Chris Lockwood world wanderer over the years has been given many names, The claw & Dr Evil are two of the most popular, “Chick Magnet not quite as much. 🙂
An accomplished cricketer in his younger days in Sydney he was opening bat in a team captained by Tony Greig. After taking a spectacular slips catch off Greig’s bowling Tony shouted his praise but couldn’t remember Chris’s name so he labelled him “The Claw”.
The main purpose of this blog is to preserve his hilarious comments from his 2016 South American adventure. He is not big on photographs but writes a brilliant letter.
The quintessential Machu Picchu pose.
March 13 2016.
Been trying to send this for a few days without success – can’t connect to iinet – going with plan b (there’s no plan c).
Buenos Nachos, amigos. Reached Buenos Aires after a long haul without any dramas. The clever guys at Port airport put me straight through even though it involved three flights booked on two separate tickets with two different airlines. Had three seats to myself next to the window on the longest leg, and then a window seat over the Andes – spectacular. I went straight through customs and then my bag was right in front of me when I got to the carousel. I thought to myself that my luck couldn’t continue – and I was right. Three ATMs rejected my card at the airport, the banks were closed and there were no money exchangers. I went to the pre-paid taxi booth without a peso to my name – fortunately they took $ US. Then made a goose of myself with reception when I couldn’t open the hotel front door; and then when I finally did find an ATM that would work, I withdrew what I thought was the equivalent of $200 only to find the $ symbol is also the symbol for the peso. I ended up with about $20 and paid almost as much again in ATM fees, charges, etc – rookie mistake. Then set a new record for getting off a hop on hop off bus when I was advised the English translation wasn’t working.
Met the rest of crew on my first trip last night after having spent two days in Argentina. Our leaders name is Liza – she’s from Argentina, and her English is such that if I listen very carefully I can understand every third word. She organised a team meeting for 7pm last night, followed by a group dinner (which was fabulous) for 8.30pm. I’m going to have to learn the Spanish for “sweetheart, I’m in bed and sound asleep by 8.30pm!”. There are 8 of us on this trip – a couple and another guy from Canada, and five Aussies. There are five blokes and three girls, and I know you’ll ask Spo, so I’ll tell you now we’ve all been touched by the ugly stick – with some being absolutely hammered by it (repeatedly). As a whole, my overall impression of the group is that it falls somewhere between tepid and lacklustre.
Which brings me to my roommate, John – from ‘south of Sydney’. I saw John checking in and although I didn’t know who he was at the time, I immediately pegged him as a pain in the arse. After having now spent five minutes in his company I have had to upgrade his status to that of complete and utter dickhead. He was moved into my room while I was out, and promptly took over. He has enough gear to have sunk the Titanic without the need to have involved the iceberg, and it was spread over every inch of floor space. He was sitting at the only desk in the room typing on his computer, wearing nothing but his jocks – and had cables all over the room charging every piece of electrical equipment known to man. And I don’t want to even talk about all the reggies hanging up in the bathroom. And the trip hadn’t even started. Nonetheless, being the enlightened individual that I am, I could have handled all that – except he just won’t shut the hell up – his gums haven’t stopped flapping from the moment I met him. He’s been there, done that, and knows friggin’ everything. And to top it all off, last night he snored like a trooper and I had no sleep. He’s apparently married, but his wife doesn’t like to travel. Of course she doesn’t – she gets her own holiday when he’s away. I may have to kill him.
Back to the trip. I actually thoroughly enjoyed Buenos Aires, and now we’re on a four hour ferry ride across the River Plate to Uruguay (where we spend three nights before returning to Argentina) – which has been great so far. Now if the dickhead would only fall overboard, all would be right in the world (well, perhaps my putting could be fixed as well).
Here is Chris Lockwood world wanderer at the amazing Iguazu Falls, the are the most spectacular falls I have ever seen. Sadly I have not been to Niagara or Victoria falls to make a comparison,FiveStarVagabond.
March 15 2016.
Since last we met, simple reader (if there are any of you still out there that is), I spent a few days in Uruguay before returning to Argentina. Uruguay, and in particular Montevideo, looked like it would have been something in its day, but to my expert eye I would estimate that that must have been about 50 years ago. We got there on the weekend, and John the Dickhead was in a flap because he couldn’t find any of his plastic cards. He had $US, but all the banks were closed – of course muggins had to get out double and lend him some. He found his cards some days later in a special little container he’d bought so no-one could scan his cards – he’d forgotten he’d bought it. That caused great consternation that did. He’s lost shoes, reggies, money etc, yet seems to think he’s a cross between Bear Grylls and McGyver – I think it’s more likely he’s the love child of Donald Trump and Bronwyn Bishop. In Montevideo he looked the wrong way and a car had to screech to a stop with rubber burning – it came to a halt just touching his leg. The rest of us thought it was a shame it hadn’t been a bus. And he always has to borrow my travel adaptor because some genius told him South America was the same as Australia – seasoned traveller my arse.
We subsequently crossed back into Argentina (in total we’ve crossed into Argentina 5 times) and then had the option to visit some Jesuit ruins in Paraguay – another country to visit which was great, but my passport is filling up quickly. The border crossing (at a river) was the most comical I have ever seen. They make remote African border crossings look almost efficient, and the ‘car ferry’ across the river made the Settlement Point ferry look like the Spirit of Tasmania. There were more Jesuit ruins in Argentina – where I believe they made the movie The Mission with Robert De Niro – perhaps we could watch that one Monday movie night Mrs Hole?
And then we visited Iguazu Falls, where I had as good a two days as I’ve ever had on a tour. The falls are unbelievable and way superior to Victoria Falls (at least in my humble).
But enough of touring, I’m sure what you really want to know is what’s going on with the fruit loops I’m traveling with. Must say I am warming to most of them – in particular the Canadian couple are lovely, and one of the guys (born New Zealand but lived in Melbourne for 16 years – a real lose, lose) is good fun. Actually this guy (Paul) reckons if John the D mentions New Zealanders and sheep once more HE may kill him – a strategy I am actively encouraging.
Over discussions the other day re the hoops you had to jump through to get a Brazilian visa, the young Canadian guy stated that he hadn’t had to get one. Well of course he had – which meant our poor tour leader has been running madly around trying to sort it all out. The upshot is he hasn’t been with us for a few days (stuck in Argentina) but may catch up tomorrow. The rest of the group appear quite upset for him – but this is as basic a mistake as you can make. However, as you know I am nothing if not a sympathetic and supportive person by nature, so I think I have just faked sufficient empathy to appear as if I actually give a toss.
And our hard working tour leader is lovely, but not getting any easier to understand. Spanish speaking people obviously have trouble with their ‘j’s’ – even differentiating between something as simple as juice and shoes is hard for her. She was bemused the other day when she asked one of the girls over breakfast how her juice was – the resonse was they’re a bit tight and giving her blisters. She told us there was a remote chance we would see a shack-wah in the jungle around Iguazu Falls. It took quite a bit of discussion to determine she meant jaguar. As it turned out we didn’t see a jaguar, but we did see two fiats and a volkswagon (I hope you’re all keeping up with this).
And finally, and most importantly, thus far South American beer has been excellent – it is fairly cheap and is most often served in 1 litre bottles – wonderful! From here we travel to Sau Paulo where I am unlikely to leave the hotel room (reportedly one of the most dangerous cities in the world) and then on to Rio.
I am aware that there is still at least one devoted reader still reading this rubbish (thanks mum) so I will plough on.
The first leg of my journey has ended with three wonderful days in Rio de Janeiro – what a great city. Did all the touristy things – Christ the Redeemer, Sugar Loaf mountain, Copacabana and Ipanema beaches etc etc – and they were all just as fantastic as you see in the pictures.
Before getting there we spent a couple of days in Sao Paulo, apparently the fastest growing city in the world, and serious contender for being the largest. The two major industries there are robbery and murder. On the drive into the city we were stopped by the federal police who undertook a full search of the bus and all the luggage – presumably looking for drugs. When we got to our hotel we all just stood in the foyer waiting for our keys – and were advised to move further inside where it was safer. Our leader then gave us a detailed map of the city with the advice …. “zeez is a nice area, but don’t go there at night; this is a very nice area, but don’t go there at night; and don’t go to zeez area at all”.
Brazil is made up of many different nationalities, and Paul (New Zealand/Melbourne) and I thought we could inconspicuously venture out (in broad daylight) and sightsee while blending in with the local population. That was until John (the D) decided to tag along (we’d tried desperately hard to shake him) – he strapped on the world’s biggest back pack, hung the world’s biggest camera around his neck, and literally topped it off by wearing a large floppy dayglo orange hat on his noggin with matching bright orange draw string pulled tightly (but not tight enough) – to cap it all off the front was turned back just like Gilligan’s. He may as well have carried a sign around saying ‘get your free throat slitting practice here’. While we were in a park taking some photos of an impressive fountain (which would have been more impressive had it been working and not covered in graffiti) police swooped and rounded up five blokes and a girl. It was only 20 yards from us but happened so quickly and quietly that we didn’t see or hear a thing. We just turned around and saw all six baddies having assumed the position and being frisked. We left as the handcuffs were coming out. We also went up to the 40th floor of an old office building with a view over the city (and because it was free between 4 and 5). I can’t describe how immense and amazing this city is – the view was breathtaking.
The next and last stop before Rio was the small touristy town of Parati – which was lovely. We had a great day sailing around the islands and swimming in the warm water – the only dampener was J the D presumably thinking he looked attractive in budgie smugglers.
And so ends the first half of the holiday. I have really enjoyed Brazil – the only problem is they speak Portuguese here. I had completely mastered the Spanish of the other countries visited (much grassyarse, si, amigo, etc) but struggled a bit here. For example, a couple of times it sounded to me like I’d been called a douche bag – I can only assume that means sexy in Portuguese.
The crew also turned out pretty good on the whole. And being the weak, miserable buggrr that I am, all my character assassinations of J the D were naturally done behind his back – so he thought we parted the best of mates. Sometimes my insincerity embarrasses even me.
This trip has been excellent and I really hope the next one can be just as good – it starts in Lima tomorrow. I understand they speak Spanish there – woohoo (Spanish for you beauty).
You would never have made it to Peru, Wappo! I flew from Rio to Limo via Sao Paulo, ie domestic and then international flight. When I checked in at Rio the guy fart arsed about on his computer with my ticket and passport for about 10 minutes, before calling over to the girl at the next counter. She came over, looked at the computer and then called over another woman. She came over, had a look, they all babbled something in Double Dutch – then she got on the phone. She printed something, then took off. I asked my guy if there was a problem. “No problem Mr Christopher” he said. “Pig’s arse”, I thought. The lady eventually comes back, there’s much chat and playing with the computer, and then she’s back on the phone. Then they have another chat and play, and voila, tickets start printing. “Thank you for your patience Mr Christopher, here is your ticket to Sao Paulo”. No, no, no – for the 100th time I’m going to Lima. I’m advised they can’t put me straight through – I have to get off, get my bag, go to another terminal, and check in – I’m advised the 85 minutes I have between flights ‘iz plenty of time’. Despite flying South America’s equivalent of Air Asia the plane arrives on time. Now baggage from a plane at Port gets wheeled in on a trolley and you grab your bag off that trolley – at Sao P (remember, one of the largest cities in the world) I have to find my bag at carousel 206. Sherlock Holmes would have had trouble locating carousel 206! Having retrieved my poor old bag I had to work out how to find the international terminal – that was more a task of Einstein-like proportions. 40 minutes later I’m at the LAN check in counter. Now Spo, you know my poor old back pack – it’s been all over the world, travelling at least once every year for 13 years – I conservatively estimate it has been checked in at flight counters at least 50 times. But now the miserable so and so behind the counter told me my little back pack, which weighed in at a staggering 12.1 kilos, was oversized! There were bags the size of grand pianos going along the conveyor belt behind her, but my 12.1 kgs was oversized. I knew all the smooth sailing on the way over would come back to bite me on the bum. She told me to take it to the second yellow doorway ‘over there’, and pointed over her shoulder. All I could see ‘over there’ was a million people – and to make matters worse, I didn’t know what colour yellow was in Portuguese. I asked every person who looked even remotely like an official where to find this place and finally found the woman operating the x-ray equipment for big bags. There were packages the size of volkswagon beetles lying around, so it was no wonder she looked at me like I was a king-sized creton when I threw my bag on the belt. Don’t look at me, lady – go and talk to the cow at the appropriately lettered check in counter F. I finally made it to the gate as they were boarding, but in desperate need of a clean pair of underwear.
