B&A Technologies for Russ Morgan. Copyright © 2022.
On the day when I came to you with my bicycle, the one with its frame bent to the point where its wheels could not turn because someone had backed their car into it while I was at the Saturday afternoon movies, on that day when you came out of your shop saying ‘What’s the matter mate?’ took the bike, studied the problem, put it on the ground and then stood on it with your full weight to perform a miracle before my eyes that allowed the wheels to turn again, on that day …did you hold in your head and your heart the time you were gassed in the trenches in Flanders?
On that day, when you took my precious bike in your strong hands and performed your miracle were you able to remember another day long before I was born when you joined up, at the age of 20, to fight for your country and were assigned to ‘C’ company of the 41st Infantry Battalion of the Australian Imperial Force on January 3rd 1916? Could you recall how proud you were, Private William James Clifford, with your young mates, lining up your field equipment for inspection in Bells Field in Brisbane before boarding the HMAT Demosthenes in Sydney in May to sail for Europe?
And when I told you nearly half a century later that I was learning German and you let fly with a string of words you had picked up while guarding POWs, why did you laugh out loud and shake your head when I wanted you to repeat them so that I could write them down and discuss them with my teacher?
And were those lines on your kindly face deepened with the arrival of another war and the news that your son, my Uncle Bert, had been in Singapore when it fell and was being held in Changii? And were there tears when you received a letter from him written just before the fall telling you and Nana how well things were going?
And why were you never among the men in blue surge suits bedecked in medals who marched through the streets of Innisfail, our home town, on Anzac day? Did it have something to do with the time my Uncle Bill took you to the War Memorial in Canberra, to the realistically reconstructed trenches of your war and you lasted only a few minutes before you broke down and had to be helped out?
And did you know how proud I was, how proud we all were when they draped your coffin in the Australian flag as we said our last farewells?
These thoughts roll through my head as I watch my grandchildren, answer their questions and hope for the same grace my grandfather had....
Russ' Writings from the Wet Tropics
The wet tropics of Far North Queensland is a place of enormous natural beauty with World Heritage listed rain forests sweeping down to meet the sea. And it embraces one of the great wonders of the world -- the Great Barrier Reef.