CHRONICLES OF THE GREEN AND DALY FAMILIES
from Redhill to Gympie

A tribute to Michael Christian Daly & Eileen Gertrude Green,to their descendants and to their ancestors and to the many cousins
     

Michael Christian Daly was born 12 July 1917 in Gympie, Queensland. He died on 6 March 1988 in Adelaide, South Australia. According to his death certificate the cause of death was chronic obstructive airways disease and pneumonia. He also suffered from angina.

His father, Michael Edmond Daly was an engineer for the state rail company. Michael Edmond was a keen genealogist and had even planned a trip to Ireland to meet his family. Unfortunately he died before he could undertake the journey. Michael Edmond instilled into younger Michael a sense of family obligation and history which was to come to the fore through out his adult life. There were strong family bonds, Michael being one of seven children. The younger Michael was a bit of a dare devil who excelled at school. His specialty was the sciences including home chemistry when he created an explosive compound in the lower area of his home on the western side of Crown Road in Gympie when he was in his early teens. His mother, Justina Catherina Entenmann, fortunately was nearby when the explosion occurred and was able to save young Michael from serious burns by dunking him into a washing tub as she was doing the family laundry at that moment. Later he would encourage his own sons in the sciences and bought them a chemistry set one Christmas where upon they too concentrated on explosive substances. But that is another story. A wedding photo of Michael Edmond and Justina is adjacent. It seems incongruous that the family lived in a street named Crown Road as they were ardent republicans.

Childhood and Gympie
Michael would recall his childhood to his own children by telling them bedtime stories of his adventures. One such story is about the single track rail bridge over the Mary River which provided a great shortcut to a favourite fishing spot. Michael and his siblings were forbidden to cross this bridge as there was no pedestrian path. Oblivious to any danger and desirous to shorten his journey, Michael decided to disobey his family rule and crossed the river stepping on each of the rail sleepers. He was caught out whilst halfway across the river, many feet below, when he heard a train approaching. Quick thinking Michael crouched down below the sleepers and suspended himself above the river far below. He gripped the sleepers from beneath with his fingers while the train passed overhead. Michael recalled that the train seemed endless while he was hanging in there waiting for it to pass. He said he never crossed the rail bridge again. Here is a photo of the bridge as it is today.

Another story Michael told his children was about his visits to his maternal grandparents' family in Gayndah. They were Johann Christian Entenmann (1840-1918) and Hannah Mary Frederica Rau (1852-1925). They were born in Ossweil and Kirchberg in Germany respectively and travelled and settled in Gayndah upon arrival in Australia in the mid 1850's (see the Entenmann story at
www.dalyclan.middlekingdom.com.au/FamilyTree_Rou/rau-entenmann.htm).

Michael loved spending his holidays with his German family in Gayndah and would travel there in his dad's Oakland car over rough country roads from Gympie. The Entenmanns were successful market gardeners and according to Michael they had paddocks of water melons which he, his cousins and siblings would ravish. So plentiful were the melons that the children would only eat the sweet fruit in the centre and toss away the seedy outer fruit. A friend of the Entenmann family, Bill Davis, also wrote about this in his letter to the family in the 1980's. There is a link to Bill's letter in the Entenmann story above.

Michael's maternal grandparents are buried at Gayndah Cemetery and a headstone marks their grave.

The Gympie Christian Brothers School archive records show that Michael was enrolled at the school in 1925 and the family were still living in Crown Road. In 1933 he entered his Junior Certificate school year at Gympie High School as the Great Depression was setting in. He turned 16 that year and topped the State of Queensland in his examinations with 8 A’s, a B, and a C for English. He was awarded the Thallon Medal for his brilliance. There were newspaper reports of the achievement by the local Gympie boy and a copy of an article still remains with his children. The Thallon Medal was awarded in 1934 based on the 1933 examination results. Based on the same November 1933 examinations for the Junior Certificate, Michael was placed fourth on the order of merit in the Queensland Public Service examinations. This would have been exciting for Michael and the family as it assured his of a career in times of much unemployment and economic difficulty.

