Burnett Heads, QLD, July 2023
Roy: My dad was a very good footballer, so his club bought him a house over at East Bundaberg. I lived in that house until I joined the Air Force.
I grew up as a kid with my grandmother and all her brothers and sisters around. They were living in tin shacks in a place known as Moke’s Scrub, just off Dr Mays Road. There were a lot of Kanakas [South Sea Islanders] housed there, in tin humpies on dirt floors. I remember that the beds were made from trees cut down and hessian bags sewn together. It was beside a creek, and that's where the water came from. They were still living there in the bush when I was 12 or 13.
My children, they didn't have the same interaction with family. I spent all my career in the Air Force, 37 years. We were always away, so they don't know half their family. One of our sons went into the Air Force too. But then he got out because of his own son. He didn't want to put him through moving from one place to another. He wanted him to have the experience of having cousins and family around him.
Trevena: I was an Air Force wife. I obeyed the rules, but I wasn't part of the Air Force. I worked as a nurse. The thing that was hard was all the moving around. Having to give up a job and then go and try and find another one. And the same with the kids, of course. One year they were enrolled at one school, went to another school in a different state and then came back to another state. That was all within one year.
There are advantages. You go to a new place. You learn new things. The downside of it is that you've got to set up all your support systems again, every time you move. That’s the hardest part. When you marry into the forces, you know that is what is going to happen. And unless you're prepared to do it, you shouldn't do it.