My Father

Today is Father’s Day in Australia.
My Father was 57 when he died in 1963.
He was born in Horsham, Victoria, one of eight children – 6 boys and two girls.
His parents were farmers.
When the boys came of age, they were given the choice of being given a farm or tertiary education. My father chose the education. He had had Rheumatic Fever as a child which affected his heart. He studied at the Seminary in Adelaide to become a pastor. In Adelaide he met and married my Mother,
My Mother’s family were very mission-minded. Her Father and Mother served on a mission in Cameroon, Africa for some years, before my Mother was born.
This, more than likely, inspired my parents to volunteer to serve as missionaries among the Aborigines in Central Australia.
My Father was always a passionate photographer, so up in the Centre, with the Western MacDonnell Ranges practically on our back door-step, the vivid colours, the brilliant blue skies, the red sand, the gorgeous gorges, the amazing sunsets, it was a photographer’s paradise.
Colour photography was becoming more available. So in 1945 when we came South on furlough, he purchased his first colour camera – a Leica, no less. (How he afforded a Leica on an exiguous missionary’s salary, I have no idea. I suspect that a very good friend – who was not “short of a penny”- and also an avid photographer, made this possible.)
It is rumoured that Dad was the first person in the Northern Territory to own a colour camera.
The photo that I have posted today was taken by Dad in 1946. It was the first photo he had had printed from a slide. I can remember him poring over his best slides, for hours, on his slide-viewer box, which he had made, trying to pick
out the best one.
So here it is, “Ghost Gum near Mangaraka”, a little faded over the years, but freshened up with my trusty Paint Shop Pro.

Speak Gently

Speak Gently was written by G. W. Langford and consists of eight verses. Here are three of them:

Speak gently; it is better far
To rule by love than fear;
Speak gently; let no harsh word mar
The good we may do here.

Speak gently to the young; for they
Will have enough to bear;
Through this life as best they may,
‘Tis full of anxious care.

Speak gently to the aged one,
Grieve not the careworn heart;
Whose sands of life are nearly run,
Let such in peace depart.

Photo: Minnow Creek, Adelaide Hills, South Australia. (c) Marie Trudinger, 2016.





Grandparents are a lady and a man who have no little children of their own.
They like other people’s.

A grandfather is a man and a grandmother is a lady.

Grandparents don’t have to do anything except be there when we come to see them.
They are so old they shouldn’t play hard or run.
It is good if they drive us to the shops and give us money.

When they take us for walks, they slow down past things like pretty leaves
and caterpillars.

They show us and talk to us about the colour of the flowers
and also why we shouldn’t step on “cracks”.

They don’t say, “Hurry up”.

Usually grandmothers are fat but not too fat to tie your shoes.

They wear glasses and funny underwear.

They can take their teeth and gums out.

Grandparents don’t have to be smart.

They have to answer questions like “Why isn’t God married?”
and “How come dogs chase cats?”

When they read to us, they don’t skip. They don’t mind if we ask for
the same story over and over again.

Everybody should try to have a grandmother,
especially if you don’t have television
because they are the only grown ups who like to spend time with us.

They know we should have snack-time before bedtime
and they say prayers with us every time
and kiss us even when we’ve been naughty.

It’s funny when they bend over, you hear gas leaks and they blame their dog.

(Excerpts from papers written by a class of 8-year-olds)