Sunday, April 24, 2011

ANZAC Day ~ Remembering growing up ARMY

 This is my Dad in his Major's Uniform and below are photos of him marching. I along with my three much older brothers had an Army childhood in the 1970's and 1980's. This is something I particularly remember on Anzac day and I remember all those families we met as we moved from base to base around Australia.
 We felt we were special...we weren't civilian...we were ARMY. We lived in small communities, where nearly everything we needed was on base. The medical centre, was on base, the movies, were on base, the kindy, the pool, ballet lessons and so on. Our friends houses were almost mirror images of our own. We never had to ask where the toilet was, ha. When the school bus broke down, which was regularly, we went to school in Army trucks, the kind with a canvas roof. You had to cling on for dear life and I was terrified of having to sit near the open back. When we lived on Canungra Barracks for four years our house backed onto the Golf Course which had a river that meandered through it. You crossed the river in one spot via rope and timber foot bridge, very Indiana Jones and very scary for a little girl whose brothers were wont to rock it.  We Collins children also found a more inventive way to get to the otherside.
This was our raft. My mother hated me going on it, I think my brothers hated me going on it too because I was younger and they had to be "responsible". Canungra is home to some of the most deadly snakes on the planet. I look back and wonder how no one was ever bitten. On the other side of the river the men used to "play" war. We would often collect the empty bullet shells. I still love the sound of chinooks. Tomorrow morning 3 of my neices, Maddie, Mary and Lily and I going to the dawn service in the city. We are catching the 3.20 am train from Manly. Ugh ! We are meeting their Uncle, Mr Rooney. Yes the same Mr Rooney of Fun and VJ's fame.  My brother Jon, who is their Dad, and is pictured seated in the red shirt, met his wife Julie at Canungra when they were in Grade 5. Julie's family were posted at Canungra at the same time as us. Their Dad was part of the highly decorated Australian military unit, The Vietnam Training Team.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning we will remember them, Lest we Forget. 


  1. Your Dad looks extremely smart in his uniform. I bet you were, and still are, proud of what he did as a career. And I guess it wasn't just him in the Army, it was the whole family.

    I hope you have a special day with your nieces ... it's important children are reminded of the sacrifices the generations ahead have made for us all. I think I've mentioned the book, "All Quiet on the Western Front". War. So tragic.

  2. Beautiful memories Katherine. I've heard so much about your Dad from Mr Rooney - it is nice to see a photo of him. Attending the dawn service with your nieces is a very special thing.

    That raft is something else. No wonder your Mum was concerned!

    And yes, we'll be special guests at the park too. Hope you had a lovely Easter. xx

  3. Lest We Forget

    Hi dear Katherine.. Thanks for sharing your dear memories with us..
    I was brought up in an RSL family .. [not sure if that is a good thing.. ha] dad was Air Force in WWII .. and we attended local RSL marches every Anzac Day brother played the kettle drums in the brass & pipe band.. and later was Reserve Army.. and my godfather was career army and I often stayed on base when visiting them.. Your photos bring back many memories for me...

    You know I've never been to the Dawn Service in the city [Sydney]...One of these years.. Anzac Day has many memories for me as my mum's birthday was April 26... so the celebrations somehow were all tied in together.. Strange memories..

    So on a lighter note.. thanks for you hilarious comment.. I really loved it.. cheered my day no end.. especially the last!!! So.. get some sleep you'll be up early!!!

    ciao ciao xxx Julie

  4. oops forgot... Get some sleep 'Doll'!!

  5. My nephew is just about to march out from Singleton after his specialist rifle training. He will be posted to Townsville.

    My thoughts will be with him and all our diggers, young and old, tomorrow.

  6. Thankyou for sharing your story.
    Karyn x

  7. What amazing memories! Today is a day to appreciate each and every person who has served. This is our families first ANZAC day without my great Uncle, I think I will still find myself looking for him in the procession. Lest we forget. X

  8. I love this post! What beautiful memories of an adventurous childhood. I hope you enjoyed the service. x

  9. What a lovely recollection from your childhood. Canungra is a beautiful place and you must be so very proud of your dad. I have a deep sense of respect for those who fought for our country and continue to.

    Have a great day.x

  10. Awesome post Katherine..
    My dad was a pilot in the 2ndWW...
    all these past & present men/women are true treasures..

    Mr B went to the dawn service at Currumbin this morning so i must gibe him a ring to see how he went..

    xx andrea

  11. I agree, what a fantastic post! What an idyllic and great childhood you must have had with all that space to roam free. The raft shot of you and your brothers is gorgeous!!
    I imagine you're very tired tonight, but there is something about being up at that time of day and listening to the bugles, that is so moving. What a great Aunt you are! We watched the parade today, and it made me teary listening to some of the families talk.

  12. What an incredible story to share Katherine, I just loved reading all about it. I am certain you had a special Anzac Day today. I was moved by watching our Ipswich parade today but I can imagine it must mean something even deeper to you having been raised in an "Army" family. Also love your you had hours of fun down by the river.
    Lou xo

  13. Katherine, that was a really lovely post. I enjoyed reading through it. What an interesting childhood you must have had. ;-)

  14. Oh wow, loved this post!! I didn't know Canungra was so dangerous, my husband is always down there, scary!! I grew up Navy, very different to your story, only i'm the youngest of 4 like you, with much older siblings, yet we never lived on base & i never moved. I married Army & our darling 4 children are up to their 9th school so we're settling, buying a farm in Canberra & when our son starts high school, it will be the 10th school & that's enough!! We have lived on base, in Army Housing in the real world - i love base life, it's safe, a community, privacy when you want it, neighbours when you need them!! It's a very different life, i don't know any other, but i sure knew my father, his uncles, my husband & his grandfather, they all did something very special for this country. Very proud to have spent this ANZAC Day in Brisbane with my handsome soldier, as soon he'll be back at war. Love Posie

  15. What lovely memories. Mr Paper Tree was an Officer in the Army until we got married. We had an 'Army' Wedding with full guard of honour etc.and our reception at Bulimba Barracks.
    Hope you had a great Easter. Michelle

  16. Loved reading this post Katherine. Major Dad looks so proud in his uniform.
    Pam x

  17. Beautiful Post Kath, took me down memory lane, when you and I were just wee things thinking all things "Army Life" was normal..Proud to be an Army Brat!. Very proud of our Two Gorgeous Dads.

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