Soon after his graduation the family moved 150 miles south to the state capital of Brisbane. Michael left school and joined the Lands Department as a clerk and started parttime study at the then Queensland Institute of Technology for surveying qualifications and to become a draughtsman.

WW II
On 10 August 1937 Michael’s father suddenly died from a suspected heart attack. He was aged years old. His death record shows the cause of death as hypertension, cardiac dilation and pulmonary oedema. Michael who was 20 at the time was deeply moved by his father's death and never referred to him, even when telling bedtime family stories to his own children. Later, when World War II broke out for Australia in 1939, Michael joined the local citizens military forces (CMF) and after the Japanese directly attacked Australia he joined active military service with the artillery regiment. Michael’s war record confirms that he served in Townsville (in 1942) and the Northern Territory (from July 1942 to July 1943). However the records are scant on information about his northern Australia service. Michael recalled air attacks and having to seek protection behind large gum trees when the Japanese Zero gunners strafed him. His most serious injury at the time was shrapnel wounds to his ear. He counts his luck that it was not an inch closer as he would have lost his life.

Michael excelled in the field and was promoted from the ranks to lieutenant. He spent some time at Adelaide River attached to the 11th Australian Field Regiment (Royal Australian Artillery) where he signed his "Attestation Form" on 17 September 1942. On 24 December later that year he was promoted to acting Lieutenant.

Later Michael developed skin cancer as a result of over exposure to the sun in the tropics of northern Queensland and the Northern Territory. Details of his repatriation claim form part of his service record which is not yet released under the Archives Act. This is according to the text on the cover of an envelope contained within that part of the record which is publicly available. From the late 1970's up until his death Michael spent much time in Concord Repatriation Hospital (Sydney, NSW) and Daws Road Repatriation Hospital (Adelaide, SA) receiving treatment for his illness. At this stage of his life his health became an obsession and he had extensive communication with the Repatriation Department which was being officious and unsympathetic to his claim as a former serviceman. He spoke frequently about it with his family. He had to fight to get his claim recognised and was exuberant when his claim was finally accepted.

Michael would relate his experiences to his children when they were young in the form of a bedtime story - often these would be didactic. He would recall his posting in 1942 to Townsville at the time of riots by the African-American soldiers. The rioters were marching on the city and his unit was lined up with their guns pointing towards them. Michael said he was in a moral quandry if he had been given the order to fire upon the rioters. He said that he had made up his mind to follow the order if it was given, but to fire above their heads. The Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC) has reported on the Townsville US Servicemen Riots. The incidents are also described at www.ozatwar.com/ozatwar/riotupperross.htm. An extract from the latter report is below:

          On 15 April 1942, about 100 men of the 96th Battalion were involved in a fight in Townsville. They had been rounded up by white soldiers with fixed bayonets and loaded guns. General Ralph Royce's diary has an entry that indicated that he visited the negro part of the troop camp at Charters Towers on 10 April 1942. The diary entry did not indicate the reason for the visit.
         On 22 May 1942 between 8 pm and 9 pm several shots could be heard coming from the Negroes camp. A riot broke out at the camp after some constant abuse of the Negroes by two of the white US officers. A number of ring-leaders amongst the Negroes in "A" and "C" Companies decided to machine gun their white officers' tents. They were apparently upset that a Negro sergeant had died at the hands of a white US officer.
         More than 700 rounds were fired during the riot. At least one person was killed and several dozen were seriously injured. The Negroes fired machine guns and anti-aircraft guns (probably heavy machine guns) into the tent lines of the US white officers who were drinking at the time.
         One of the many to hear the shots that night was the late Arthur Kelso who was riding his horse on his property at Laudham Park, on Five Head Creek in the Upper Ross area just outside Townsville. He heard the initial shots and judged them to be about 1.5 miles away. The shooting continued and he could then hear Thompson sub machine guns. The firing continued until about 11p
m
.

While on his officer’s training course in Sydney he met and married Eileen Gertrude (nee Green) in February 1944. It was a whirlwind romance of just a few weeks for the young officer and registered nurse. After their marriage at St Canice’s Church in Kings Cross, Sydney the happy couple secured seats for the train journey to Katoomba in the Blue Mountains beyond Sydney for a 3 day honeymoon. Michael was not able to take longer as he was not able to secure a leave pass from his army unit.