So, into Lima, Peru where I needed transport to my hotel after clearing customs at just before midnight. My trip notes advised “preferably don’t travel alone by taxi, particularly late at night”. Give me a break! Anyway, as Fronk would say, to cut a short story long, I finally made it and met my travelling companions the next evening. There’s 13 on this trip plus our leader. As you well know Spo, I don’t like people much, so 13 is more than I would prefer – we’ll see how it pans out. The leader is a Brit and is very good. My new roommate is Paul (from London and not the Paul from the last trip, who was a good guy and great to travel with. I have to say that because he’s been cc’d into this email – please disregard any derogatory comments I may have inadvertently made in respect of him in the past) – he’s also quite a nice bloke and good to travel with. Naturally he has his foibles, but I guess I’ll just have accept that not everyone can attain the impeccably high roommate standards that I set. Only a couple of small bells going off with the group thus far – an old couple (meaning older than me) from Canberra and a young Indian couple (Punjab, not Red) living in London. Mrs Canberra is Asian and I’ll be buggered if I can find out her name – from what I’ve ascertained to date I think it’s Bung Lung – anyway, she’s one of those who has to be first all the time. Hence when we’re being shown something, no-one can see because she’s in the way – and you can’t get a photo without her noggin being in it. Mrs India is quite pushy and bossy and is always 5 minutes late for everything – we’re always waiting for her and she obviously doesn’t give a bugger. Mr India is a nice quiet guy – they both seem happy enough at the moment, but I predict a long, hard road ahead for him.
Ok, to the trip. From Lima we flew to Cusco – which is a wonderful former old pre-Incan, Incan and Spanish town. The next day we visited Machu Picchu – an incredible sight that was not done justice by my $79 Dick Smith camera special. It was voted in as one of the seven new wonders of the world (Machu Picchu, not my camera)- I understand you came in 8th Wappo.
The next day we visited the Sacred Valley and some more amazing ruins, although we all agreed by then that we were Inca’d out. We have since driven to Puno, on the shores of Lake Titicaca. I am actually doing this while on a boat having visited reed islands inhabited by some of the local indigenous population, and then another island for lunch – with a real Greek Island feel – one of the best days of the holiday so far.
Have eaten Alpaca and Guinea Pig in Peru, and next we go to Bolvia – where I understand we can try Llama (at least that’s what they tell us we’re eating). The alpaca was really good, but the guinea pig was all bone – there was no meat at all. In hindsight it was a shame to kill the poor little critter. Some of the woman were appalled, eg “how can you eat them, they’re so cute”. C’mon girls – grow some balls like I hope to do one day. If I can be bothered, next time I’ll tell you about the people – I’m not saying they’re short Spo, but you’d look like a Harlem Globetrotter on stilts over here.
Seeing that I have no photos from Chris from his visit to Bolivia you will just have to settle for some of mine, just follow THIS LINK.
April 6 2016.
Crossed into Chile a few days ago after a three day 4WD adventure through the salt flats and deserts of Bolivia. We slept in dorms sleeping up to 6, there were no showers or electricity – and I don’t know how they could call those things you did your ‘business’ in toilets. Three people got ferried out early with tummy bugs and altitude issues, and several others had to really struggle to get through. Overall though it was amazing – we saw some unbelievable scenery including huge salt flats, geysers, volcanoes, mountain ranges etc. There was an island in the middle of the salt flats covered in giant plants which we were told were cactus – but they looked healthy enough to me (my travelling companions didn’t think it was funny either). I thoroughly enjoyed it – but you were probably better off at home. Unfortunately Bung Lung was not one affected by any illness (neither was your travelling hero – but then again I didn’t go to the toot for a week). She even manages to completely block photos of whole mountain ranges. And she’s added repeating everything our leader says and asking insightful questions to her repertoire, eg ‘how come the sky is so blue here’, and ‘is water in a glacial lake cold’ – for goodness sake. Mrs India (who I’ve subsequently found out is Mrs Mauritius, but will remain Mrs India for the duration of this trip because it’s easier to spell) was one who got crook but battled on, which was a bugger for the poor hubby – he had to be doctor, nurse and slave – although he already was the latter. The poor bastard may as well neck himself now – if he’s a good Hindu he’s bound to come back as some high caste after the misery he’s going to suffer in this life.
Since Cusco we have been at altitudes of over 3,400 metres – it really does take your breath away. Being 5’10.5″ I’m used to high altitudes, but you would have needed oxygen, Spo.
Anyway, we first travelled into Bolivia via the city of La Paz – yet another amazing place. Set in a cauldron-like environment, it is a maze of narrow, winding streets, and overlooked by a huge snow covered mountain. The people here are all about 3’6″ tall – and the women 3’5″ wide. This is because wide hips are supposed to be attractive here – in their defence they apparently wear up to 10 peticoats to achieve this effect (or so I’m told). They also wear little bowler hats – the positioning on their noggins apparently telling of their marital status. From there we flew (and apparently my bag has shrunk because it wasn’t oversized) to Uyuni (pronounced uni, as in university) – and now we were really in the middle of nowhere. This is the area that Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid finally met their comeuppance – after first robbing the banks at La Paz and Uyuni. They’re not worth robbing now – this is one pretty poor country. From Uyuni we started on our little 4WD adventure. During this trip we reached heights of 5000 metres – and at that height we had a pre-dawn get up to see some geysers at sunrise. The brochure said to take a sweater because it can get cold at altitude. Cold!!! It was -6 degrees – I almost had to wear socks with my thongs and pretend I was European.
In La Paz we had the option to do something called the Death Road bike ride. Now Wasp, as you know death and bikes are just two of many things that I try to avoid. However, my roommate Paul did show some interest. I tried to encourage his participation because I would have had our room to myself had he not made it back. I think I had him until I asked if I could have his u-beaut travel adaptor on news of his demise. One girl in our group did do it, and ended up going over handle bars, knocking herself out, and badly grazing her face. Paul was one of those driven out of the salt flats early ’cause he was crook. He only missed the one night – but that was the night I had to sleep in a dorm with 5 others. Karma is a bitch!
Since then we crossed into Chile, where conditions changed dramatically – nice beds, hot showers, electricity, wi fi – and costs comparable to Australia.
Both trips have been fantastic, but this one has been far the more adventurous – I’m going to need a holiday when I get back. This group has been ok, but can be catagorised into two groups – nice people like me, and boring ones (not like me). The boring ones include Mr Lung who is a geologist – we had to stop every five minutes during our 4WD trip so he could photo rock formations, and then explain to Bung the difference between granite and sedimentary rocks, how this and that were formed etc. I think they’re a good pair, because they’ve both got rocks in the head. And I must say my roommate Paul has been good company and fun to travel with – as I say, I MUST say this, because he also wishes to be cc’d into this rubbish. And he’d better send me the good photos he took on his better than $79 camera, or I’ll tell what I really think of him.
And after congratulating myself for finishing the last trip without providing John the Dickhead with any contact information, I received an email from him. He apparently got our email addresses from the company we are travelling with. His emails are as endearing as he was. He is a vet, and his last message gave a long and detailed account of how he returned to work only to deal with a constipated dog. The dog wasn’t the only one full of shit.
I have now flown into Santiago – at least I did, my poor old bag didn’t. To cut a very, very long story short, it turned up 8 or 9 hours later. I can’t be bothered going in to these details now – suffice to say you’re all going to hear about it when I get back – so brace yourselves. Santiago looks a pretty good city from first glance. Tomorrow we go to a Chilean winery, which should be fun. I know some seem to really like wine from Chile, but I’ve always felt it tasted like paint stripper – will put it to the test in the morning.
And that’s it for 2016. Next year, dear reader/s, we’re off to Russia and Eastern Europe – and the good news is the Wasp will be re-joining me. That means I will have someone to pick on, rather than having to be nice to everyone as I have been on this trip. So Wappo, I’ll see you at the airport on Saturday and I’m good for lunch Monday; Chew-me and KJH, I’ll be back for footy night on Monday; I believe Fronk is going or has gone away, so coffees will have to be suspended, and mummy, I’ll be around Wednesday to pick up ‘our’ car – and I can’t tell you how much I’m looking forward to 3 or 4 putting the first at Port on Thursday.
Hasta la vista, babies
Uno Idioto Abroado
Back home in Port Macquarie
Well all good things must come to an end as did Chris’s amazing adventure. It’s a shame my brother Warren known widely as “El Wappo” chickened out on this journey. Then again after reading about the frantic pace of this holiday El Wappo aka “Half Shot” may not have survived. 🙂
Chris aka The Claw, aka Dr Evil, aka Chick Magnet (well not so much really) should be applauded for his colourful and enlightening prose re-produced in this Chris Lockwood world wanderer travel blog. He should also be applauded on how quickly he mastered both the Portuguese and Spanish language,FiveStarVagabond.
Did I mention chick magnet?
Well here is the proof from 2010 with a bunch of babes, 2 Canadians, 1 Irish, 1 English, 1 Welsh and 1 Aussie – Chris said & I quote “I’m sure you’ll be shocked to know that not one of them showed the slightest bit of interest in me whatsoever!”
In fact it was after seeing this classic photo that I gave Chris the nickname of “Dr Evil”.
David Herd family history or Following the Herd, in 2010 I created a family history book called “Following the Herd” stretching back about 100 years, rather than update the book itself I have decided to replicate it here on my blog. This will allow me to easily update photos & information as well as giving the rest of my family easy access to all the photos & information. Another great bonus for me is that I can include favorite songs, as well as those I associate with different people and certain times. How many times does hearing a particular song immediately take you back many years in the past?
The photo above is my absolute favorite, on the right is my wonderful Father, Arthur John Herd & beautiful Mother, Iris Joyce Herd, the jaunty fellow on the left is my Grandfather Eustace Charles Herd (Charlie), in the middle my Grandmother and 2nd from the left is the Mother of either Charlie or Nan Herd, I’m not sure which.
If there is a song that describes this photo perfectly it’s this one.
From the book “Following the Herd.”
I am now at a stage in life where I realize how little time we all have on this wonderful planet, I also understand that having produced no children means there is very little chance of anyone remembering David Herd a few years down the track, or even knowing about any of the events that I experienced throughout my life.
Therefore I feel it is important that my memories and recollections of family and friends when I was growing up should not be lost to future generations of the HERD clan. I am one of the few people left who can relate certain stories and insights about some of our loved ones who passed away many years ago.
Part 1, of this book records some of those stories as I remember them, and includes many wonderful photos of family and friends.
Part 2, shows photos of various stages of my life.
Part 3, covers the current generations and shows how similar the children are to their parents & grandparents.
Part 4, focuses on Allan Herd who tells the most incredible story of his World War 2 experience.
Finally, part 5 offers an insight to some of our colorful ancestors.
David Allan Herd August 2010. Update now October 2017.
Arthur & Iris Herd wedding
Arthur John Herd of Norval St Auburn wed his sweetheart Iris Joyce Tippett of Carnarvon St Auburn on 22-6-1941, then 2 years later on July 7th 1943 they produced me.
The beautiful couple
How happy do they look? 🙂
How young does Iris look here
Don’t ask me why, but this is the song I always associate with Mum & Dad. Perhaps it’s because in my eyes their wonderful lifelong love for each other, would I’m sure have had a fairy tale beginning.
Iris Herd 16th birthday
Mum at sweet 16 with her best friend Betty Deves.
Iris & Arthur with baby David.
David Herd baptized
August 22nd 1943.
Here are two gorgeous girls.
A great photo of best friends Betty Deves & Iris Herd, I’m guessing they were about 18 years old by now.
I was born on July 7 1943. My grandparents’ house was where I spent the first 5 years of my life; the address was 74 Carnarvon St Auburn in the Western suburbs of Sydney – the street number was later changed to 84 when more homes were built. We lived across the road from the local dairy, one of my early memories is being sent over with a bucket to buy 6 pence worth of fresh milk, I was 4 or 5 years old. The dairy covered maybe 20 acres or more hugging the banks of the Parramatta River where all us young kids were drawn to play cowboys and Indians among the mangroves. When the dairy closed down I guess I was maybe 7 years old and the old paddocks became the focal point for all us to play in. Every year we would build a huge bonfire right across the road from 84 and on cracker night hundreds of locals would come and celebrate with bags of fireworks.
