family In The Wars

Sunday, May 30, 2010


As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints I want to bear my Testimony of its truthfulness and of the Book of Mormon, the only correct book on the face of the earth, and that Joseph Smith, who translated the Book of Mormon from the gold plates by the power of our almighty Saviour, is indeed a Prophet of God, and that we have a Prophet on this earth today, President Thomas S., Monson, who succeeds the Modern Prophets that have contin ued on since Jospeh Smith's day. I know that Jesus IS the Christ, He is my Saviour and Redeemer and I love Him and follow Him

Friday, May 21, 2010

Sam Irvine for Dad

In 1937, driving a Ford V8, Dad got stuck on the notorious North Road to Nullagine. Not that it could be called a road, ad it was a sandy, gravelly kind of nightmare inthe middle of stock route 9700 with a well about every 25 kilometres if one was lucky. There was also a major drought on, so there were no drovers shifting stock at the time. Ahead somewhere was the Meekatharra mailman, Sam irvine, and Dad knew it would be at least six days before he could expect irvine's return. Henearly brought! No food, and worst of all, vey little water. I wrote this poem of that time and included it in his biography that I am curently writing

With pharmaceutical cases packed to the door
Dad set off with his foot to the floor,
All the way up to Nullagine.
Ahead was the mailman, Sam Irvine.

1937, the track not the best,
His flat tires stuffed with spinifex.
As he travelled forth to Nullagine,
Behind the mailman, Sam Irvine.

The sand was soft with hidden rock,
He hit one with a bang with sudden shock.
On the deplorable track to Nullagine,
Thinking of the mailman, Sam Irvine

He was on Route 9700,
And wasn't feeling much like a hero,
Wheels down in the sand in the fierce sunshine,
Hoping for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Because of the fierceness of Big Drought,
No way of getting any stock out,
Lonely on the track to Nullagine,
Needing the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Drought reigned so fiercely supreme.
Rain he did see only in a dream,
Sleeping on the track to Nullagine,
Waiting for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Not far away reared Battle Hill,
No hope for help or anything, but still
He was stuck on the track to Nullagine,
Lagging behind the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Three oranges for moisture, and even they lag,
Behind his nearly-empty water bag.
Was this a message from the Divine?
Praying for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Would Sao biscuits and sardines fill
An empty tummy without any swill?
Starving and thirsty on the stock-line
Waiting for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Dad drank water from the radiator,
Daily feeling less a winning gladiator.
Broken down on the track to Nullagine,
Listening for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Radiator water was almost done,
And Dad was frying in the sun.
Thirsty on the track to Nullagine,
Desperate for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

The dust drifts past in dizzy swirls,
The heats so fierce that leather curls,
Sweltering on the track to Nullagine,
Wishing for the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Roaring of engine and empty drums banging,
Shovels and swinging tow-ropes clanging.
Dancing on the track in the fierce sunshine.
Hearing the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Sam's big load couldn't really get higher,
Tied on with rope and fencing wire.
Standing on the track to Nullagine
Greeting the mailman, Sam Irvine.

Sam dug out wheels, fixed the axle too.
Poor old Dad learnt something new,
For driving on the track to Nullagine,
Preparing like the mailman, Sam Irvine

This was in 1937, by gum!
I wasn't born until 1941.
I give thanks of feelings purely sublime
For that intrepid mailman, Sam Irvine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A cockeyed bob!
A willy-willy!
The storm raged,
A real dilly.
Cecilia grabbed
Her baby girl
And fled mud hut
that was a-whirl.
Staggering, falling,
Clutching her child,
She forged her way
Into the weather wild.
Stumbling, bumping
in the storehouse gloom,
Where walls and rafters
Filled the room.
Devastation Scene!
Morning brought
Piles of rubble
The wind had wrought.
Trunks burst open,
Contents gone
Down the paddock
And further on.
Swollen river,
All alone
Frank upriver,
Mud hut gone!
Eton jacket,
White petticoat
White-ant had it.
A weel later
Beautiful green
No longer seen
this poem, minus the picture of Cecilia Thomson, was published in the Creatrix Journal number 8. WA Poets Inc.