True to form and challenging convention, Michael could only buy a one way ticket to Katoomba – the war restrictions were a challenge to personal relationships too. At the end of his honeymoon he was desperate to get back to his unit to avoid being charged with being awol or worse, desertion – a capitol offense in war time. At the last minute Michael managed to buy a return ticket back to Sydney but only one for himself.

This meant he had to temporarily abandon his bride for a while longer in Katoomba in order to get back to his base in time. Their marriage was to last many years until their deaths late in the twentieth century.

1950's

The remaining war years were difficult for Michael and Eileen. She was pregnant when Michael was re-posted and Eileen went back to her family in Adelaide for the birth of their first daughter Jennifer Mary. Eileen kept a diary and excerpts from it are quoted in her memory file. After the war Michael and his bride settled in Brisbane and Michael resumed for a short his career in the civil service. His independence led him to start his own integrated timber, hardware and service station business in the then outer Brisbane suburb of Stafford. It was located on the block of land at 80 Webster Road, Stafford. Initially it was in partnership with his Uncle Pat and Fred Alback and the business was known as Aldale Timber Company. The company regularly advertised in the local Courier Mail newspaper in the 1950's. The National Library of Australia has records of these adverts available online through their Trove website. Later Pat bought out the milling business while Michael and Fred retained the other sections including the timber planning.

Fred Alback was a competitive man. Dad bought a new car in the early '50s - Fred bought a new Jaguar car. Dad bought the land at Broadbeach - Fred bought a block down the road. Dad built a holiday home - Fred built a holiday home. During the construction of the holiday home the family would go down to the coast with Dad. Sometimes he would leave us there, with Mum of course, while he went back to work in Brisbane. One holiday he returned to pick up the family from the Coast and drive them home to Herston. During the journey home, Michael said he had a surprise at home. He had the kids guessing the whole journey home - maybe for 1 1/2 hours - and noone guessed. Imagine our surprise to find a newly painted kitchen on arrival. He had painted the cupboards two tone - mushroom doors with grey trim - it would have been very fashionable in the 1950's.

Once when on holiday at Broadbeach we, the kids, dared enter Lenins Hotel garden and take liberty of their facilities. We were having a wonderful time in their swimming pool until we were chased out. This would have been in 1957 or '58. It wasn't the first time such an incident had occurred so we knew what to expect when the lifeguard approached us and we ran. The adjacent photo is of the holiday home under construction. Michael invited friends to help him and this image is of a cricket game in the sand during a break in the work.

Rosie recalls, "I didn't realize there were three in partnership with Dad, I remember Fred and going out to the Mill on Saturday mornings and weighing out the nails with Jenny and Anne. Half way home Dad would stop for a beer and he would buy us a comic at the news agency." Dad gave instructions to add a few extra nails to each bag when weighing them out on the old counterbalance scales - a demonstration of his fairness in business. When I reached the age (about 4 or 5 years old) to help with the weighting out I couldn't remember if I was to add a few or take a few nails off so there may have been a few bags which were a bit short in weight! Adjacent is a photo of scales similar to what I used. There is another of Rosie building her canoe and Michael helping and encouraging her. It is well worth a read.

The Daly family was religiously conservative and even when on holiday at Broadbeach we had to attend Sunday Mass like all good Catholics. It was never called "going to Church" but "going to Mass". The nearest church was the Guardian Angels Church in Scarborough Street, Southport which was about eight kilometres away from the holiday cottage. The church is still there in the middle of the retail district. I recall that many of the pews in the church had brass plaques on the end of them honouring the family who donated the pew. I could not understand why, given the size of our family, we too did not have our own pew instead of sitting in "somebody else's" pew! We were that religious that when out in the car, upon passing a Catholic Church we would have to bless ourselves, which was called "making the sign of the cross", and say a prayer. In about 1962 Dad's sister Auntie Muriel (1915-2004 ) who had a shop on Thursday Island married Louis Alexander Rasey (1916-1976). Lou was an Anglican and a Free Mason and the couple married in a non-Catholic church. In order to attend the marriage service we had to go to confession and seek the (Catholic) Church's permission to attend otherwise we would be committing a sin. Permission was granted on the basis that we did not participate in the service and had to stand up for the duration. Dad and Auntie Muriel were close and in the 1950's he flew to Thursday Island to help build her shop and home. Dad took hours of home movies of the experience including the airports of Townsville, Cairns and Horn Island and life in the Torres Strait.

