Anzac Day

Some fragments for Anzac Day — in lieu of commentary. For reflection.

THE LANDING By a Man of the Tenth

Come on, lads, have a good, hot supper—there’s business doing.” So spoke No. 10 Platoon Sergeant of the 10th Australian Battalion to his men, lying about in all sorts of odd corners aboard the battleship Prince of Wales, in the first hour of the morning of April 25th, 1915. The ship, or her company, had provided a hot stew of bully beef, and the lads set to and took what proved, alas to many, their last real meal together. They laugh and joke as though picnicking. Then a voice: “Fall in!” comes ringing down the ladderway from the deck above. The boys swing on their heavy equipment, grasp their rifles, silently make their way on deck, and stand in grim black masses. All lights are out….

From The Anzac Book — in my Calibre eBook Library

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My father’s cousin Norman Harold Whitfield of (at the time) Wollongong

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Dad in Port Moresby 1945 — in the cockpit of the broken Kittyhawk on the left,

A photo my father took at Hanuabada near Port Moresby, while serving in the RAAF — 1945

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Me in my Air Force “uniform” 1945

The day has dawned

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And in Shellharbour, my father’s birthplace…

My dad’s birthplace in 1911 and where he and my mum married in 1935. See my photo blog archive.


Kenneth Ross WHITFIELD (b.1897  d. 1967) m 1920 Esma H. EAST (b. 1895 d. 24 Mar. 1971)

That’s my Uncle Ken, whom I remember well.

In 2023 the start of the Shellharbour Dawn Service is a sign of an Australia that is coming to terms with all its histories — of our wars including those at home, of all our peoples, and of our personal stories. See this symbolised so beautifully here!

Back to my mundane… And footy tipping…

Footy tipping

I have dropped out of the Wollongong City Diggers comp as it has not generated the numbers or the interest of former years. If you go into the club at the moment you would be hard pressed to know there was such a competition, whereas in past years the weekly results were very prominently displayed and extra bells and whistles too. It was also a great subject of speculation and discussion.

Still in the elite Pottsville comp via Facebook though.

A very belated update re the state of play in the select and prestigious 😉 Pottsville tipping competition! At the end of Round 3 there were a few changes in the names of the front runners. Two tipsters were lucky enough to be the only ones to pick the winners of two games, Titans and Raiders, and for that they scored 2 bonus points*. Currently the joint leaders are on 32 points and you and one other are next on 30 points. There are seven others with between 20 and 28 points. One tipster, who tends to follow the games rather closely trails on only 12 points……but it is still very early in the season.

So, as the sole tipster from the Gong, you are doing Wollongong proud!

Now for Round 5!

More compact graphic too! Now the Expert — whom I consult AFTER I have tipped — equalled me last week. This week he agrees with me except in the final game.

Facebook sends me time travelling again!

The Lost Wollongong group recently posted a photo of a Shellharbour Public School class in 1931. I commented that my grandfather, Roy Christison, was Headmaster from 1930.

The Headmaster’s residence, Roy Christison and his wife Ada — my grandparents

Someone commented:

A long thread ensued. My cousin Max was the father of Olympic gold medal swimmer Beverley Whitfield. Max’s sister Una and her husband Andy had four children. Leigh’s mother is Denise, the elder of the two girls in that family. I spent so much time in their company from the 1940s to the late 1970s when circumstances made contact rarer. I spoke to Andy at Beverley’s funeral in 1996 however, and to several others of the Shellharbour clan. I cannot recall ever meeting Leigh, who is obviously of the generation I never really knew.

Una passed away in 1988, Andy in 2008.

FB did deliver a long exchange with Beverley’s sister Margaret though, in May 2022. She is alive and well.

Early this morning: Woolies!

Supplies now packed away….

Anniversary Day 2023 — 2

Last year

I invited you to travel back with me to Sydney 1988. That Bicentennial year I joined the Invasion Day march and marched with it from Sydney Central to Hyde Park. For me it was — along with other meetings and events — a life changing experience. So join me. I was in this crowd.

And in 2017

I have usually marked Australia Day with a post or more: 2016: Australia Day at Mount KemblaHow inspiring! Deng Thiak Adut’s Australia Day address — he’s now a strong possibility for Australian of the Year 2017; 2014: Anniversary Day/Survival Day, from which:

And then on my mother’s side of the family:

And an earlier post on both:

88” is a landmark documentary that explores the remarkable events that led up to January 26th 1988. The Bicentennial of the First Fleet was a watershed moment in Australian history and it triggered the largest gathering of Indigenous people this country has ever seen, who came together to tell their story. The protest that occurred on that day instigated mass public debate about the concept of Australian history, the position of Aboriginal people in contemporary society and their sheer determination to be heard.

The subsequent events of 1988 changed white and black Australia forever. They led to the establishment of numerous peak Indigenous organisations, a new generation of leaders, new attitudes towards the way we celebrate Australia Day and a realisation of the issues facing Aboriginal people in the present day. For the first time ever, Indigenous people became part of the wider dialogue and there was acknowledgment that January 26th had a very different resonance for the country’s Indigenous communities. A line had indeed, been drawn in the sand.

I was there that day and joined all these people in their march. 26 years ago on the 26th!


26 January 1988 – image by the great Michael Riley

But none of us are going anywhere, are we?

See also my 2012 post  There is a land where summer skies…  Some earlier Australia Day posts: 20072008 – 12008 – 22009 – 12009: 22009 – 320102011 – 12011 – 22011 – 32011 – 42011 – 52011 – 62011 – 7; the page series Being Australian2012 photo blog; 2013 – 12013 — 2.

I find myself vexed by those who would have me burn the Australian flag, as some on the left have proposed, including those who regard the current Australian political system as not merely imperfect but as illegitimate, government by “terra nullians” some say, but I am also vexed — more so perhaps — by the self-styled patriots for whom cultural diversity is anathema.

So I wish you all — or those concerned — a happy but reflective Australia Day. By the way, i have just realised that in five years time my paternal line will have its very own bicentennial, Jacob Whitfield having arrived in Sydney in 1822! My brother’s family go back to way beyond that, as he married (without then knowing it) into the family of Bungaree. See Family stories 4 — A Guringai Family Story — Warren Whitfield.

So that personal Bicentennial has come and gone

Read all about it!