Now I mentioned we all lived in Carnarvon St until I was 5, then Mum and Dad built their home at 58 Kihilla Rd, however over the next 7 years I spent at least 50% of the time living with Nan and Pop Tippett. I would walk up the hill to Auburn North school in Adderly St, and along the way team up with some of the other kids from the neighbourhood. Kids like Bobby Hamilton, Ray Smorti, David Fuller and the dreaded Greenhalghs, who more often than not we were at war with. War in those days usually consisted of a rock fight with kids throwing stones at each other picked up from the side of the road and ending when someone copped a ricochet in the head, we thought this was great fun, the danger and possible ramifications never really occurred to us.
On the corner next door to 84 lived the France family, there was Barry, Yvonne and their mother, Barry was a couple of years older than I and Yvonne was about the same age. A hundred yards the other way lived Sandra Eagar with her Mum and Dad (Sid Eager was a cranky old bugger, or so I thought at the time). They had a tennis court and were the only people we knew with a telephone, so when anyone needed to make an urgent call this was the place they would go. At the age of 6 I considered Sandra as my first official girlfriend; both our families would occasionally holiday together at Ettalong or Ocean Beach on the N.S.W. central coast.
The neighbours on the other side at 80 were Cleve and Dot with their children Valerie and John. John Anderson lives on the Gold Coast now and has a floor tiling business at Carrara.
In 1955 my favourite uncle Colin, Dad’s younger brother, and his wife Margaret built a house at 78 Carnarvon St, in fact I spent many hours nailing noggins while Colin did the more important stuff. They raised two daughters Debbie and Vickie, Debbie is still in Sydney working as a flight attendant for Qantas, and Vickie has one son and lives in Canada. Col and Marg moved to Merrylands in 1979 and still live there today. Col and I spent many hours playing table tennis on Nan and Pop’s back veranda, we were very competitive and had some super games together.
Arthur John Tippett, aka “Nugget”.
One of the best family stories occurred on Mum & Dad’s wedding night. Mum’s brother Arthur, better known as Nug, was getting stuck into the grog as usual at the reception in the Empire Hall at Auburn, he was beginning to get loud and aggressive. Dad was concerned he would disrupt the wedding and with Pop Tippett away in the bush working there was no one to help Dad out of this sticky situation. Consequently as a last resort Dad frog-marched Nug down to the local Police station and explained the situation to the constable on duty. The constable agreed to keep Nug under lock & key for 4 or 5 hours to allow the reception to proceed without any hitches. What could possibly go wrong?
To cover all bases, when dad arrived back at the hall he gave five pounds to Nug’s best mate to bail Nug out after the reception had finished. Now Nug’s buddy who went by the unlikely name of Bedie Fokard pocketed the money and of course completely forgot his allocated task, so Nug wound up spending the whole night and half the next day in the slammer.
When Nan Tippett discovered this cunning plot the following afternoon there was hell to pay, luckily Mum & Dad were safely in Katoomba on their honeymoon. Dad was doubly lucky as he had to report back to his army unit, so to a certain extent he escaped the wrath of Nan. I am told however it was a good 3 months before they got back on speaking terms.
Dad was stationed in Darwin on the search lights and obtained the rank of Lieutenant.
Nugget was the “Black Sheep” of the family.
Another interesting story regarding Nug unfolded one evening when Nan, Pop and Mum were listening with interest to a live radio report coming from the Kokoda trail in New Guinea. Nug was serving with the Australian armies 6th division and had not had any contact with the folks at home for some time so naturally everyone was concerned.
While the reporter was speaking you could hear the sound of a motorbike in the background. The astonished reporter couldn’t believe anyone could get a bike so far along the trail because of the horrific conditions. He called the rider over and asked the obvious questions, “what are you doing here on a bike, and how did you get this far into enemy territory”?
A familiar voice bellowed out over the radio that it was just a “walk in the park” for a man of his talent, and you guessed it, everyone recognized the booming voice of Arthur “Nugget” Tippett.
Nug continued his love affair with high powered motor cycles after the war, he bought himself a beautiful triumph and rode every day to the local pub in Auburn. Of course it was like a time bomb waiting to explode and sure enough riding home one night with a belly full of grog he slammed into a car reversing out of a driveway in Station Rd Auburn and wound up in hospital with his leg broken in 3 places along with various other injuries. That was the end of motor bike days, the triumph was recovered from the police station and later sold for scrap.
Nug was the black sheep of the family and we would look forward to news of his latest exploits, he spent years working in remote parts of the country driving heavy equipment and mine shaft elevators. Finally in his 50s he married a lady called Queenie and settled in Tasmania.
It is only in the last few years we discovered through an internet search Nug received a dishonorable discharge from the Army, I have no doubt whatsoever it was probably due to some drunken brawl where an unfortunate officer made the mistake of pushing the little dynamo one step too far. 😳
Two Sams & Nan Tippett.
Sam was Nan & Pop Tippett’s youngest son, with older children Iris (my Mum) and Arthur, (aka Nugget).
Samuel John Tippett
Courage comes in many forms, and for me the word is synonymous with two uncles of mine, Allan Herd whose story comes later in this book, and young Sam Tippett who spent his short life fighting ill health, never once complaining about the cards he was dealt.
Sam was like the older brother I never had, a heart defect at birth turned his life into an endless struggle, however the way he coped was an inspiration to everyone he came in contact with.
Sam was passionate about music, his record collection consisting mainly of 78s numbered in the thousands. He & I would spend hours playing chess and cards while listening to his great music. He survived the major operation shown in this article from the Telegraph on December 10th 1954, then sadly passed away aged 29 in a relatively minor follow up operation 3 years later in 1957. Music is a big part of my life and many times I associate songs with people, times or places.
This is the one that always reminds me of Uncle Sam.
He married a lovely lady Gwen Hopkins, they moved to Brisbane where the climate was better for his health. Just like his father he was a wonderful human being. I am proud to have known them both.
Nine hour heart operation.
Nan Pop Tippett & Gwen hopkins
Sam Tippett & Gwen Hopkins marry in February 1955.
Sam Tippett & Gwen Hopkins marry at St Philip’s Church in Auburn, February 1955. Fours years after meeting at the local Auburn dance.
Sam Tippett & Gwen marry
That’s me on the fence throwing confetti.
Sam & Clare Tippett, my wonderful Grandparents.Sam & Clare Tippett
Nan & Pop Tippett were a family treasure, my brothers & I always loved living at their house as often as we could. Nan’s cooking and Pops generosity were memories that will stay with my brothers & I forever.
Nan Tippett with Warren & David at Booker Bay.
This wonderful lady passed away in 2007 at the age of 104.
There were various boarders at 84 Carnarvon St during the early years of my life. Dad’s sister Thelma was there for a while and I remember a few Scottish guys who were mates of Nug from his army days, most of them were called Jock. One little nervous guy called Ossie lived there on and off over many years, originally he was a friend of Uncle Sams, well Nan made his life misery, when Pop was dodging Nan’s wrath poor Ossie would be the victim. The older Nan got the more she nagged, never us kids, mainly Pop and poor old Ossie. Occasionally Nan would bellow at Ossie and I swear he would jump 6 inches off the ground in fright. I often wondered how he put up with Nan’s constant nagging but in the end I imagine he just had nowhere else to go.
Please don’t get the wrong idea about Nan, there was never a more generous caring person, she bought up a family in the most difficult period in history, the great depression and the 2nd World War. Throughout those years Pop would travel all over the state to find work and Nan would be left to cope with a young family by herself, and with very little money, and one very sick child, my Uncle Sam.
At eight years of age in 1951, most of us kids in the neighborhood joined the Cub Scouts. We would gather in the local hall in Asquith St every Thursday night, this was one of my great childhood memories, and then at 11 we graduated to the Boy Scouts and changed to Monday night. We would go on lots of camps out in the bush, pitch our tents and cook dinner over a camp fire.
Life at 84 was great for a young lad growing up; Pop was always building something in the backyard, a new chicken coop for the dozens of chooks that provided fresh eggs and the occasional Sunday roast, or improvements to my pigeon coop where I used to keep twenty or so homing pigeons.
I recall being horrified when Pop would lop the head off one of the chooks and it would be running in circles around the yard with no head. He also built a large birdcage and kept Canaries and Budgerigars. Believe it or not this cage was eventually turned into a bedroom and younger brother Ian claimed it for himself and spent a lot of time living there as a teenager.
In the early days we had no refrigerator just an ice chest and the ice-man delivered blocks a couple of times each week. It wasn’t until the early fifties when the ice chest was replaced by the “Silent Knight” refrigerator. There was no hot water service, we lit the “chip heater” using newspaper and small chips of wood and waited 10 minutes for the water to heat up.
The toilet was a little shack 10 metres away from the back of the house, a dark gloomy little room that was a haven for red back spiders. The “pan” had to be replaced a couple of times each week by a delivery man who parked outside in his very smelly truck.
There was another unusual service in those days, delivering clothes props, if you don’t know what clothes prop is you can be forgiven. Before the invention of the “Hills” rotary hoist everyone had 2 wires stretched between two structures shaped like a cross, when the clothes were hung out to dry the props were used to lift the wire high above the ground so the washing wouldn’t drag in the dirt.
Cold winter nights in bed were solved with the “hot water bottle”, a rubber container that we would fill with hot water and place between the sheets to warm up the bed. I looked on the internet to see a description of this gadget and to my great surprise I found they are still on sale and being used today.
Bryan, Ian 7 warren at Ettalong in 1959.
Life was so much simpler then. 🙂
The Herd family in 1954.
That’s Warren & baby Bryan.
Iris & Arthur’s wedding reception.
Held at the Empire Hall in Auburn.
My Grandfather Samuel John Tippett.
Samuel John Tippett my grandfather, was a hero in my eyes. Born & raised in Cornwall in a small village called Par, he then traveled to Australia as a teenager and joined the army in World War 1. He fought at Gallipoli and was blind for 3 months from being exposed to mustard gas.
He had 2 sisters who I met in Par in 1964, I also revisited the village in 2009. Pop Tippett was a battler who raised his family through the great depression and WW2, a man who spent many months in the country during the depression looking for work to support the family at home. One such job was shoveling gravel into rail trucks, for each truck he received the princely sum of six pence. No wonder in later years he suffered intense pain from a bad back.
Pop wasn’t a drinker but smoked like a chimney and loved his cup of tea. Pop was born in 1898 & sadly passed away in 1975. He was a man who dedicated his life to his children and grandchildren, each of the 5 Herd boys at some stage when growing up, lived at 84 Carnarvon St Auburn, and were spoiled rotten by Pop Tippett as well as Nan.
Pop Tippett in 1926
He was the most generous unselfish person I ever knew, none of us brothers will ever forget this great man.
Eustace Charles Herd, my other Grandfather.
My grandfather was quite a character, he was born and raised in Grafton in northern NSW and gained the reputation of being a bit of a hell raiser. A terrific rugby league player he represent the state as a half-back and according to son Allan, the only thing that stopped him playing for Australia was being up against the legendary international Chimpy Bush. He moved his family to Concord in Sydney in 1923 to pursue his football career.
Charlie’s medal, premiers in 1919.
He was a stonemason and worked on the old headstones at Rookwood cemetery as well as the Queen Victoria building in Sydney.
Eustace Charles Herd (28-6-1891 to 26-7-1981) know as Charlie. My
David Herd Family tree
The Herd clan at Thelma’s wedding.
Colin Ronald Herd 6-4-31, Dorothy June Herd 14-6-33, Eustace Charles Herd 28-6-1891, Thelma Joyce Herd 28-5-27,(the beautiful bride) Eileen Waite 30-4-15, Allan Charles Herd 14-7-17, Elsie Eileen Herd 6-12-15, Arthur John Herd 23-8-19, Norma Joan Herd 6-11-29.
This great photo captures the entire Herd family at Thelma’s wedding in 1954. Charlie’s parents were George Heard, (note the spelling) born 5-10-1856, and Anne Lamb born 23-11-1860. Anne & George married 21-6-1879 and divorced 31-10-1894, which would have been a scandal in those days.