I wonder if two of my sisters "made their confession" the time some parishioners of a non-Catholic Church in Aberleigh Road in Herston forced them one Sunday into Sunday School as they were hanging around outside their church in the early 1960's. Fortunately religious bigotry is on the decline. It was vigorously discussed by the family at the time.

Family Man
Michael’s decision to purchase a plot of land in Herston, a suburb of Brisbane, was truly indicative of the closeknit Daly clan. His mother and four of his siblings would all eventfully live in the area close to the family home "Tumba" at 33 Scott Road. He was also very close to his own children and indulged in them. In the late 1940's he bought an 8mm movie camera and took many hours of footage of the family. Please contact me if you wish me to send you a copy of the footage which has been digitised (it is about an 8 gig movie in windows format). The five children born to Michael and Eileen during their first seven years of marriage were all girls and the couple, more especially Michael, were keen to have a boy. Michael was not present for the birth of their sixth child, a boy. Perhaps he had given up hope of a boy as he was from a family of four girls and two boys and Eileen from a family of four girls. Boys weren't in the majority in either family. It was a Saturday afternoon in late May 1952 when the boy was delivered. The nurses phoned Michael who was at home minding the other children. Upon the news of a boy baby, according to Eileen, Michael was down to the hospital in a flash. This is the story of the start of my life. Their track record improved after I was born and two boys followed me and then a girl - the last child they were to have.

Love of the outdoors persuaded Michael to purchase an enormous tent in late 1950's, after he sold the Broadbeach properties. He would take the children camping to Goondawindi, Kingaroy, Bunya Mountains, Texas on the border with NSW, Kerry in the Gold Coast hinterland and many other places. There was one such holiday to his home town of Gympie and Tin Can Bay on the coast. The mozzies were so thick and they even managed to get into the tent through the insect netting. We all ended up with bite welts and we went to the pharmacy the following morning for an anti-itch compound. I remember Michael's face that morning was covered with red blisters and the pharmacist who expressed his astonishment when he entered the shop. Usually the family used Calamine Lotion for the stings and a repellent called "Kokoda". A bottle of each was kept in the kitchen at home in the "top" medicine cabinet which was near the ceiling, well out of reach of young hands. The adjacent image is sourced from Wikipedia. The repellent is named after the infamous Kokoda Trail in PNG during WW2.

Needless to say, our camping holiday to Tin Can Bay was cut short by the mosquitoes and we thankfully headed back home to Herston.

Later when the family was living in South Australia we would travel to the Coorong, Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsular exploring those parts of Australia in the camper trailer he built to travel to Adelaide - see below. Michael would take us camping nearly every holiday. Eileen and the older girls would stay at home though. I guess that this gave them a break. His favourite breakfast dish on such trips was what he called his goulash. This was a combination of bacon, tomato and onion fried in a pan over the camp fire. As an extra special treat he'd mix an omelet into his goulash. It was and is delicious. Us kids were fortunate to have such a great dad. It is still a family favourite to this day. Another favourite snack he had was to slice the crust off a freshly baked high top loaf of bread which he would then use for a sandwich of pickled onion he had prepared himself. The pickled onion recipe: one white onion sliced and rings separated, placed in a saucer, liberally salt and peppered, then liberally covered with a copious amount of vinegar.

These holidays taught us a lot about Australia. On one journey around 1960 to the Lamington National Park in southern Queensland we were driving along a section of road that was under repair. Not a worker in sight but there was lots of signage and warnings to take care. This was along the road to Kerry. At the beginning of the section of roadworks was a sign advising that "MEN AT WORK" but there was not a soul around. A wag had hand painted the letters H and E to the AT word on the sign so that it read "MEN HATE WORK".

