Yesterday was VP/VJ Day — Victory in the Pacific/Victory over Japan. 74 years! And yes, I was alive at the time, doing what I have told before:
I do remember sitting on my dinkie on the gravel drive, near the Dorothy Perkins climbing rose which I called Mrs Perkins and confused with the lady next door who I thought was also Mrs Perkins. A yellow biplane flew over very low and the pilot leaned out and waved to me. My mother later told me that must have been the end of World War II.
And here I am close to that time with my sister Jeanette (1940-1952):
My dad was still in the RAAF in Papua. Here he is in the cockpit of a Kittyhawk in Port Moresby:
And here he is in uniform:
My uncle, Neil Christison, turned 21 in July 1945 — I was named after him — was around Moratai at the time. His was a hard war. Here he is out of uniform in the backyard at Auburn Street, Sutherland.
Another uncle, Keith Christison, was in the army on the home front.
Yesterday there was a commemoration at Wollongong City Diggers. To be honest, it wasn’t until I saw footage on the local WIN News that I remembered what the day was! Not many WW2 vets left now. The scene at City Diggers yesterday, photo from our local member of parliament Sharon Bird:
Back when I was 15/16 I attended the centenary of Shellharbour Public School. I was in the company of my parents, Jeff and Jean Whitfield, my grandfather Roy Christison and various Whitfield relatives in Shellharbour, such as Una Gerke. My grandfather was there as the oldest living headmaster of the school. Here are some images I posted last year:
A post on Facebook’s Shellharbour History and Pictures has generated this wonderful war-time picture of my uncle Roy Christison Junior, my grandmother Ada Christison, and my grandfather Roy Christison Senior in Sydney. (Note the tram!) Posted by my cousin Linda Christison.
In that same Facebook thread someone asked if anyone had seen a photo of Ada and Roy taken in the 1930s when Roy was headmaster of Shellharbour Public School. Well, I have: it is in my collection. That is the headmaster’s residence in Shellharbour.
So I looked over Trove and found three items. The last one should say Caringbah, not Callimbar! The middle one refers to my aunt Beth, Beth Heard in later life.
From my archive.
Sutherland sunset 21 May 2014 – Woronora Cemetery:
Rose garden, Woronora Cemetery:
East Parade, Sutherland: grand Federation house repurposed as a Thai restaurant:
In the Sutherland United Services Club:
What took me back to Sutherland. See Ian and I have just run out of uncles.
What better than to repost from last year?
I have posted often on this, as Anzac Day reposts: 1 shows. In 2015 I posted:
In my Neil’s Decades series you will find much that is relevant.
And going back to the South African War I should add:
….pictures of the people – all relatives – mentioned in those posts…
John Hampton Christison in South Africa; David Christison, his son, a sapper on the Western Front in WW1; Keith Christison, my uncle, WW2
Neil Christison, my uncle, RAAF WW2; Jeff Whitfield, my father, RAAF WW2
Norman Harold Whitfield MC and bar, German New Guinea, Gallipoli, Western Front – from Wollongong; Kenneth Ross Whitfield, my uncle, from Shellharbour
One hopes that 2019 Anzac Day will pass without incident, given recent events in New Zealand, Turkey, and Sri Lanka.
Selections from my archive.
Weird sky: West Wollongong:
Mount Kembla — brooding:
Hellenic Club, West Wollongong:
Batty: near Figtree:
Not really lost, but as he is considerably younger than I we hadn’t seen all that much of each other over the years, though his late father unfailingly kept in touch. See What a gathering of the clan that was! and Roy Hampton Christison 1927 – 2011.
The “selfie” of the two of us is by Russell Christison, the rest by me. Dampish day, but great conversation.
After Steelers we went to the Illawarra Brewery. When Russell left I stayed on and read for a while over a half-pint of Apocalypso.