A century later there was another scandal involving Charlie when he passed away. Known as being very frugal all through his life, (probably caused by raising a family in the great depression of the 1930s) the family discovered $40,000 hidden in the old unused outdoor lavatory in the backyard. We all felt sorry for Nan, all those years she put up with Charlie’s penny pinching, only to have a small fortune stashed a few meters away in the backyard at 27 Norval St.
Nan & Pop Herd & the grandchildren.
Growing up in the 50s.
To say growing up as a kid in the 40s and 50s was different to now is the understatement of the year, our main entertainment was the radio and the gramophone. Every evening mid-week we would tune into the serials, “Superman”, “Hagens Circus” and “Yes What” were some of the programmes I would never miss. Sunday night was the big night for radio, we would all gather round and wait patiently for the equivalent to today’s Sunday night movie, and we of course only had sound no pictures, in those days it didn’t seem to matter. I have always been a fanatical Frank Sinatra fan and I remember quite clearly how it all began.
All the family including Mum, Dad, Pop, Nan and Uncle Sam were fans of Bing Crosby, if you were Crosby fan you did not like Sinatra’s music, so naturally being a cheeky young brat I announced that my preference was most certainly Francis Albert Sinatra, so what started out as my little rebellion became a lifetime of devotion to his music. Much later in life, probably in the 70s I managed to bring Mum and Dad into the fold and they also became great fans, especially Dad. Sadly both these great men, Sinatra and my Dad passed away in 1998 which made it a very sad year for me.
Come Fly With Me.
This fabulous album was released in 1958, I was 15 years old, I firmly believe my travel obsession in later years was originally inspired by the music on this LP.
The man they dubbed The Chairman Of The Board continued to use his superstar status for good and for the benefit of others – so much so that, by the time of his death, in 1998, it was estimated that he had raised over a billion dollars for different charities during his lifetime. Check out THIS LINK.
Arthur John Herd
“Berger paints keeps on keeping on”. Dad was a salesman and proud of it, an accomplished public speaker he was calm, smooth with a ton of style. In his teens he was a rugby league winger however the sport he really excelled at was tennis, he had a killer backhand, a good serve and a lousy forehand. We played a lot of tennis together when I was young, he was as cunning as a fox. I remember one of his tactics was to belt the first forehand of the set to try and convince his opponent that this was his fiercest stroke, (most of the time the ball would hit the back fence) of course often the opponent would fall for the bluff and start playing to his backhand. As they say in the classics, “come in spinner”.
Dad loved newspapers, particularly the Sydney morning Herald, his favorite hobby was having a bet on the ponies. I can remember hearing about the one that came second, beaten by a nose at the post. Dad was too scientific when choosing his bets, he would always come up with numerous reasons why a particular horse could not lose. His love of form and statistics was the driving force behind his love of horse racing. He had a part time job working at the track on the tote for 30 or so years to supplement the expense of raising five sons.
I recall being at Dad’s retirement dinner at The Silverwater Businessman’s club, (apparently now called Dooley’s), someone organised a stripper gram to try and embarrass Dad in front of the 100 or so people at the dinner. (Probably good friends Bruce & Jenny in the photo below) In came the gorgeous girl in a bikini, draped in feathers, and proceeded with her well-practised routine. The shocked look on my mother’s face had nothing to do with the girl sitting on Dad’s knee, it was when she walked over to our table and said to me, “hi David, nice to see you, when are we going out on your boat again”? Yes, it was Shirley one of my recent girlfriends.
Shirl the girl.
Arthur Herd & his clan in April 1964.
My poor mother, all she ever wanted was a daughter, five boys later she stopped trying. 🙂
My “farewell” party in May 1964.Farewell party May 1964
In fact it was a two purpose party, my best mate Glen Beasley & I were leaving for England on the Fairsea on May 7th, and I would be in London for my 21st on July 7 so this was also an early 21st.
More memories from the early 60s.
My VW at Garie beach in 1962, then cutting the cake for my 21st with my beautiful Mum in 1964. Dad give me the key to the house & my good friend from our school days, Lenny Barr & his wife.
My best friend Glenn Beasley and my lovely Grandmother Nan Tippett at my farewell party in April 1964. Glenn & I sailed for England on the Fairsea, the journey took us 6 glorious weeks, and Oh my, did we have some fun onboard. 😛 Next photo is another friend Gary McKosker who I went through primary school with.
The beautiful blonde was Veronica Crocker, my gorgeous girlfriend in 1962 until a few months before Glen & I left for our overseas trip.
My first car, a 1950 Morris Minor.
Please overlook the scratches on this photo, however in 1975 a Sydney gangster fire-bombed my Melbourne home, it was a dispute over a girl, Di Parkinson, he obviously did not have a sense of humor. Back to the scratches, many of my photos were covered in soot from the fire, so the scratches were made when I was cleaning the photographs.
More memories from the 60s.
August 1965 with Carol at the Sefton hotel in Sydney. Next photo is at the Hydro Majestic hotel in Medlow Bath with Joan Mifsud. The third shot is also 1965 at the Latin Quarter in Kings Cross, and sadly I can’t remember her name. Finally another shot from 1962 with the lovely Veronica Crocker, my main teenage romance.
Off to the Pyramids.
An unforgettable experience.
The intrepid travelers.
Notice the cigarette in my hand? 🙂
May 1964 on the Fairsea.
You guessed it, the old shipboard romance, Leanne Scott from Adelaide.
Leanne Scott from Adelaide
We ended up spending some time together on the ship & in London. We also hired a Mini & toured Scotland.
The White Lion Hotel in Cobham
Glen & I worked here from August 11th 1964 to November 11th. It was a terrific experience and we met some great people.
7th Engineer on the La Maria.
I was living in London and did not have the money to get back to Australia. So I told a few little untruths about my background and got a job as a 7th engineer on a ship in the British Merchant Navy. I was sent to Antwerp to board the 12,000 tonne vessel which was leaving for America to deliver 1000 VWs.
I was finally scheduled to go on watch at midnight so at 11.45 I slipped into my boiler suit and headed for the engine room. After 10 minutes looking for the damn door to take me below I started to panic a little, obviously I couldn’t ask anyone directions, here I was the 7th engineer of course I should know where to go. I could hear the noise from the huge engine but do you think I could find the right door, no?
I ducked into the bathroom or should I say “the head” for a nervous pee, and low and behold found a 2nd door which turned out to be the engine room entrance. Looking back it made sense that when you finished your 4 hour watch you were usually covered with grease and badly needed a shower, so the first stop was the “head” to clean up before heading to the “mess” or your cabin. Notice how after nearly half a century the maritime language just slips off my tongue.
I reported to the 3rd engineer, a miserable dour sour faced Scot who immediately asked the dreaded question “what ships have you come off lad?”
Here we were 24 hours out to sea heading for America so I knew they couldn’t just throw me overboard so I decided honesty was the best policy. I said “please sit down while I tell you a little story,” and I explained how I had used the truth rather loosely when applying for the job back in London, and in fact I had never been in an engine room in my entire life. His mouth dropped open and a look of disbelief showed on his grease stained face and for a couple of minutes he just stared at me in disbelief.
Finally he growled at me and said “I’ll give you 24 hours to prove to me you can handle the job otherwise I’ll march you off to the Captain and report you.” In the end everything worked out OK, and four months later I left the ship in Rotterdam, (as the 6th engineer) having achieved my goal of earning enough money to pay for my voyage back to my home in Australia.
David’s slides from the 60s
50 years later I returned to one of my favorite London Haunts
Mum & Dad with Warren on his 21st, his girlfriend was Gail Poulton. Eventually Gail & Warren split up and Warren married Kerry, brother Ian ended up marrying Gail’s sister Sandra, nothing like keeping it in the family. 😀
Congratulations from a proud father.
These days in 2017 Warren is a very proud grandfather.
The Wasp cuts the cake.
Warren eventually married Kerry & they raised 4 fabulous children.
October 13th 1972 at Warren’s 21st.
How abut the 1972 hair styles? Warren’s 21st was at the scouts hall in Asquith st Auburn, each one of us were there over the years as a Boy Scout or a Cub Scout.
Warren’s clan October 2005
What a happy looking crowd. 🙂
With the girls at the Oaks hotel in Neutral Bay.
Michael, Elyssa, Laura & Tim June 2013
Bye bye Port Macquarie, hello Sydney.
March 2014 Lunch at Chinatown
One of my favourite photos.
Sadly we lost Bjorn early 2016 after he fought a long battle with cancer, leaving poor Michael shattered.
As for me I consider myself a very lucky man to have made is this far along the track, tell the people how I feel about life please Glenn.
Proud grandfather & Isobell
What a fabulous photograph.
Lets jump forward to August 2017
Little Isobell with auntie Laura.
Warren with Tim’s tribe
Tim & Linda have built a lovely home at west Pennant Hills.
The Herd Brothers in Port Macquarie in 1997 (I think)
A very rare photo given the fact that Neale decided close ties with the family did not suit him.
Xmas 1993 at my home in Upton St
We had a great family Xmas at my home in 1993, what a cute bunch of kids. 🙂
Mum & the kids at Kihilla Rd.
Another happy Xmas with Shane & Adam.
Xmas day 2000 at Avanti St
Fast forward to 2017 & Ian & Sandra are planning to pull down their home & build duplexes
Ian & Sandra in Thailand in 2014 I think?
They loved Bangkok particularly the Thai massages. 🙂
Ian’s family slideshow
Shelly Herd ties the knot & becomes Shelly Smith.
Great photo of the beautiful bride & the proud father.
Wonderful shot of the family with Mum & Nan Tippett.
zulu928’s The 60s were sensational album on Photobucket
Shelly Justin & the kids.
A beautiful family photo.
Tim & Linda
Somewhere near Windsor & the Hawksbury river.
Tim, Linda, Mathew & Alison
Mathew & Ally are looking a little sleepy. 🙂
March 1st 2017.
A beautiful photo on their 10th wedding anniversary.
August 1st 2017 Mathew & Alison
They seem to grow up so quickly.
Four of the Herd brothers in 1980
How time flies when you are having fun. 🙂
Three of David’s fiancés & 1 who should have been.
This is Dianne Butson at her 21st birthday, she was my beautiful girlfriend inAdelaide in 1973, she was a dance instructor at Arthur Murray in Adelaide. Had we met 10 years later things may have been different, but in Adelaide in 1973 I was too wild and have way too much fun to settle down. I’ll always remember her as one of the nicest people I have ever known.
Next we have Lee Gregory, my 2nd fiancé who was also anAdelaide girl. We lived together in Melbourne in 1974, it was a fairly volatile engagement as her old Adelaide boyfriend (Brian Braidwood) was always lurking in the background. For some reason I was far too obsessive when it came to Lee, so in a way the relationship was always destined to fail.
My third and final fiancé was Karen Smith, a beautiful Melbourne girl, we lived together for 3 years at Newport in Sydney in a wonderful old home perched on top of a hill at 31 Herbert ave. The view at the front was all the way to Lion Island in Pittwater, at the back we looked across the water to Bayview. We did enjoy many wonderful times together, however in the end our personalities were too far apart. Karen was a delightful, sweet, quiet lady, where I was a brash outspoken abrasive individual who, as was proved in later years, to not be much good at “relationships”. 😳
Finally in 1970, my first fiancé Paula Wills, another Adelaide girl. Paula was an air hostess for TAA living in Melbourne. Our engagement lasted a whole 3 months, and looking back I now realise the engagements to both Paula & Karen were for the wrong reasons. Both times I was tired of the living in the fast lane and thought the time was right to settle down and live a more normal life. Of course I now know that is NOT the right reason for people planning to marry, that little thing called love is supposed to be the main driver. Oh well, I have a history of making many serious mistakes, these were just two of them.
Bryan’s wedding 1973
Bryan’s wedding in 1973 with Warren & Malcolm Frawley
The Herd family with the bride & groom
The fabulous 70s.
Mum & Dad’s 50th anniversary June 21 1991
The family gathering to celebrate 50 years of marriage was held at the home of Bryan & Lynn at Leppington.
This photo is worth repeating.
My gorgeous kiwi girlfriend was Karen Greenwood.
March 2017 26 years later.
We caught up on the Gold Coast, it’s so hard to believe 26 years have flashed by.
Laura & Jordan April 2014
What a fabulous couple, however to me Jordan will always be “Golden Boy”. 🙂
Another great photo of this lovely couple.
Paid a visit to Shelly & Justin’s fabulous new home in Talai on the Gold Coast.