Achiever
Michael was a high achiever. At the same time as he was establishing his milling business, he also expanded his enterprises to hardware, fuel and garage. All this while also designing and constructing his Tudor style home and in Surfers Paradise (Broadbeach) a holiday home and 2 units! During this time he and Eileen had nine children.

The hard work took its toll. Michael grew weary and sought new direction, particularly after a falling out with his timber mill business partner over a long period of time. He sold his business interests and became a property developer in the late 1950’s. Initially he offered to buy out his partner Fred Alback and made an offer. I understand from my sisters that Fred said he was affronted by this offer and said that he'd buy Michael out for the same amount. As Michael considered that his offer was fair he subsequently decided to accept Fred's counter offer without further negotiation - ie he sold his share of the business to Fred for the same amount which he had offered Fred to buy his share. After the mill / hardware sale, Michael's
first project was to design and construct eight units in Parkhurst Street behind his home in Herston. The construction proved a challenge: first concrete supplies were monopolized for several months by large construction projects in the city and Michael's floor pours were delayed. Later there was a credit squeeze caused by the government when it raised interest rates too much too quickly. Eventually the units were completed in about 1961. An early tenant, an American woman, would throw pennies into the pool from her balcony for the Daly kids to retrieve and keep for pocket money. It was a great game for nine year olds. A tame kookaburra adopted her and when she went back home the kookaburra then adopted the Daly family and would tap it's beak on the kitchen window for some meat.

Michael was skillful both mentally and physically and very creative. He was generous with his time and advice. My wife and I are grateful for his assistance in fitting out our shop in Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) in early 1977 and how he created a means to overcome the newly implemented health regulation regarding sealing the floor skirting. So impressed was the local health department that they sent out a special team to inspect and photograph the floor. During my visit to a milk factory factory in North Queensland 37 years later I was surprised to see that the same techniques developed by Michael were still being used in their building! Michael said at the time of fitting out the shop that it was the 23rd kitchen he had constructed in his lifetime. I think he miscounted - there were more!

Relocation to Adelaide
Later the Daly family moved to Adelaide, the capital of the state of South Australia. Eileen now would be nearer to her own family and Michael continued developing property and renovating homes. Michael drove to Adelaide in the middle of 1963 to purchase a home for the family. He returned to Brisbane in August with Eileen's sister Phillis Green
(who was known as Auntie Nin or Auntie Phil).

It was organised that the four older girls travel to Adelaide together by train - a 2,500 kilometre, four day journey via Sydney and Melbourne. Tickets were booked through a friend at the Railways Department and passed to the family. The day arrived for their departure and the whole family assembled at Roma Street rail station to see the girls off. Us younger ones were checking the foldaway beds and wash basins when someone commented that there was someone else's luggage in the cabin. Michael and Eileen spoke with the conductor who checked their tickets. They discovered the train the girls were scheduled to travel on had departed three days earlier.

They had misread the tickets which were clipped together with the last leg of the journey from Melbourne to Adelaide on top on the pile. With much fuss alternative travel was arranged but only for Jenny, Rosie and Annie. Margie had to travel by car to Adelaide as another booking could not be secured for her.

In the months leading up to the move Michael designed and built a camper trailer similar to the ones on the road today. He called it Dyna which was short for dynamite as it expanded. This remember was in 1963. It was designed for 4 persons but we actually had Margie, Mike and Lizzy and the parents. Greg and Anthony went to Adelaide in about October 1963 and they stayed with Auntie Kay and Uncle Jack Pianto in their Toorak Gardens home in Grant Avenue, pending the arrival of the remainder of the family. After months of planning and organisation the big day for the family's departure to Adelaide arrived. The car and trailer were packed chookers - including the roof rack. Our close neighbours, the Dooley family, came over to farewell well us. There were kisses and hugs all round. I saw Mary Dooley who was my age shedding a tear and in my innocence I asked her why she was crying. Mary emotionally responded that she would never see us again. How accurate and perceptive she was.

