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Community

We were friendly with the neighbours. I used to walk the two miles to Williamstown public school with the local kids, unless someone was going that way and we’d get a ride in a car. The school had about forty kids and two teachers. I did OK at school, maths was my best subject and English my worst. The teachers were always quick to discipline and I often got the cane for minor infractions of talking or inattention. I enjoyed most sport and played hockey at a very high level. I was unable to play league because I was too big, I had reached my full height by about 13 years old. I left school at 15 years old to start a carpenter and joiner apprenticeship.

My apprenticeship was with Sam, the boss of a local building business. It was many miles from my house, so I used to bike there. Work hours were from 7.30am to 4pm, so I didn’t have to do the morning milk anymore, but I had to help with the afternoon one once I got home from work. I enjoyed the work and stayed there for four and half years before I went to National service.

My apprenticeship was with Sam, the boss of a local building business. It was many miles from my house, so I used to bike there. Work hours were from 7.30am to 4pm,

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so I didn’t have to do the morning milk anymore, but I had to help with the afternoon one once I got home from work. I enjoyed the work and stayed there for four and half years before I went to National service.

I did National service at the Williamstown barracks, just up the road from my house, for six months. I stayed at the barracks and enjoyed the training, although I didn’t learn anything I didn’t already know. After National service I got a job as a carpenter for a power station in Newcastle and worked there for 8 years.

I used to go to the local dances to socialise and meet girls. In those days we didn’t worry about drinking and driving, and when I get pulled over at random breath stops now I tell the police they are about sixty years too late. One day I went to my friend’s house at Stockton, before going to a dance, and I met a girl who was visiting from Sydney, her name was Mary Budwee.

Mary was from a Lebanese family who had immigrated to Australia in the early 1900’s, when Lebanon was going through a civil war. Apparently the family patriarch was a wealthy merchant, who was well travelled, and he decided to move the family out of Lebanon and all the civil war trouble, so half the family went to the Providence area of North America and the other half came to Australia. I invited Mary to the dance and we started