Here is their lovely home.
It seems to be perched on the edge of a rain forest.
Ian has lots to be proud about, he & Sandra have raised a lovely family.
David Herd family history will be work in progress as long as I am on this earth, hopefully when I am pushing up daises some other family member may keep it going, I hope so. Meanwhile I’ll let Glenn Frey explain once again my current state of mind.
Meanwhile in Thailand
I have been living in Thailand since October 2011 & loving every minute. I plan to stay another 5 years before moving back to Australia.
View from my apartment
This is what I look at every day. For a sample of Thai life just follow THIS LINK.
Tim Bristow Iron-Bar Freddy Tropical Joe may seem like an unusual title for a post. This story took place in 1996 & revolves around some of Australia’s most notorious gangsters, stand-over men & a crooked cop.
The header photo was taken at my home at 31 Herbert avenue Newport where I lived from 1984 to 87.
I’m pleased to say that Tim Bristow was a friend of mine dating back from the time we met in 1971 when he was on my tail to give me a hiding, but that’s another story for later in this post. Let me tell you first how about the title of this post, IRON BAR FREDDY & TROPICAL JOE.
In 1996 my good mate Ross Kennedy and I took a road trip in my Porsche to Falls Creek for some skiing, stopping on the way at the Hunter Valley & Sydney. I knew about Rossco’s fascination with gangsters and the underworld so naturally I took him to meet Big Tim Bristow at his home in Newport.
We were there an hour or two listening to some of Tim’s stories most of which I had heard before many times. As usual Tim’s phone never stopped ringing, but there was one call Ross & I will never forget. Roger Rogerson was in many ways more notorious than Tim, he was known for being a ruthless crooked cop who shot first and asked questions later, the most famous case being where he shot and killed Warren Lanfranchi in a back alley in Chippendale.
In 1981, Sally-Anne Huckstepp met and began a relationship with Warren Lanfranchi who was a heroin dealer and standover man who worked with Neddy Smith. In June 1981, Lanfranchi allegedly robbed a Sydney heroin dealer and later fired shots at a young policeman. In Neddy: the Life and Crimes of Arthur Stanley Smith, Smith claims that Lanfranchi asked him to negotiate a payment with then-Detective-Sergeant Roger Rogerson in order to escape being charged with the shooting. Smith claims that Rogerson had instructed him to drive Lanfranchi to a meeting with him and to disarm him in the car. Rogerson took eighteen police officers with him to the meeting. He claims that he was attempting to arrest Lanfranchi on suspicion of five bank robberies. At the meeting in Dangar Place, Chippendale, Rogerson shot and killed Lanfranchi. During the inquest into Lanfranchi’s death, Rogerson claimed self-defence. He was supported at the inquest by Smith and other police officers who were called as witnesses. The inquest found that on the balance of probabilities, Rogerson had been trying to arrest Lanfranchi, but refused to find he had acted in self-defence. The matter went to the Supreme Court and was the subject of investigations by the New South Wales Ombudsman and Internal Affairs. No action was brought against Rogerson and he was exonerated and commended for bravery.
Back to Tim’s phone call, as it turned out he was speaking to Roger Rogerson about a union problem at a work site in Parramatta, naturally we could only hear Tim’s side of the conversation. After much discussion Tim finally said “don’t worry Roger everything has been fixed, I sent around Iron Bar Freddy and Tropical Joe to do the job.”
Now Rossco and I are pretty quick on the uptake, we knew exactly what Iron Bar Freddy was good at, but to this day we are still intrigued about Tropical Joe’s specialty, we had a lot of fun the rest of the trip speculating on what it could be. We thought it was one of the funniest things we had ever heard, we even changed the display on our mobile phones, if Ross rang me his name would show Iron Bar Freddy and mine of course would show Tropical Joe.
Iron Bar Freddy & Tropical Joe.
Here we are flyblown in the snow at Falls Creek.
Roger Rogerson arrested
May 27th 2014, POLICE will allege that Jamie Gao was allegedly shot twice in the chest by two former detectives Roger Rogerson and Glen McNamara in a rented storage room.
Earlier today, the state’s most infamous former detective Rogerson limped into the dock at Bankstown Local Court charged with murdering student Gao.
A special late sitting was arranged to get Rogerson, 73, before a court after he was arrested earlier today.
Roger Caleb Rogerson !
(born 3 January 1941)!
DISGRACED Sydney detective Roger Rogerson has been charged with murder and the body found floating off Cronulla yesterday has been identified as missing Hurstville man, Jamie Gao.! Rogerson has also been charged with large commercial drug supply and appeared in Bankstown Local Court today. Rogerson did no apply for bail.! Rogerson Is a former Detective Sergeant of the New South Wales Police Force. He was convicted of perverting the course of justice and lying to the 1999 Police Integrity Commission. He was one of its most decorated officers, having received at least 13 awards for bravery, outstanding policeman-ship and devotion to duty
including the Peter Mitchell Trophy, the highest annual police award.! Rogerson is also known for his association with other NSW detectives who are reputed to have been corrupt, including Ray “Gunner” Kelly and Fred Krahe, and with a number of organised crime figures, including Arthur “Neddy” Smith, Graham John “Abo” Henry, Warren Lanfranchi, Robert Arthur “Bobby” Chapman, Paul “The Paddy” O’Halloran, John Tex Moran, and Christopher Dale Flannery. Neddy Smith was a convicted heroin dealer, rapist and armed robber who has claimed Rogerson gave him the “green light” to commit crimes in New South Wales. Henry and Lanfranchi were also heroin dealers and armed robbers, while Flannery specialised in contract killing.!
Roger Rogerson age 75 and co-accused Glen McNamara aged 57 had pleaded not guilty to murdering Jamie Gao in a Padstow storage facility on May 20, 2014. It took the jury just under a week to reach the guilty verdicts.
Here is the ABCs 7.30 report, fascinating viewing.
Hard men would include Tony Shaw, Sam Scott-Young, Rod “Slaughter” McCall, as well as others mentioned above, particularly Pricey, who played through his tour of the British Isles with a hernia. But the toughest of them all was that big bastard, Tim Bristow. If he had had an ounce of self-discipline, he would have been a Wallaby great. His Gordon partner-in-crime, Ken Yanz, was also a thug. Of course, in those days, there were no assistant referees, or video recordings – you could do pretty much anything you liked.
Life & times of Tim Bristow.
“I grabbed the guy with the gun and introduced him to the wall”.
Tim loved relating stories about himself especially when he played the part of the hero which was the case in most of his tales. My favorite one of all time revolves around the time the underworld bosses put a contract on his head for some reason or other which I can’t recall. We were sitting in his kitchen and as usual Tim had a cleaning cloth close by in case I (or anybody) happened to accidentally leave a smudge or mark on any visible surface, he was paranoid about cleanliness, as well as many other things. Tim recalled how he tried many times to have the contract lifted but each time his request was refused. He then said “it was a Friday night and I knew they were waiting for me here in this very room”. He paused for effect and continued, “I crashed through the kitchen door and the first slug caught me here”. He shoved his very large head close to mine and pointed to a scar on his forehead, and then said “so I grabbed the guy with the gun and introduced him to the wall”. He continued on with the story, “I grabbed the second guy and held his head on the kitchen bench and “cracked it like a nut”. Now Tim had one of those hinged flaps in the kitchen which you lifted to walk behind the counter, this is what he used to immobilize the second guy. Finally he said, “I turned around to grab the third guy but he had bolted”. The upshot of this resulted in the gangsters lifting the contract, it seems they figured if three guys could not take out the “Big Fellow” he deserved another chance.
The road to Berrima
I visited Tim on several occasions when he was doing time in Berrima Jail, the one time that really sticks in my mind was Boxing Day 1986 or 1987, I’m not sure which. I signed into the jail as a visitor and Tim asked in his deep gravelly booming voice “listen Dave I have a friend who does not get any visitors would you mind signing him out of his cell?” Obviously I was not going to refuse this simple request so I did. I have forgotten the guy’s name so let’s just call him John. So the three of us were sitting on one side of a table with his friend between us enjoying our BBQ lunch. Tim leaned his huge head forward and asked “do you know what John is “in for?” Three things to note here are, 1. Years ago Tim suffered a minor stroke and one side of his face had fallen slightly and had no feeling, (more about that later) 2. He didn’t just speak, “he roared.” 3. He had quite a warped sense of humor. J So repeating his question “do you know what John is “in for?” I answered “no Tim, I don’t have any idea.” So in his best booming voice he said “AXE MURDERER, HE KILLED TWO PEOPLE WITH AN AXE”, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! So picture this, here I’m sitting next to a guy with a steak knife in his hand after being informed he was a double axe murderer. I sort of lost my appetite for the rest of my lunch. I kept thinking on my drive home from Berrima how the authorities probably now had my name associated, not only with the notorious Tim Bristow but a double axe murderer as well. 🙂
Tim at the Newport Arms 1983
Tim ruled the roost at the Newport Arms.
On the right is Tim’s son Steven in 1992, thankfully Steve had a totally different personality to his father. He could certainly fight like his father but he is a much calmer person, a man of few words really and a very nice guy. For years he worked on the Gold Coast as a night club bouncer, the last I heard he had given that life away and was driving a bus. The guy in the centre is Greg Johnston, funnily enough both he and I wound up living in Thailand 29 years later. Some a few years reg owned a hotel/bar in LK Metro Pattaya called the Billabong.
Tim’s home in Crescent Ave Newport
Tim’s lovely home in Newport was a much more pleasant place to reside than Berrima jail. His long time (& long suffering) partner Sue still lives there.
I played tennis here many times with Sue.
Sue Ellis was and still is a terrific tennis player, we played many times and to my dismay I never won a single set. Sue just turned 60 this year and is ranked number 7 in the over 60 Tennis Seniors Australia Rankings in Women’s Singles.
Sue & I in January 2013
After many years I dropped in to visit Sue in January 2013, the home is still as picture perfect as when Big Tim used fuss around keeping everything neat & tidy.
Big Tim passes away.
The end of an era, Big Tim Bristow the last of the hard men, RIP.
By Neil Mercer
February 15 2003
One of the hard men of Sydney, legendary private eye, rugby player, bouncer and standover man Tim Bristow has died at the age of 72.
He was found on the balcony of his Newport home about 9.20pm on Thursday.
In recent years he had become a shadow of the man renowned for his fitness and fighting ability. A long-time diabetic, he had been insulin-dependent for about 10 years and had developed Parkinson’s disease.
Tim Bristow made his name in the 1950s and ’60s in divorce work. Big Tim would come crashing through the bedroom door, photographer close behind, to catch the amorous couple in flagrante delicto.
Visited by the Herald last year at his home, he still had many of the pictures, the looks on the faces of the startled lovers amusing testimony to his handiwork, although it probably wasn’t funny at the time.
“I had the biggest divorce inquiry service in Australia, breaking down about eight doors a night.”
Later he used his association with underworld figure Lennie McPherson to his advantage, although McPherson disputed just how close they were, saying they had met only 10 times.
“He seems to have his head into an awful lot of bullshit, doesn’t he?” McPherson said.
“I’ve saved his neck a few times, and he f—in’ knows it, too, the silly lookin’ c—.”
While anything Bristow said in his booming voice needed to be taken with a grain of salt – perhaps a barrelful – there’s no doubt he knew an awful lot of people and he was far from silly looking.
He was, according to himself and legend, the original model for Chesty Bond. Former NSW police officer Roger Rogerson recalled yesterday that Bristow in his heyday cut an impressive figure.
“When he was in charge of security at the Newport Arms hotel, blokes would come from all over the state to try him out. They never beat him,” said Rogerson, who, like Bristow, once did time in Berrima jail.
“He flogged them all. He was a very powerful man in his day.”
In 1976 Bristow was convicted of assault and sentenced to 18 months’ jail. A decade later he was sentenced to five years’ for supplying Indian hemp.
He subsequently gave evidence about how a number of police had thrown 49 packets of the drug from a window of the Chatswood detectives’ office – and how he had caught them with a towel before loading them into his Mercedes.
In the early 1990s he was a witness at the Royal Commission into the Building Industry run by Roger Gyles, QC.
There was evidence about how he had gone onto building sites and threatened union members about “accidents”.
He gave evidence at the inquest into the presumed death of missing hitman Chris Flannery, who he thought looked like a “twerp” until he learnt of his reputation.