Unfortunately the removalist truck transporting our belongings from Brisbane to Adelaide was involved in an accident around the Armidale region. The truck rolled off the road and most of the furniture was badly damaged. The removalist took months to tell Eileen and Michael about it and after many calls and visits to their warehouse in Adelaide the damaged furniture was delivered. It was not insured. They gave the removalist ten pounds for the insurance in Brisbane when the furniture was picked up but the company didn't issue the policy. Michael spent months repairing what he could and going to the auctions buying furniture. I think that this may have been the beginning of the children's appreciation of antique pieces. Michael had to cut down the period dining cedar table to fit through the doors. It was a quality tradesman job he completed.

Christmas in 1963 was spent at the Nicholases - our cousins and Aunty Ann and Uncle Bill. Ann was Eileen's sister. It was an eye opener for the Daly kids and a new experience of Adelaide culture so different to our life in Brisbane. Adelaide seemed to be more reserved and cautious of appearances whereas Brisbane'ites were much more relaxed.

In Adelaide Michael was unsettled. He felt that he was unaccepted by the Adelaide community which was considered conservative and intolerant of new comers. He also had difficulty expanding his property development when the local council refused planning permission for a property he purchased in Hill Street, North Adelaide shortly after the move interstate. Michael spent 3 years renovating the property (bedsitter flats and a cottage on an adjoining plot). After he sold this property in the mid-1970's the council gave development permission to the new buyer! In late 1970 Michael decided upon a further challenge to become a primary producer near the small town of Parkes about 150 miles west of Sydney. He still loved the fires and explosions of his youth. He called his piece of Australia "Wolabler" after the mountain at the back of the 5000 acre property. A photo of the farm cottage as it is nowadays is below. This is about 40 years on. There are two stories which I recall with humour and illustrate Michael's personality and philosophy. Adjacent photo shows the location of the property in Hill Street and is sourced from Google Maps.

Wolabler
But firstly, Greg (aka "Dozer") his son, recalls a couple of incidents too. Below, "Dozer" has provided a photo of himself at the property with a bulldozer (not the D4) which was taken in March 2013.

"I suppose the most interesting events that happened to me while I was working with Dad in 1972 was when I chopped off Dad's thumb and the second was the great bullock saga.

I suppose you have heard of these but my recollection is as follows. I was working on the D4 bulldozer clearing scrub above the horse paddock dam which is the little one up the hill behind the shed. Having cleared the low scrub and trees I started to form a long contour bank at a slight slope across the face of the paddock and leading into the dam. This would divert the water runoff. When building the contour bank you drop the bulldozer blade, run forward two meters, then lift the blade, drop the dirt you have scooped up and then reverse at an angle to a position for your next scoop.

Unfortunately when reversing the dozer at that angle twists the tracks , and as the track was worn it came off its rollers. I called Dad who said let's make a start at getting the track off for repair.

Well it was getting late and the light was fading and we were pretty tired from a long day. I said maybe we should knock off and start fresh tomorrow. As you know Dad was like a bull at a gate and would have none of that.

So we got some old railway sleepers and started to place them under the dozer blade in a box fashion. Once the first layer was on we then pushed forward the blade on the sleepers which raised the tracks we then placed more sleepers under the tracks then raised the blade we then put further sleepers under the blade etc etc until the tracks were raided high enough to slide out the dislocated track.

At this time the dozer was maybe one meter off the ground and it was almost pitch dark. I was in the dozer when Dad bent down to place one more row of sleepers under the blade. Suddenly the whole dozer slipped off the sleepers and the blade came down onto the back of Dad's right hand, across the knuckles. His right thumb was on top of the end of a sleeper and was chopped off instantaneously and the rest of the hand was pressed into the dirt - the sleeper taking the impact of the blade. Otherwise he would have lost his right hand. Dad yelled to get out and come down and look for his thumb!

In my shock I did so although as the leading edge of the blade is at least 1 inch wide the thumb had been pulverised. I suppose Dad thought they might be able to sew it back on! It was absolutely pitch black by now anyway and of course we did not have any torches. I grabbed Dad and jumped into the ute and headed for Laurie Hoffman's place (next door). Terry Hoffman (was a great bloke, tragically killed within the year when he drove home pissed and ran into the back of a semi) got his car out and bundled Dad and me into his car and drove to Parkes Hospital where Dad had surgery. They put him on morphine which he said was the best stuff he had ever had; had great dreams he said. Terry and I headed for the nearest pub for well earned beers.

