounter.
Harry 'Kataia' Taylor
Uncle Harry Taylor was Australian born, a Second World War hero of the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry. he also served in the occupational forces in Japan and active service in Borneo.
As a a Senior Padre in the New Zealand Navy he served for the duration of the Korean war. He was decorated by King George VI at Buckingham Palace with the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) and also later with the OBE by Queen Elizabeth II.
He was indeed a Christian soldier, and examplary human being and a mentor to me.
Harry, by example simply set the benchmark, leaving no alternative other than to achieve that level oneself.
Everyone loved him, a true legend.
'Loosewire' LLoyd Smith
A great old bushman, mountain man and hunter of red deer in the wilds of New Zealand. Because he was a specialist fencer on rural properties, he was dubbed 'Loosewire Lloyd'. He was a Second World War veteran of the New Zealand Divisional Cavalry.
We shared many outback escapades over the years. He was a great mate, and thoroughly dependable; a quality essential in our way of life.
'Bentaxle' Bob Hayes
Blackmith Extraordinaire. Although I've known him for 50 years, how he got that name is beyond me. This photograph is of myself (Brian) and 'Bentaxle' working together at the anvil.
There are endless stories of Bentaxle's accomplishments, one way or another but I've pulled just one from the hat that never fails to lighten my day, whenever the memory crosses my mind.
From time to time I spend a few moments looking at this photograph. Ken being presented with his 'wings' in a distant parade ground in Canada. Stern faced and immaculate in his uniform and is rigid as a Rosewood rail. Was this the boy from the Queensland bush, the son of a teamster.
Yep! Flight Lietenant Ken Lewis did a full tour of operations, plus five, totalling 35, rated above average and awarded the DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross).
Not bad considering the life expectancy of a bomber crews was 10 operations. By his 22nd birthday he had expended 3 and a half life times. Visualise on the 21st and 22nd of January 1944 it was reported that no less than 400 airmen were lost.
Time was the essence of his being. The success of his endeavours depended on his application to detail, a residual quality of his wartime experiences. The qualities he quite unobtrusively, wove that part of himself into the fabric of his family.
Even after death itself, his presence was ever felt.
Mertil 'Doodie' Bond
This is the image of Doodie Bond running his own radio show at Cherbourg 4UM-US-MOB.
Doodie had been brought up by his father to be good and strong, and go to school 5 days a week. But on the weekends it was their real world. The boys were taken 'bush' to learn and use the skills and to talk the language - their language. Aboriginal.
Doodie had the ability to make people laugh, this was his gift and his strength.
Procrastination was not a Doodie consideration. He always opened conversation with 'What's the plan?'
He was in his own words 'the best one man entertainer this side of the black stump'. Consequently he had a home anywhere he travelled in Australia.