Educated at Shore and briefly a police cadet, he once declared: “I bribed police for 40 years. I found that the higher I went in society the lower the morals became.”
Here is the story how I met Big Tim
Peter Lewis & I with Marilyn in 1971
It was around Xmas 1971, I was living in Lane Cove but many weekends I would stay at Peter Lewis’s flat at Narrabeen which was above his draper shop, his main source of income was operating as an SP bookie in between throwing some of the best parties on the peninsula.
One Saturday night he took Bob Fowler (Chicken-man) & I to a party at Bilgola at the house of a women with the unlikely name of Hope Fairweather. I guess the opposite to Fairweather is Stormy weather, because the woman I met that night at the party caused me more grief in the next 3 or 4 years than I could have possibly imagined.
Of all the parties I had ever been to I had never seen as many beautiful girls in one place, most of them apparently were involved in the modelling industry which explained the phenomenon. One in particular caught my eye, a magnificent looking blonde girl who was happy to chat and flirt with me for the next hour or so. Peter tried to warn me off a couple of times telling me both her ex-husband plus her current boyfriend Richard (Dick) Plumber were in the room and giving me the evil eye.
It was getting rather late and both peter & Bob had gone home leaving me without knowing anyone at the party except the gorgeous blonde Di Parkinson, the girl I was chatting up. Sensing a little tension in the room I decided my best strategy was to get the hell out of there, and given the fact I had arranged to have lunch with Dianne the following week at Johnny Walker’s Bistro, a famous lunchtime hangout in the city.
I headed for the door with Di following and we had a quick kiss & cuddle on the front lawn. Not quick enough I’m afraid, the bellowing bulk of Dick Plumber came charging across the lawn toward me swinging a vicious right hook which caught me flush on the jaw. Things seemed to happen very fast, here was I flat on my back with this huge fellow trying to choke the life out of me. Somehow I manage to throw him off, he tumbled down to the next level of the terraced yard, jumped to his feet and headed back up the 4 steps screaming like a madman “I’ll kill you, I’ll kill you”.
Meanwhile I was trying to calm him down, “listen mate” I said, “you got your shot in how about we call it quits and I’ll just go home?” My words had no effect so as he reached the second top stair I hit him flush in the mouth with the best left hook I have ever thrown. Blood gushed from his lip like a fountain, now he was on his back and all the fight seemed to have gone out of him. My first reaction was to “get out of Dodge” before the posse arrived, but I couldn’t just leave him bleeding all over the lawn without at least helping him to get back inside the house. We stumbled into the kitchen, blood all over Dick and every button ripped off my shirt. All his friends rushed over with extremely hostile expressions on their faces. “What the hell happened?” they asked, thankfully Dick replied “I tripped down the stairs and fell right on my face”. I said “yes, I saw it happen and helped him inside, and the bugger has accidentally ripped my best shirt,” It was fairly obvious they were having trouble accepting this version of the events, so while they were trying to stem the blood flow I beat a hasty retreat out the door.
Who should suddenly reappear at my side, the cause of the unfortunate altercation, the beautiful Di Parkinson. It took me maybe half a second to think about it, “OK, I have had the fight why not grab the spoils?” Within 10 minutes we were parked at Bilgola beach in my beloved blue MGB, I’ll leave the rest up to your imagination. That was the end of an eventful evening, little did I realise it would be simply a forerunner to a whole heap of drama in the coming years.
The following day Peter Lewis phoned “what the hell did you get up to last night?” he asked, “the guy you belted is big Tim Bristow’s best mate and Tim is looking for you.”
Now in the 70s just the name Tim Bristow struck fear into the heart of all those who knew him, an enforcer with a reputation of being one of the most brutal street fighters in Australia. Put simply he was legend, a bouncer at the Newport Arms hotel, would be contenders for his crown would travel from all over Sydney to try their luck, many came and all of them were sent packing battered and bruised. There are countless stories making up the legend of Big Tim Bristow, one of the few times he actually lost a fight was against 3 times Olympian Tony Madigan who narrowly lost to Cassius Clay in the 1960 Rome Olympics, the story goes Tim wanted a rematch the following week and Madigan declined, my guess is that Madigan didn’t have to prove anything to anybody’.
So as you can imagine the last thing on Earth I wanted to hear were the words “Big Tim is looking for you.” To make matters worse, in order to get even with me Dick Plumber had told everyone I was actually forcing myself on Di in the middle of the front lawn which was the exact opposite of the truth. For the next week I was jumping at shadows and looking over my shoulder everywhere I went expecting Tim to appear around every corner. I said to myself “this is no way to live” so I rang Peter and got him to arrange a meeting with the “Big fellow.”
Now Tim was a giant of a man with a huge upper body and enormous hands, one side of his face was semi frozen which resulted from a small stoke suffered a few years earlier, it just made him look more fearful if that was at all possible. Our meeting was thankfully rather anticlimactic, he listened intently to my side of the story, grunting often rather than speaking and finally said “ok I believe you, but for your own good stay out of trouble or I’ll come looking for you.
Oddly enough over the next 20 years or so we became “friends” maybe we were, maybe we were not, you just never really knew with Tim.
A very funny thing happened in January 2013, I had not seen Di Parkinson for many years so I arranged to meet her for coffee in Brunswick Heads on the NSW north coast. Naturally we spoke of old times and people we both knew, the name Hope Fairweather was mentioned and I said to Di “that’s where we first met, don’t you remember when I had to flatten your boyfriend Dick Plumber at Hope’s house in Avalon?” Quick as a flash Di said very softly, “yes even though it was 40 years ago they still talk about it today.”
Di Parkinson at Beechworth in Victoria 1975
Looking back there is no doubt this dizzy blonde caused me more trouble than any person I ever knew.
One final memory
It was 1997 and my gorgeous girlfriend Carol Aboud threw a party at her home in Ocean St Double Bay, earlier I had mentioned to Tim that I would be there that night, and he was welcome to call in for a drink. I had forgot however to tell Carol about the casual invite, well around 11 pm the party was in full swing and Carol rushed up to me looking very worried indeed, she said “David, Tim Bristow is here looking for you”. It was a fairly normal reaction because usually if Tim came looking for you the news was not good.
Quick as a flash I said “don’t worry darling I will go and throw him out”. I’ll never forget the look of shock & disbelief on Carol’s face, obviously there was nobody in the whole country capable of throwing Tim out. 🙂 After 10 seconds she realized I was joking and we enjoyed a good laugh about it.
Thanks for visiting my Tim Bristow photo blog, I do hope one day somebody will make a movie of his life.
One soldier’s incredible story, I intended to publish a post on the bridge over the River Kwai, however I changed my mind and decided instead to tell a soldiers incredible story. That soldier is my late uncle Allan Herd, the toughest bravest man I ever knew. Sadly Allan passed away aged 95 on July 8th 2012, after all he had endured in his life we all knew he wouldn’t last too long after losing Marie, his loving wife in September 2011.
Allan Herd 1940.
One soldier’s incredible story
Members of my family experienced the horrors of war, Dad was in Darwin when it was bombed, Uncle Nug (Arthur Tippett) was on the Kokoda trail, Pop Tippett (Samuel John Tippett) was at Gallipoli, and among other things was blind for three months from the effects of mustard gas. Consequently growing up in such a family gave me a great appreciation of the huge sacrifices and tragedies these wars bestowed upon the people in our country.
However no story I have ever heard comes close to the one I want to now make you aware of. Allan Herd was a rat of Tobruk fighting in Syria and Lebanon before making a last minute escape at Suez, he vividly remembers seeing all their baggage and equipment left abandoned on the dock as they fled on board a troop ship and headed for the Philippines.
He remembers cheating death many times, starting in the middle east when travelling in a convoy of trucks enemy machine gunners fired over their heads for some unknown reason instead of firing straight at them at point blank range. He also spent three days buried in sand in a shallow trench while a fierce sandstorm raged over and around him.
They left Suez for Colombo and then headed for Java where they were put ashore in with only one weapon to each 3 men or so. All their kit and weapons had been loaded onto another ship in Suez and eventually arrived back in Australia. “Black Force” as it was known, named after the CO Brigadier Arthur Blackburn VC, fought for about 3 weeks before they surrendered to the Japanese. They were held in Jakarta before being shipped to Changi.
Allan was one of 1200 troops who were transported on what he describes as “the ship from hell” which was actually bombed by American Liberators, setting the ship on fire, the guys who ended up overboard remember the sea being alive with snakes.
Allan is very critical of our Generals inability to make sound decisions before they were captured while the ship was docked in Java. Most of the time he spent in the sick bay suffering from Malaria.
The next stop in his incredible saga is a couple of years working on the Burma railway, and some of his classic comments will stick with me forever, Allan said;
“Those Pommies had no stamina, they started dying within a week”
He also said; “The guards were Korean, they were the worst torturers in the world, and the biggest cowards.” “After one bashing from a Korean guard he put his rifle to my head and started to pull the trigger, I didn’t react because by that time I had no fear of death”
When I asked Allan about the food he said “the food was ok, moldy rice and meat, the only problem was the meat came in the form of maggots.”
He tells how they were given a daily quota of so many meters of track to be laid, the teams started at around 50 prisoners, however as they died or were killed by the guards the quotas were never reduced, they simply had to stay on the job longer.
Allan told me “by now you are in a zone and you act just like a robot”, perhaps that explains why he had no fear of death however his words may well describe it differently.
The Japanese then chose the fittest 500 prisoners to be transported to Japan to work the mines, and naturally Allan was one of those picked. As Singapore was under blockade they squeezed them into rail cars and sent them to Saigon in 40 degree + heat, they were packed so tightly that anyone who collapsed still remained upright. Upon arriving at Saigon they found that port under siege as well so they were turned around and sent back to Singapore where they were eventually put on a ship for Japan.
His home for the next year or two he calls “the camp of the sadists,” can you imagine what he endured there? He remembers working the mines in the middle of winter without any clothes. I once again asked about the food and he said there was no more rice on the menu only millet, a couple of times a day seven days a week. For those who are not familiar with millet, it is basically birdseed.
My question is how much can any man tolerate? As far as I’m concerned my Uncle is the toughest man I have ever known and ever will know. What do you think?
Finally the guards abandoned the camp leaving them with no food etc. they had no way of knowing Hiroshima had been bombed, then three days later they were spotted by an American aircraft, rescued and sent by train to Nagasaki where they saw the smoking ruins of the city before being put on another ship bound for the Philippines.
I keep getting flashbacks as I am writing, Allan was the second eldest of a large family, 4 girls & 3 boys raised in Norval St Auburn in Sydney Australia, and during the great depression he scored a job somewhere in the city where he worked for almost nothing, consequently he did not have the funds to pay for the train so he simply ran the 15 miles to and from work, rain hail or shine.
Any mistakes in the above story about Allan’s experiences are mine, however I am so glad I had the pleasure of him personally relating to me his incredible tale. My note taking leaves a bit to be desired so I may have certain facts out of sequence. When you read his story you will understand the meaning behind his poignant poem;
For when the Gates of Heaven I reach,
To Saint Peter I will tell;
A survivor of Blackforce reporting sir,
For I have served my time in hell.
Allan & his wife Marie in 1982, when he wrote his incredible soldier’s story.
It is Christmas of 1982 and I cannot help but look back to a Christmas of 1944 when a party of about 500 men were about to be taken on a journey inside the gates of Hell and those that survived would be blessed with a second life, a miracle from Almighty God that is granted to so very few.
Among those to receive such a blessing was George Scott of the 2/6th Field Coy. Royal Australian Engineers of the 7th Division.
Fate was to throw George and myself together for over five years, one always in the shadow of the other, for where I was, so was he.
My name is Allan Herd. My regimental No. was NX 25438. My Japanese P.O.W. No. was 1444 (Sen Yon Harku Yon Ju Yon).
It was my great fortune to be a member of the 2/6th Field Coy. Royal Australian Engineers of the 7th Division, a wonderful trained company of men, who were sincere and honest in their aim to carry out their duty to the full limit of their ability and endurance for their country in its hour of need.
It was at Ingleburn, when the Company was being formed, that I first met George, a tall, lithe and very brown skinned young recruit, who hailed from a suburb of Sydney abounded by beaches, so one could – using 1982 slang say that George was a surfie – a good sportsman and a man who loved life.