The other story was when Dad had delusions of becoming a cattle king. To this end he purchased three scrawny bullocks. These losers had not only lost their testicles but had drawn the short straw by being selected by Dad. Dad had no affinity with animals which I'd borne out by a long list of deceased animals in his care. Well the first bullock got into the shed and licked up a can of arsenic, although it is sweet tasting is also a bit fatal. The second bullock had the good sense to see how things were and took off for the bush, to be seen no more ( probably still running).

Dad had diverted the kitchen waste water onto a nectarine tree and as such this tree had the biggest and most prolific crop of nectarines in its history. Well one day we set off for Parkes to do the weekly shopping. A few hours later, about dusk, we returned and pulled up in front of the cottage. Disembarking we gathered the shopping and moved to the front door. It was a bit dark now. Suddenly we heard this noise coming from behind the front door, Dad said Stop! Stay here. And as he went slowly towards the door, a soft shuffling noise could be heard, he opened the door very slowly and went into the cottage, the noise was from his back bedroom and then suddenly stopped. He went to the bedroom door and carefully opened it. Of course the rest of us were close behind him. As the door opened an explosion of brown Bullock burst out of his bedroom and smashing its way out the front door, literally like a Bull in a China shop, destroying anything in its way. Well Dad's bedroom was covers in an enormous amount of Bull Shit, the manure was everywhere and on top of everything - bed, carpet, furnishings; as well it was of a particular runny and pungent type as we discovered later the bullock had demolished every single nectarine on the tree out front. As we all collapsed in relieved and hysterical laughter we could only thank our lucky stars that it was Dad's bedroom not ours! Needless to say the bullock was off to market a very short time later."

Recently "Dozer" gave me a copy of Michael's birthday diary in which he recorded his accident on 1 November 1972 as "Lost left thumb at Wolabler at 7.30pm. He was 55 years old. Thank you "Dozer" for sharing these stories and the diary. Note the neat stylized handwriting.

One summer in Parkes Michael had been clearing some scrub and after raking it up with the D4 bulldozer set it alight. The fire got away into the grass of a paddock which he had recently fenced. The flames were leaping at a strainer post which he had spent some time cutting and preparing. I recall him telling me that at the time all he could think of was to save that post and therefore wee'd upon it to put out the flames!

Anthon and Greg is on Caesar
Greg on his horse Caesar & Anthony at Wolabler
in about 1982

On another occasion Michael was working under the bonnet of his old Commer van cleaning the carburetor. Typically he had a "roll your own" cigarette between his lips. The petrol fumes ignited and flames were coming out of the engine bay. Quick thinking saved the day. Michael grabbed the fire extinguisher. It didn't work. He grabbed the axe and chopped the top off the extinguisher. Pouring the contents on the flames put it out. Michael when recalling the story later was quite nonplused and didn't appear at all concerned for the van or the shed it was in.

In 1973 he spent Guy Fawkes night over at the neighbours. They had a big bonfire and were letting off their fireworks. Michael had a few detonators in the ute's glove box (which he used for priming explosives under stumps). He decided to put a few into the fire. I can't precisely remember, but I think he may have also used half a stick of gelly as well. Michael was perhaps exploring the Big bang theory - he was keen on astronomy! The neighbour's wife was horrified or petrified. I'll say no more.

The property at Parkes was to be his last major project he would undertake and after many heart problems he died in early 1988 in Adelaide. He is buried in a family plot with his first child who died in infancy and his wife who died a few years later. It is ironic that he rests in Adelaide, a city in which he did not find favour.

Michael loved his family and was loyal to them in his own special way, encouraging in his children the principle of social justice. He was highly intelligent and had an extensive array of interests including religion, philosophy, politics, history and all of the sciences. He was ahead of his time and worked towards protecting and sustaining the environment.

Thankyou
I wish to thank Megan for reminding me of the stories about about missing the train to Adelaide, smoking under the car bonnet, weeing on the strainer post and the camping staple goulash menu. Thank you to Greg for his contribution.

MWJ Daly
updated February 2018

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