Army-oriented family

At left is William Davis at Wellington, New Zealand. He was my step-father. In this photo he was in the NZ Fusiliers preparing to sail for Cairo towards the end of 1939. Unfortunately at Fremantle, he and a mate went to a party out at Armadale, and as the trains weren't running, they couldn't get back to their ship and it sailed on to Cairo without them. They were AWOL in a big way. Treason. William joined the Western Australian Army as Leonard Brown, the name he had chosen to avoid the NZders looking for him. He was later exonerated from the treason in 1958 as requested by the Western Australian Army,
for in that army he taught unarmed combat in Northam.

These two sons of mine, along with another two who haven't their photos here, followed the military tradition of their step-grandfather to the left, and their grandfathers John Albert Clarke and John Patrick O'Grady, and also their great grandfather Henry Lockey, and other family members as mentioned and pictured earlier in this blog.

Shane Clarke in the 10th Light Horse at the Claremont Showgrounds in 1992. Besid ehim is his grandfather John Albert Clarke in 1942 in the 28th Regiment. Below Shane is on his horse ready for a parade at the Campbell Barracks in Karrakatta, Western Australia.
This was Shane's tank, he was the driver and the photo was taken at Nedlands on the banks of the Swan River, preparing to cross over the river to the other side. Another tank in the exercize actually sunk around the middle of the river, causing problems of having to find ways to haul it up out of the water. Despite the hard work, miles of chain and lumbering, amphibious tanks, the tank was hauled out, causing a lot of laughter to the men and the watchers on the river banks

This is Shane's brother Les Clarke. He was in the 28th Reserves as a gunner, based at Karrakatta. This was taken at his home on Cardo, a stud farm in Watheroo, preparatory to attending the Anzac Day March in nearby Moora in 1983

The other two boys that were in the reserves were, Murray Clarke who was in the 10th Light Horse like Shane as a trooper, and Daniel Clarke who was in the 16th Reserves as a cook

Monday, May 17, 2010

Scouting Days....or should I say cubs

The boss' wife Julie Keamey, of Cardo Stud in Watheroo, came around to the house and requested my husdband nicely if I would be the cub leader for Watheroo.
He hummed and hawed so I said yes
John and Lyll Payne, stalwarts in the Scouting movement visited with me and arranged for me to learn to be a cub leader - Akela. John himself was Mowgli for the Central Midlands District. I was officially recognised in August 1975 and had started the 1st Watheroo Cub Pack. Rather scary. Murray and Danny were too young to join, though Shane was a Cub, but they came to the meetings. When scary stories were told, they would hide themselves beside me with their heads under my jacket. The Spencer twins were the same age and they did the same thing, for their older brother Paul was in Cubs

I offically received my Wood Badge on the 11th April 1978. I could now wear the epaulets and scarf, which was yellow with the maroon Watheroo colour patch on the point at the back, held together at the front by the official turkey knot toggle. By this time the Cub Pack was well in progress and we were having Pack Holidays and camping. Having a lot of fun away from their farming homes of Watheroo

With this certificate I was now qualified to train leaders in my region. Then I left my husband and that was the end of that!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Hospital Ship Manunda that Dad served on as a Medical Orderly towards the close of World War II. He witnessed the end of the war in the islands, particularly Morotai, and was one of a ship full of eager medical staff and crew, flexing their muscles and ready to bring home the boys that had suffered as prisoners of war under the hands of the Japanese. While in Singapore to pick up the men for home, he met his three cousins who had been incarcerated for three and a half years. They were very haggard and skeletal, and all he wanted to do was feed them up. Dad at first was a Staff sergeant, then Troop Captain and finally Lieutenant

This Japanese Divider only, 6 inches high, was given to my Mum in November 1945, when my Dad arrived back from Singapore in the Hospital Ship Manunda, that was loaded with ex-POWs that had been incarcerated at Changi during World War II
He also gave her a pair of tiny royal blue embroidered shoes with tiny heels, a heavy brass Buddha, and a blue Japanese teaset. The divider is all that is left of these gifts

Friday, May 14, 2010

Passages to the Past

Passages to the Past...a great book on the Tudors is available for a giveaway but I can't comment to be part of it....nowhere to comment...gloom! But a second visit and it worked! Now I hope i can receive a free book of the Tudors, more Royal part of the family tree.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Family in the Wars

Henry Lockey, my grandfather, was a quartermaster at the Northam Barracks and Rottnest Island during World War II. He also served during the Great Water, but no photo survived, though one was available of his brothers.

