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In Sydney, Bill got a job as a representative for Sidney Williams, who made Comet windmills. This involved travelling all around the Riverina to country towns. In April they sent him to Wagga Wagga, but when the war broke out, the firm went onto war production, and the need for travellers was reduced, and he had to cover the whole state. He was issued with a gold rail pass, and was sometimes mistaken for Menzies, the member for Albury, as they both had the same build, and heavy eyebrows. Viola did some casual teaching at Wagga Wagga and Narrandera during the war.

Bill went into the office but he did not like it, so became the hospital secretary in Wilcannia, and studied for Local Government exams. He had done accountancy in his youth which was a help. He was now over fifty, and became first the acting deputy town clerk for Narrandera, his home town then for Albion Park about 1946 and later Kangaroo Valley. In 1954 they were at Nundle where he was shire clerk in their centenary year. Bill had a stroke and had to retire early. In 1959 Vi took him (and Eric took his son Gordon) to a rally by Billy Graham an American evangelist, praying for a cure. Vi and Bill went to live in the Dubbo district where four of their children had settled.

After Bill died in 1960, Viola, the first of the siblings to be widowed, moved to Sydney and spent much of her time visiting her family for extended periods. She was a very sociable person, and was able to smooth out some of the family undercurrents. She got Vern and Viv together after many years of no contact, as their lives had led them in different directions. When Clytie had a stroke, she went to PNG to help. She was a committed Christian, enjoyed good health and good spirits, loved family reunions.

There was a great gathering for her eightieth birthday, attended by Vern, Ida, Charlie, Eric and Peggy most of her living relatives including many grandchildren, great-grandchildren nieces and nephews. It was mainly due to her good memory and her interest, that many of the family stories were passed on. When her son David, went for his pilot's licence, he took his mother with him as his passenger. Always optimistic she never allowed herself to be imposed upon by other people, she dressed in pretty colours and loved life. By 1982, her eighty fifth year, she was the last of the siblings. One morning she was sitting by the telephone, waiting for a call, which she never heard. Her daughter Hazel found her sitting in her rocking chair, bathed and clean with a rug on her knees, her beloved bible by her side and her hands on her lap. Her prayer for a peaceful death was answered.

 

Robert

Robert (Bob) was born at Willoughby, attended The Park School while staying with Granny Smythe, then Rankins Springs school. He began high school at Griffith then boarded with his grandmother in Sydney and attended Fort Street, leaving to become a shipping clerk in 1937. When war was declared he went “Conscientious Objector” because of his strong Christian beliefs and was detailed to hard labour, felling trees in Glen Davis and Portland area. After peace with Japan, Bob went to Brisbane to work, where he met and married Heather Burge. With their daughter Heatherbell, they went to NZ to work and then to England. They had a son Robert Keith, and a daughter Jennifer, born in England and another daughter Roslyn, born in Australia. They had to borrow money to return to Australia, and spent some time at Narromine working off the debt, before going to Beaudesert then Brisbane. Here Bob studied Accountancy, receiving the highest exam results in Queensland despite having four small children at home. After two years in Melbourne where he qualified as a secondary teacher, Bob, Heather and the three youngest children went to India, where Bob taught the children of missionaries. Heather looked after the missionary children as housekeeper and being very musical, she and Keith (as a child soprano) sang duets. Their daughter Jenny contracted a severe disease and the family had to return to Australia. After a period living at "The Haven", their uncle's home, Bob and Heather went to Brazil to do missionary work, and only returned for furloughs, the last one in 1996 culminating in an accident which claimed Bob’s life. Heather remained in Australia and lived in Brisbane, where she enjoyed regular outings with her daughter Roslyn.

Nancy

Nancy was born at Rockdale before her mother joined Bill at Rankins Springs. In 1936 Nancy attended Methodist Ladies College while boarding with Granny Smythe then went to Wagga Wagga High School. She attended Teachers College in Sydney before returning to teach at Wagga Wagga and Whitton for three and a half years. She married Jack Burrell and they lived on a Soldiers Settler’s block at Narromine. Jack became a pastor with the Assemblies of God church in Dubbo and Nancy raised their six boys; David, Bill, John, James, Robert, Christopher. After moving to Tamworth she had her seventh child - her first daughter Lois, followed by another son Ross. The family moved to Ballina where Jack supplemented his work as a pastor by running a sewing-machine shop, combined with a little cottage business making and selling bamboo ware. When her youngest son Ross was at school, Nancy went back to work as a district relief teacher. Jack took up full-time work as a pastor at Rockdale, and Nancy and the two youngest children moved back to Sydney in January 1977. Jack moved to Mudgee a few years later and Nancy transferred to Mudgee Public School and once again became a district relief teacher. Jack died in 1982 and after her retirement from teaching, Nancy spent time with each of her children, as had her mother. She had known her Granny Smythe better than the other grandchildren and recalled many of the stories and anecdotes.

Hazel

Hazel was born at Erigolia Bush Nursing Home and attended Rankins Springs School, then Yoogali (Griffith), Kogarah, Penshurst (where she was “girl captain and dux), St George and Wagga Wagga High Schools. She trained at Prince Henry Hospital and became a nurse. She married John Hind who was a chemical engineer, working as the manager of the gas works at Bega, where their children Timothy (who died), Oliver and Jennifer were born. The family then moved to Dubbo, where Elizabeth was born and the family experienced devastating floods in early 1955. When Oliver was almost four and Jenny two, they were riding their tricycles around the yard, and Oliver bumped the door of a building over a disused well and fell 50 feet into the water below. A workman went to see what Jenny was looking at and raised the alarm. Oliver was clinging to a piece of wood and John was able to climb down and rescue him. In Dubbo they built their own home and later they built a house in Sydney. In time they went their separate ways. Hazel turned her attention to providing a place of refuge for the homeless in a rented house where she says she experienced many miracles.

