Here is my son’s Chat with Grandad (my Dad)
- Can you tell me what countries my relatives are from?
My parents, and my father’s parents, were all born in England. My father’s paternal grandfather (Jean Gerard) was born in France, and had “mixed” (African?) decent.
My mother’s father was born in Cornwall (part of England – but culturally, and supposedly racially, more akin to the people of Wales)
My mother’s mother was Irish.
2. What were their jobs?
My father was a teacher most of his working life – my mother held “occasional” jobs as an (unqualified) teacher, and as a nurse’s aide. Both of them served with the radar branch of the Royal Air Force in the war years.
My father’s father (Walter Gerard Senior) was a coal miner in the north of England. He was injured at this work in the late 1920s and never found permanent alternative work (this was the depression in Britain) but was “resettled” on vacant farmland in the English Midlands in the early 1930s to become a small-holder farmer. This was part of a “scheme” that didn’t really work, and my father’s family remained very poor.
My mother’s father was a post office clerk.
3.When did you come to live in Australia?
My parents brought me to Australia (like we did your mum) in 1948. I was just two years old.
4.Where did you grow Up?
(Mostly) in Devonport, Tasmania. In particular, that is where most of my childhood memories come from.
5.What is your best childhood memory?
Finding a little abandoned kitten and bringing him home – he was our family cat (called “Tiger”, he was a big grey tabby tom) until after I left home to go to Papua New Guinea!
6. How did you meet bubu (grandmum) and where?
I was a patrol officer in Papua New Guinea – acting as an electoral returning officer and leading a patrol taking ballot boxes and mobile polling booths to rural villages (and, obviously, collecting people’s votes. We arrived by helicopter (due to floods). Bubu was at home in her village on holiday (she was a trainee nurse at the time).
7. What have your jobs been and which is your favourite job?
After I left school I was an office clerk for a couple of years – then I went to Papua New Guinea as a patrol officer for nearly seven years. After Bubu and I (and your mum!) came to live in Australia I had several jobs as a clerk, or as a labourer, before going “back” to University and becoming qualified as a librarian. My time in PNG was most exciting, but being a librarian was also very satisfying.
Granddad has lots of stories. I hope he tells me more.