Grandad's brothers - Ephraim Lockey is seated, beside him stands William Thomas. Both were in the Coldstream Guards during the Great War. Uncle Ephraim was a prisoner for two years.

My Dad, John Patrick O'Grady, was an NCO and Medical Orderley on the Hospital Ship Manunda during the final months of the war with Japan. After the war, he remained in the Interim army under General Thomas Blayney and helped with the problem of disposing weaponry from the war.

The hospital ship Manunda
Dad served aboard on its journey through the Pacific Islands and Phillipines, then at the end of the Japanese hostilities, to Singapore to bring the POWs home. Then he sailed off again to Japan with the vessel to bring home the sick and wounded, dropping the British and Indian personnel off at other places on the way back to Australia

James Delaney O'Grady, a first cousin one time removed, served in an antitank regiment in Western Australia, as part of the force there to combat a Japanese invasion. My son Murray is the spitting image of him, his photo is below

James had four brothers; Martin Delaney, Eric Vincent, Norman John and Stanley Joseph. Eric (Pat), Norm and Stan served in the 28th and were caught in Singapore and spent the rest of the war in Changi. They were like bags of bones when the war was over. No photo is available of Eric, but the other two had their photo taken holding a huge python with a couple of other army friends, Norman at left, then Stanley, taken before things got very rough for them

Eastward To The Avon

I was commissioned to write a family history of the Giblett family of Northam, Western Australia in 1991-1992


The past few months, despite duststorms, we have recieved a lot of rain, very heavy that it overflows from my gutters like a waterfall. The lawn is practically under water. Fortunately the house didn't leak, or the roof come adrift.

Russell Island

In amongst the tall, stately gum trees nestle vacant blocks of land just waiting for someone to snap them up. Murray and Terri did and they are the proud owners of a spot amongst those beautiful trees on Waikiki Beach Road on Russell Island

Find it on the map if you can!


It's a wonderful feeling to be at Church and witness someone bearing his Testimony in tears, with few words and an honest heart. Something to remember

Friday, May 7, 2010


Little girl sitting on a country fence,
Dreaming of things that make 'common sense',
Like pretty, frilly dresses and brand new shoes,
Instead of those which were 'don't know whose!'
A brand new doll in a brand new gown
Of soft white lace. She'd seen it in town!
Suddenly she started and looked around
And noticed that the sun was going down.
Back to the scrubby old shack on the hill
In her secondhand dress without any frill.

Sitting on a fence in her early teens,
Dreaming of a pony and brand new jeans,
Rodeos, Gymkhanas, all around the west.
She'd prove to them all she was the best!
Portable radio was tuned to her ear,
She'd won it in a raffle just last year!
Suddenly she started and looked around.
Her Mother was standing there, all of a frown!
'You're wasting your time - wrapped up in a dream!
You make me so mad, that I could scream!'

Leaning on a fence as a young wife,
She daydreamed away the meaning of life.
Still wearing clothes that were 'don't know whoes',
And married to a bumpkin always on the booze!
There were two little boys that took up all her time,
Along with the washing draped on the line.
Maybe one day she will find hersel free
To go and do her writing down by the sea.
A slurry voice behind her said 'wha'sh f'r dinner!'
She turned away, sighing. She'll never be a winner!

Middle age was upon her as she gazed across the river
Feeling fairly happy. No longer in a dither!
A novel she had written was due for publication,
And she recently acquired a legal separation.
Poetry, prose and novel number two
Kept her pen busy while hearing doves coo.
History and English at school she was attending,
University could follow, but that was 'depending'.
She thought it could be films, or a social worker!
Whatever she decides, she'll never be a shirker.

Gone are the daydreams, while sitting on fences!
Finally after all these years, she'd come to her senses!
During her life she made many mistakes
While washing baby nappies or baking large cakes.
Her time had not been wasted, she'd used her eyes and ears,
Along with some laughter, and many, many tears.
Tomorrow is another day, for which she'll fight
For her four sons, for she knew what was right.
Their education was important, she will not spare the rod.
It is a pact between her and Him - the one they call God!