Colin

Colin was born in Sydney. He attended school at Yoogali, Griffiths, Rankins Springs then Wagga Wagga High School. He was dux of the school and won a scholarship to attend the Croyden Bible College. He then joined his sister Nancy and Jack Burrell on the farm at ‘Fairview’ Narromine. While there he met Teofila Puskarczyk, a Polish girl, taken from her home by Germany in the war to work on a farm, a displaced person after the war. She had a four-year old daughter Helen, whom Colin adopted as his own. Colin had his father's height, but not his build, being more like a "beanpole". Even standing one step above Colin in their wedding photos, Fila barely reached his shoulder. They had three more children, Stephen, Eileen and John before moving to Ulladulla.

Colin was very particular about shoes and would not allow would-be suitors to take Helen to the movies if they did not have proper laces or polished shoes.

When John was two years old his father was working as a linesman and was called out to an emergency early one morning. He was involved in a fatal accident, his life cut short at the age of thirty seven. Fila and the children stayed with various relatives before settling in Wollongong. After a long period without contact with her Polish family, Fila had two holidays back to Poland. She still lives in Wollongong, surrounded by children, grand children and great grand children.

Bill

Bill junior was born at Nurse Armstrong’s Hospital, Ramsgate in 1930. From 1936 to 1946 he attended four infants schools, three primary schools and three high schools. The bulk of his education took place in Wagga Wagga before two years at Wollongong High School where he passed the Leaving Certificate at the age of sixteen years.

After leaving school he left home and went to central Western NSW where he worked initially for Nancy’s husband, Jack Burrell at Narromine and later for one of Jack’s brothers at Gilgandra. He also did some share farming, shearing, wheat grading etc interspersed through this period of about five years.

In 1951 he joined the Water Conservation and Irrigation Commission at Dubbo, being involved in providing logistic support to artesian boring plants.

Bill married Margaret Williams and had five children, Victoria, Mark, Patricia, Rosemary and Andrew. In 1955 he joined the Public Works Department at Dubbo. He remained with PWD until his retirement in 1987, having also worked in Port Kembla, Coffs Harbour, Flemington and several Sydney offices. He currently lives in Stanwell Park NSW, where he enjoys a reputation among his neighbours as a cook, baritone singer and harmonic player. His interests include poetry, good music, photography, target shooting and clever jokes.

David

David, born at Cronulla, went to school at Penshurst, Wagga, Narrandera and Wollongong High, then left at age fifteen to be a farm labourer. After working on Jack Burrell's farm he went to Hawkesbury Agricultural College and after graduation became a soil conservationist.

In his early twenties he switched to a career as a bible translator, first training in theology, ancient Greek and linguistics in Melbourne, then joining the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL). In 1959 he went to New Guinea where he ran a sawmill for SIL, built a vehicle bridge and did a linguistic survey. After two years there he married Kathy Barker from USA and they went to Maningrida, NT, where they lived in a bark hut with the Burarra (Aboriginal) people. They learned and analysed the Burarra language then began to translate and teach people to read their own language.

In 1965, Dave, Kathy and their two children Heather and Kenneth went to Mexico where Dave was further trained in translation techniques and since then has often been asked to be a consultant to other translators. In 1969 he was elected Director of the Australian Aborigines Branch of SIL, so the family, including the latest addition Colin, moved to SIL's centre in Darwin. He had the responsibility of this centre and the fifty or so persons there when cyclone Tracy came for Christmas 1974. Their fourth child, Phillip was just two years old.

While Dave was taken up with administrative matters Kathy continued to work in Burarra, eventually completing translation of the New Testament and publishing an 800 page dictionary.

In his forties Dave trained as a pilot and at one time carried his 80 year old mother as a passenger. At another time he pranged while trying to land on a boggy bush strip; the nose wheel dug in and flipped the plane over on to its back. No one was injured.

Other interesting experiences include living off the land and hunting crocodiles with Aborigines, trying to intervene in spear fights, flying (both as passenger and in command) in remote places and difficult conditions, travelling through outback Australia and in over 20 foreign countries, interacting in a variety of cultures and communicating where there was no common language. In his fifties Dave studied TAFE teaching and again switched careers to become the adult educator at Maningrida, then a lecturer at the NT Open College, then at Batchelor College, training Aborigines. After retirement he volunteered to be a UN accredited Observer for the East Timor referendum and has helped in subsequent aid projects. He now gives consultant help when requested to translators working in Timorese languages.

Keith

Keith, born at home in Griffith, went to school at Wagga Wagga, Narrandera and Albion Park, high school at Wollongong, and after his parents moved to Nundle to Tamworth High School by bus. Training to be an electrician for Lawrence and Hansen in Tamworth when his father died, he gave up his apprenticeship and decided to go to Cairns, where among other things he did some crocodile shooting and deep sea trawling for mackerel. He married Evie Evans in 1965 and lived in Sydney where their three children Tom, Pamela and Leona were born. He was a family man who enjoyed reading, writing, listening to classical music and watching rugby league. At this time he worked as a technician for Rank Xerox and studied theology gaining his degree. In 1980 the family moved to Adelaide where Keith and Evie could provide a better lifestyle for their teenage children. A funny humorous person, he is fondly remembered as "The old Unc" by many of his nieces and nephews. Keith's personality could be summed up as an earthy Australian character which often belied the thoughtful and intelligent man he was. At the time of his death from kidney failure in 1988 he was surrounded by family and loved ones. At present Evie is living in Adelaide, enjoying her role as grandmother and uses her musical talents playing accordion, organ and piano to amuse the children.

 

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