On fulfilment of its training, the 2/6th Field Coy. Embarked on the liner, Queen Mary, in October, 1940 and sailed under convoy with the other super liners, the Mauritania and Aquitania.
We disembarked at Bombay in India, where we went into camp on the outskirts of the city, while preparations were being made to form another convoy, for at that time, the huge liners we travelled on were considered to be at too much risk to proceed closer to the Suez Canal.
On the formation of the convey, we embarked on the Dutch ship, Slamat and reached the Suez Canal without incident.
We disembarked at Port Tewfick, then travelled overland to Quastina in Palestine, which camp was the Engineers training camp for the A.I.F.
After several months of training at Quastina and the bridging school at Haifa, the Company with C.R.E. Headquarters, moved out over the Siniai Desert to the canal, thence crossed into Egypt. From there, we tailed the 6th Division in the big drive into Libya, the Company now being under British command as corp engineers to the British Army.
Two of our men won the George cross in Tobruk for heroism in saving an ammunition ship.
We mined the nerve spots of the town of Bengazzi and just got out before the Germans attacked. We by-passed Tobruk and reached Mersa Matruh, being very fortunate to miss any air attacks on the way and Tobruk was surrounded the next day, so we were fortunate we were not caught in the long siege. We were then put on orders to sail for Greece, but this was cancelled only hours before we were to leave.
Then tragedy struck the Company when a mine field blew up while the men were laying the mines in rows, one accidentally exploded and the rocky nature of the terrain and the highly sensitive anti-personnel mines, the whole field went up and the Company suffered bad casualties.
We left the desert after some months and rejoined the 7th Division and moved up to the Syrian border in preparation to invade both Syria and Lebanon, which, being under Vichy French, posed a threat to the British army in Palestine and the Suez Canal.
Again the Company fought hard and well and at a successful conclusion some weeks later, had won more than its share of bottle honours, though it suffered heavy in casualties, losing some of its best men.
After being snowed in in the mountains of Lebanon for Christmas of 1941, we were ordered back to Quastina in Palestine and our places were taken by 9th Division Engineers.
We were told we were chosen for a job and moved out over the Siniai Desert, back to the Canal and embarked on the Orcades, which left in such a hurry that our arms and gear were left behind with our baggage party. The ship ran unescorted on her own and reached Colombo at dusk one evening, with the news that Singapore had fallen to the advancing Japanese.
We left in the small hours of the morning and rendezvoused with a Dutch destroyer which escorted us to the port of Oosthaven in Sumatra, where we went ashore, poorly armed with ship carbines – one to one man in five, with a few rounds of ammunition. Our job was to destroy the oil wells, but we were too late, as the Japanese had landed and were already in control of the wells. We went back on board the Orcades and sailed to Tilijap, the port of Batavia in Java.
We were ordered ashore by General Wavell, though there was a lot of hostility by the Dutch, who did not want to fight, as they wished to declare their cities open and thought the Japanese would just let them carry on as usual under Japanese administration as in French Indo China.
We landed as Black Force, being under Command of Brigadier Blackburn V.C. of the 2/3rd Machine Gun battalion – without a machine gun – and the 2/2nd Pioneers, plus a small transport and medical group – all told approximately 2,500 men.
We were the bait – the sacrifice to mislead the Japanese into thinking that the 6th and 7th Divisions had landed – and to this small force fell the glory of standing on the Field of Honour – the last thin line of defence before Australian territory.
After a period of small, sharp clashes with the oncoming Japanese, we were ordered to withdraw and retreated to the other side of the Island. Under pressure from both the Dutch and Japanese, the force was forced to surrender, which was done with great bitterness, for after destroying our arms and ammunition, the men were rounded up and put in a Dutch jail. Nobody, except those that have experienced the terrible shame and disgrace and shock that comes to a proud Company of fighting men that are forced to surrender when they have been prepared to fight to the end, will ever know the trauma and gut wrench it is to a soldier, who will never forget for the rest of his days. To be betrayed and abandoned by their country as the men of the Black Force were, will be a black mark on Australia and her people forever – no matter how much they hide and keep quiet about Java, the truth will come out.
After about four months in Bicycle Camp (a Dutch barracks) in Batavia, we were put on a hell Ship and taken to Singapore and linked up with the 8th Division and British Forces, who were in the Changi area.
After a while, the Japanese took about 2,000 of us, being 1,000 Australian and Americans from Java and 1,000 Dutch and Indonesian army personnel, to the port of Penang in Malaya and there we embarked on two Hell Ships, escorted by an armed minesweeper and set sail for Moulamein, a sea port in Burma.
While in the Bay of Bengal, the ships were attacked by two Liberator bombers, operating from India. The Dutch prisoners’ ship was sunk immediately and our ship was on fire from near misses, but we survived as the planes ran out of bombs and ammunition and turned back to their base.
Australian Sailors (survivors of H.M.A.S. Perth) and American sailors (U.S.S. Houston) put out the fires, but there was no way of escaping with the ship to India. Casualties were pretty light among the prisoners, considering the circumstances, but the Japanese were very hostile towards us and refused any medical help to the wounded, some of whom died from gangrene as a result.
We landed in Moulamein and were promptly put in a native jail and after several days, we marched out to Kilo 18 to begin our first leg of the Burma Railroad of Death, where we were to toil and die through virgin jungle for nearly two years, until we linked up with the parties working from the Thailand (Siam) end.
We slaved and died from Kilo 17 to 55 to 75 to 105 Kilo and the jungle cemeteries were littered with hundreds of white crosses, that even the Japanese Officers and commanders became alarmed and sent sick men to die in other places so the cemeteries would not be so big, for they must have felt the noose around their necks should they lose the war. Through two wet seasons when cholera wiped out all native slave labour and a large number of prisoners – our immunization saved us from a terrible death and the Japanese and Korean guards lived in terror of this disease, for they feared it more than anything else.
During the wet season, in which it rains for over three months non stop, with an average fall of 400 inches, we worked and starved under atrocious conditions, everything rotted, including the human body and Mother Nature added to our misery with sand flies and every other affliction of disease and pain and torment that one could ever devise.
After completion of the line, the Japanese took survivors to a camp at Tamarkham in Thailand, where they had promised us good food and rest to bring us back to health again and to treat us better, for the survivors of the line had reached the Gates of Hell – conditions such that it was almost impossible for the human body to survive.
Such for Japanese promises, for after a few short weeks, they took about 1,000 of what was considered the fittest men and under a Brigadier Varley of the 8th Division, they set out to try and get us to Japan.
They put us in cattle trucks, jammed in tight like sardines in a tin and set off on a nightmare journey to Saigon in Indo-China, for at that time, American submarines had Singapore harbour bottled up. We travelled for some days, till we reached the Mekong River, where we embarked on a ship and travelled toPhnom Phen in Cambodia, thence to Saigon. After spending several months in Saigon, working on the docks and aerodromes, the Japanese started to take us back again as they could not get across from Saigon to Japan because of Allied submarines.
So we commenced the long arduous journey back, but this time it went right through to Singapore, where we were put in a Ghurkha camp in River Valley Road. We were split up into kumi of approximately 200 men each – our kumi being No. 40. After about a month, the Japanese embarked about 2,000 English and Australian under Brigadier Varley and set off for Japan.
They never reached their destination, being torpedoed by American submarine Barb – Queenfish – Pampanito – Sealion and less than 300 were to survive.
The full account of this hell at seas can be read in the book “Return from the River Kwai” and every man, woman and child in this country should read this book and learn to think and to thank God that there were born men like these.
We knew back in Singapore that the ships had been sunk, but did not know of any survivors and the 2/6th Field Company had about 11 of its men aboard the ships and only one survived, he being washed up miraculously on the China Coast.
After about four months or so, working around Singapore docks and aerodrome, we kumi 40 began to think that we would not be going to Japan, but just on Christmas of 1944, we were ordered to embark and so began our journey through the gates of hell itself.
We went aboard a fairly modern Japanese passenger-cargo ship on a hot day and were immediately all crammed into a steel hold with only one door entrance which was locked behind us.
In terrible temperatures, crammed shoulder to shoulder so as when men passed out, they could not fall, the Japanese kept us there for what seemed hours and when they opened the door to pass the unconscious men out, they told us that this was a warning to behave ourselves on the journey. There must have been 2” of perspiration on the floor of that hold and the stench became unbearable as the day wore on.
The convoy of ships ran under guard of what would have been the last of Japan’s mighty navy and maritime fleet – being just a handful of ships. We were lucky, for the Americans had withdrawn their submarines for the attack on the Philippines and though we hugged the China coast for safety.
As the ships neared the Japanese southern most island of Kyushu, the weather had been getting colder and colder till we reached the port of Mogi in blinding snow. After being in tropical and hot countries for nearly five years and with no body fat or clothes, we now faced the terrible fate of freezing to death and that is when nature did what the Japanese could not do – she commenced to break the spirit and determination of the men to survive – for when you freeze day after day, that is when you wish for death.
We were taken by train at night, overland to the coal mining town of Ometu in Fukuoka Prefecture. There we were put in fairly good barracks and issued with some clothing and a blanket, but it was freezing cold with three or four inches of ice under foot and sleet ice blowing over the ocean cliff into the camp for 24 hours a day, week in and week out. God had forgotten this place on earth, for just to see it was to know death. There was no grass, no birds, just nothing, as there were zinc works nearby and everything had been killed by the fumes from these works.
The camp was built on the cliff edge with electric wires and sentry boxes all round and the sleet and ice drove in from the ocean and for sheer desolation and isolation, this camp must have been Satan’s own.
The camp Commander and N.C.O.’s were Japanese and the guards also and they would have been the most cruel and sadistic you could ever find, for they revelled in torture and death was metered out for the most trivial things, that the average person in Australia cannot comprehend and does not believe.
After the Japanese, the camp was controlled by the Americans who had been there for some time, being survivors of the Philippines campaign at Bataan and Corrigidor. Outside of a small minority, the bulk of them were the lowest form of white men you could find – treacherous racketeers, no mates as we know mates and I found that the Americans cannot take adversity and become like animals in their bid to survive. The camp was full of them with one arm or one leg missing and it appears, to get out of the coal mines, they would put their arms or legs under the coal skiffs or trucks and risk the survival shock, but in the weakened conditions of the men, many must have died taking the chance.
We were given a weeks training in the bitter cold on some coal heaps and then graded into our working party of which George and I drew the Jackpot – the hardest of all Saitan – the work of a fully fledged miner – to work the coal faces both large and small in broken shifts of approximately 12 hours each shift. Every man had a quota of trucks to fill before he could finish and with the help of his Joe (Guard) it usually took about 12 hours – the last two being when he would be belting and driving you to finish in time.
The mine was about one kilometre from the camp and when counted and checked out from the Guard House, you would march to the mine, be taken to a room where you changed into a G-string or shorts – a miner’s lamp with a battery nestling down the small of the back and cap with lamp being your working outfit. Then you would be allotted to your Joe and you might be on a large face of 20 to 30 men or a small face of 4 to 6 men.
He would take you across the ice to a large building where, on entering, you would see a huge idol of a miner. There your Joe would bow and pray and you had to follow what he did as he prayed for safety and to return out of hell each shift. It was the biggest and oldest coal mine in Japan and ran for miles under the ocean bed and death would reap a bountiful harvest there amongst Koreans, Japanese and prisoners.
This mine was to collapse in the late 1950’s with great loss of life, but it was no shock to us, as we expected it to go any time when we were underground.
I will not tell of the horrible torture, of death and sadism practised by the guards and the Jap Commandant, for this is told in books such as “Slaves of the Sun of Heaven”.
Our food was mainly millet, which was like gravel, and passed through your body within hours of eating and hunger was worse than ever, as the work and freezing cold made terrible demands on our bodies. Men’s lungs collapsed from the terrible cold and they died in agony for there was nothing one could do. By now a terrible change had come over the men. There were no more jokes or horse play, which is part and parcel of an Australian. No more laughter for under the 24 hour shifts, men were divided and as we came stumbling back from the mines, a new shift was leaving, so you never saw or spoke to any other party except the men in your own group and after a while, you did not even speak, only snarled for the terrible cold and starvation and work had now broken us down and we knew we were doomed and death would be a welcome release.
The weeks dragged on slowly and the work seemed to get harder in the mines, and one day in the mines was equal to 10 days work on the Burma Railway, but they continued to drive us harder as they wanted greater effort for their war effort.
Then suddenly a change started slowly to appear in the form of planes and air raid warnings and we now got less sleep after returning from our shift, as the guards would go berserk whenever the air raid siren went and drive us down into the underground shelters which were cold and damp. One night, with a gale blowing over the cliffs from the ocean, the sirens went and after reaching the shelters, we could hear the planes as they passed overhead, followed by a swishing sound, but no explosion, and this went on for hours. Word came from those nearest the entrance that the planes were dropping incendiaries and when it was all over, we emerged to find about one quarter of the camp burnt out, but as expected, no damage to the mine.
In the next few days, the Japanese collected thousands of unexploded incendiaries, all over the country side and as we would go to work, we would pass huge stacks of them by the road.
I had been on light duties in the camp for about a week, as I was too sick to go down the mine and I knew my days were numbered, for I was living in another world, the twilight world where there was no hate, no fear of death, no wanting to come home, only a peace that is so complete it cannot be described.
Then they came, on a bright clear day – thousands of bombers and fighters that the sky was black with them and the ground and building shock as if in an earthquake and we did not get to the shelters, when the fighter escorts dived down over our heads so low, they skimmed the roof of the huts, but they spared us for they must have realised we were prisoners.
A few days later, no shifts went to the mines and all the Japanese would say was that it was a holiday, but it carried on and then we realised the war was over.
So terrible had been the suffering, so far gone were the men, so exhausted and spent, that when it was realised that the war was over, there was not one cheer – not any laughter – just nothing and if anybody said anything, he was snarled at and abused. It would be hard to comprehend that that could be a fact, but before God, I swear it is the truth.
The Japanese just disappeared about a week after the work stopped and left us to starve. We were found by American War Correspondents, who parachuted into the camp and with their radio in touch with Macarthur’s Headquarters, bombers were flown in with food to be dropped into the camp.
The Americans in the camp had now assumed full control and started to get things done in a more orderly fashion. After about four weeks, we were told that all Australians were to be moved out that night by train fro Nagasaki.
We boarded the train and after stopping and starting, all night long, we came into the valley of death, which was the site of the city of Nagasaki.
The atom bomb meant nothing to us, as we had not heard of or knew anything about it, but if the human race could only see the desolation and destruction as we had seen it, there would be no more wars.
The train crawled slowly through this holocaust – hour after hour – and the destruction was complete. No life, be it human, bird, insect, just nothing.
The only thing that was left was a wharf on the bay and here the train pulled in to several brass bands playing and American men and women in uniform, cheering and whistling. They passed us coffee and donuts through the windows of the carriages, but kept well back and did not touch us or shake our hands.
They had been instructed not to show any feeling or say anything, for we were not human to look at, being more animal and being lousy with lice and coal dust ground into our shaven scalps and our eyes and our staved bodies in rags.
After being de-loused through the showers on the wharf, with plenty of detergents thrown over us – all we possessed was destroyed, except personal photographs if any, and we then passed through a double line of doctors – then issued with pyjamas and ships slippers and put aboard the American Hospital Ship U.S.S. HAVEN, a name so appropriate, after all the suffering, that God had granted us survivors a second life.
The survivors of the 2/6th Field Company – George and his mates – never betrayed or lost their loyalty and love for their country.
I wonder how much can be said for the people of this country today, who have betrayed these men with their greed and selfishness, whose God is the “Car” and “Money” and “I’m all right Jack” attitude, who have never known or tried to understand the suffering and problems of the men who came back from the dead.
Not all people are in this category, but they are in the minority, for the knocker, the shrewd and the power hungry reign supreme and the lie has taken over from the truth and Christian morals have been thrown out of the door.
To us that returned, comes the question – was it worth it?
I let the people of Australia supply the answer, for they have to answer the Judgement.
ALLAN HERD – NX25438
Sen Yon Harku Yon Ju Yon
For when the Gates of Heaven I reach,
To Saint Peter I will tell;
A survivor of Blackforce reporting sir,
For I have served my time in hell.
After about a week aboard the hospital ship U.S.S. HAVEN, in Nagasaki Harbour where she was moored as a base hospital, I decided to try and leave the ship, so I approached the Executive Officer with my request and was promptly refused on the grounds of my fitness and emaciated condition.
However I persevered with my request and eventually about 3 days later it was granted, providing I sign an agreement absolving them of any liability or blame.
I was outfitted in an American G.I. uniform and embarked aboard an auxiliary aircraft carrier and with about 30 other P.O.W.’s of various nationalities we set sail for Okinawa.
After about 4 days at sea we reached Okinawa about midday, on a beautiful clear and sunny day, and as far as the eye could see there was literally speaking thousands of ships of all sizes, from the largest of battleships to the smallest tugs all at anchor there.
We went ashore and were put in tents, being under the jurisdiction and care of the Red Cross, and were looked after until arrangements were made to fly us into Manila in the Philippines. At Okinawa there was still fighting going on among small pockets of Japanese who would not believe that Japan had surrendered.
About a week or so later my name was called out and I was on my way to Manila aboard a Dakota Transport plane of the U.S.A. Air Force and although I had been issued with 3 blankets for the flight, it was very cold and rough throughout the flight.
The Australian Staging Camp was large and well laid out, the tents were comfortable and everything was done by the Americans to make our stay as comfortable as could be. We were never allowed out of the camp, being guarded by American Troops, for in our mental and physical condition it was done for our own protection.
After several weeks the Australian reception group arrived to check on our Bon Fides etc, and then to put us back on strength with the A.I.F. and better still on the payroll.
It was here in the camp that all the trauma, stress and suffering that had been bottled up for years, came out in the form of the most terrible nightmares one could ever experience, and by the talk of our American guards next day they must have thought that war had broken out again.
After about 3 weeks or so, my turn to move on came again and this time I went aboard an R.A.A.F. Flying Boat, a Catalina, and after flying low over the ocean all day we arrived at the Australian held Morotai Island, and it was there that the canteen gave me my first time of Australian ready rubbed tobacco in over 3½ years, something I never ever expected to see again.
The next day we took off in the Catalina on our last leg to Australia. After flying most of the day we arrived in Darwin, and when I stepped on to the wharf the tears started to flow and I fell down and kissed the earth, for it was not the fear of death, for literally we had died many times, but the fear of being buried in a foreign land that haunted us most.
I was taken to Darwin Hospital and checked over the next day, then back to an Army camp and looked after, but never allowed out.
About a week later I was given 3 blankets and put aboard a Liberator Bomber, being domiciled in the bomb bay and we took off for Sydney, flying as low as possible, because at height we would freeze to death as there is no conditioning in the bomb bay for personnel.
Because of having to fly so low, it caused a serious accident, as an eagle flew into one of the engines, smashing it and the propeller, at that time we were over the Northern Territory 6, but continued on under the three remaining motors.
We reached Mascot Aerodrome around 6pm that night in very bad weather, but once we touched down on the ground nobody cared, for after five years overseas we were home.
God had been our pilot and brought us home and had granted us a second life, a blessing granted to so few.
In five years of war I had only two days and three night’s leave, that being in Alexandria (Egypt) where I was given leave from Mersa Matru in the desert.
The Kanchanaburi War Cemetery (known locally as the Don-Rak War Cemetery) is the main Prisoner of War (POW) cemetery associated with victims of the Burma Railway. It is located on the main road (Saeng Chuto Road) through the town of Kanchanaburi, Thailand, adjacent to an older Chinese cemetery.
It was designed by Colin St Clair Oakes and is maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. There are 6,982 former POWs buried there, mostly Australian, British and Dutch. It contains the remains of prisoners buried beside the south section of the railway from Bangkok to Nieke apart from those identified as Americans, whose remains were repatriated.
There are 1,896 Dutch war graves, the rest being from Britain and the Commonwealth. Two graves contain the ashes of 300 men who were cremated. The Kanchanaburi Memorial gives the names of 11 from India who are buried in Muslim cemeteries. Close by (across a side road) is the Thailand–Burma Railway Museum about the railway and the prisoners who built it.
My brother Warren coming out of the tower.
The famous bridge.
Everyone one of them could kill.
Port Macquarie August 2010
I travelled to Port Macquarie with my brother Ian to visit Allan & Marie along with our brother Warren who also lived in Port. Our purpose was to present Allan with the Herd family history book that I had recently compiled.
Allan was a great story teller.
Allan was still sharp as a tack aged 93 and loved to tell us tales about his incredible WW2 experiences.
Warren and Auntie Marie
Sadly both Allan and Marie would pass away within the next 2 years. However knowing Allan he would have certainly mentioned how upon his return to Australia after the war that doctors told him it would be highly unlikely he would live past 60 because of what he had been subjected to. His classic sense of humour would have kicked in and I can guess he would have said “bloody doctors, what the hell would they know”. 🙂
Warren, Allan and Ian.
Allan was always coming out with a humorous observation, he told us that a couple of days ago he took a fall climbing the front stairs to enter his home. Luckily he was not hurt, however he was quick to name the incident his “leap of death”. As I said previously, 93 years of age and sharp as a tack. I hope you have enjoyed this one soldiers incredible story, I would love to see it made into a book or a movie one day.
RIP Allan and Marie.
Alan passed away on July 8 2012, although this video is American it also applies to Allan & other brave soldiers.
Just A Common Soldier
This video is unrelated to Allan’s story, except for the fact it shows the courage of other brave soldiers as they face an amazing Japanese Kamikaze attack.
Camera Footage of Kamikaze Attack in 1945
I realise this video depicts a different part of the world than where Allan fought, however in my opinion it is a great marching tune and always reminds me of the many brave men to who we owe so much.
Another great Australian song about the suffering & futility of war.
Thanks for visiting my One soldier’s incredible story photo blog.
Nathan Corbett 11 times world champion in Muay Thai is in Pattaya Thailand training for his Chicago fight which was on October 12 2013. You can watch a replay at the end of this post. His next event is December 14 at the gold Coast Convention centre.
Nathan has held 11 World Champion titles in three different weight divisions, not only is he a champion fighter he is a very nice person. Here are some photos of Nathan training and relaxing with some of his friends in Pattaya.
Nathan trains at Fairtex, the best gym in Pattaya. Part of the complex is a nice hotel, very good rates if you book here.
Nathan Corbett’s final training session in Thailand in July 2013
Here are some more photos of Nathan & friends, below everyone is enjoying the sunset at the Beach Club at the Pullman Hotel. Nathan stays at the Amari hotel with great ocean views when he is in Pattaya.
The Beach Club in Wangamat.
Take a look at Nathan training in Pattaya just click here. Here is another short video, please click here. After 2 weeks training Nathan was looking a lot sharper, click here.
We all all in shock this week to learn that his great little sparring partner Dang died in his sleep on Monday July the 28th, RIP Dang you will be missed by many friends.
Nathan is coming back to Pattaya to continue his training on August 24. Once again Brendan Daly GM at the Amari hotel is making sure Nathan enjoys his stay by giving him a room with a view over the ocean, my thanks once again to Brendan for looking after my friends. Sadly tough little Dang won’t be training with Nathan this time, RIP.
Sparing with Dang
Please play the song below while you are reading about Nathan.
Nathan takes on the Pork Knuckle, what a challenge. 😆
Nathan arrived back in Pattaya August 24th to continue his training, here he is doing battle with the huge pork knuckle at the Beerfest restaurant in 2nd rd Pattaya. The Pork knuckle won by a narrow margin, possibly because of the chicken kebab Nathan demolished 30 minutes prior to this bout at the Cherry Bar.
Sunday brunch at the Mantra.
The Mantra in Pattaya is part of the Amari Hotel and is our favorite restaurant. Here is Vetea Tiare & David Herd with Nathan at the Sunday brunch on 1-9-2013.
The Mantra restaurant.
Nathan always stays at the Amari Hotelin Pattaya, above is the General Manager Brendan Daly and his lovely daughter Hannah, Brendan always ensures Nathan has a memorable stay at his wonderful hotel.
Only good thing that came out of getting my ear half ripped off was being in the same hospital as Tyrone hanging out at 3 am after I travelled around Istanbul to 3 different hospitals to find a plastic surgeon that could stitch it back together!!
Not a good night for the both of us I guess!! Hope his leg heals fast and well
Both fighters wound up in hospital, a tough way to make a living.