Frank, Lily and Eric Brereton
Frank Brereton married Lily Dean in 1924. Their children were born: Alma, 1925 and Eric 1931. They lived in Hanly near Stoke on Trent until they migrated to Australia in 1952.
Alma had already gone to Australia as a War Bride. She married Gerry Gannan in Bangor, Wales, on 20 May 1944 and delivered a son on 7 May 1945. Gerald returned to Australia in Ocober 1945 and was followed by Alma and Paul in May 1946.
When Frank, Lily and Eric arrived in Australia they were taken to Darlingford to live at Pine Grove until they decided where to go next. The next move was a mile away, up the creek. They lived in our hut and generally helped out on the farm. Eric decided that this farming caper was not for him and went of to Melbourne looking for work. Nan and Grandad went next and they found a place to stay in Moreland befor they moved out to Kylsyth, near Croydon.
(More to follow on this story)
Jim and Margaret Gannan on their Wedding Day
James Allan Gannan and Margaret Theresa Daniel on November 1919. They had 5 children:
At the moment I am still gathering details about this lot.
A Brief History of Gerald Gannan
1922 – 1994
Gerald was born in Essendon in 1922. Until 1936 he went where the family took him, until they deposited him at Assumption College Kilmore. After Kilmore he startedwork in Melbourne. The 1st of March 1941 saw Gerald enlisted in the Royal Australian Air force “for the duration of hostilities”.
After his initial training was completed he was posted to 14 Squadron Royal Air Force in the Middle East, or more precisely, North Africa. At the end of his tour of duty with 14 Squadron he was posted to the United Kingdom and eventually found himself in Wales.
Alma Brereton, April 1944In Wales he met Alma Brereton of the Land Army and in May 1944 they were married and in May 1945 a son,
Paul, was born. Gerald was posted home to Australia in October 1945 and discharged from the Royal Australian Air force in December 1945.
Alma and Paul arrived in Melboune Australia in May 1946 to meet up with Gerald and meet the Gannan Family. Some 15 months later Ken was born.
Gerald obtained work at the Commonwealth Bank and stuck it out until 1951 when he bought a block of land at Darlingford, near Mansfield in Victoria. Gerald had high hopes of this land, a whole 730 acres. He started by agisting stock for some of our neighbours, planted Oats and Potato’s and cut wood for sale to the Hospital in Mansfied. They were busy times. Gerald’s father, Jim died on one of Gerald’s trips between Darlingford and Melbourne.
James Gannan, Granddad (1894-1951)
The block at Darlingford lasted until 1954, when the State Government compulsorily acquired the land for the new Eildon Dam that was officially opened in 1955. The family then moved to Jamieson, where Gerald took on various jobs with the Country Roads Board and finally with the Forests Commission. Both Christine and Judith were born in Mansfield in 1951 and 1956, respectively.
The Family moved to Licola, in 1957, on the Eastern side of the Great Dividing Range. Gerald worked for the Forests Commission at their Connors Plain Camp for the next two years. Doreen and David were born at Heyfield in 1958 and 1959 respectively. Paul was sent to Saint Patrick’s College, Sale as a boarder for that time.
August 1959 saw the family on the move again, this time to Broadmeadows, a Northern suburb of Melbourne. The family was destined to stay at Broadmeadows for the next 35 years. During the first six years Adrian, Eleanor and Virginia were born and Maureen adopted into the family. Paul worked from December 1959 to March 1963 in Melbourne, then joined the army on 25 March 1963 and stayed on for the next 21 years.
Gerald was transferred to the Newport workshops of the Forests Commission, before being transferred into the Commissions office in Latrobe Street Melbourne. He became the secretary for the Mount Buller Alpine Authority in 1966 and remained so for the next seventeen years. During that period he oversaw much of the works that became the basis for the Mt Buller Ski Resort today. His final job with the Victorian Public Service was with the National and State Parks Authority as Deputy Secretary. He retired in 1985.
During all that time, Gerald had an interest in rocks. While working on the Snake Creek Road out of Jamieson he found an interesting rock. He sent Alma to the Mines Department in Melbourne to have the rock assayed. It was Antimony. There appeared to be plenty of it, but getting someone interested in mining the stuff turned out to be near impossible. Gerald kept at it for many years and the activity was closed in 1995. As well, he had an interest in some Serpentine, a nice green stone that can be used pretty much the same way as Marble and Granite. Again, due to a general apathy within the government of the day, and the mining industries attention to gold nothing happened. The area is now part of the Alpine National Park and as such cannot now be mined.
As for the children, they all grew up, married and got on with their lives. Maureen lives in Tasmania, Doreen in Queensland and the remainder in various parts of Victoria, spreading from Bairnsdale in the East, Melbourne and Wangaratta in the North. Virginia lost her home in Kinglake on 7 February 2009 during the so called Black Saturday bush fires. Virginia and her family now live in Kilmore.
Mum, Alma died of a heart attack on 4 April 1987, and Dad followed 7 years later on 3 April 1994. They are both buried at the Bulla Cemetery near Oaklands Junction.
Paul and Sandra
Sandra and I were married in March 1967. We were both in the Army at that time and because of the rules of the day Sandra was required to be discharged.
The first place we lived was in Alma Road St Kilda and within a couple of months we moved into an Army Married Quarter
in Flemington. In December of 1967 I was posted to Vietnam, on Active Service, and Sandra stayed home.
12 Months later I returned home from an interesting tour of duty. On 10 December 1968 I was able to tell Sandra that we were packing up and heading to Singapore in the New Year. So started a rush to get passports, needles, arrange removal of our furniture into storage, plane tickets and other stuff that made the move go smoothly.
On 12 February 1969 we landed in Singapore. The city was very quite. There were no locals on the streets, or anyone else for that matter. We were taken to a hotel in Singapore and told to amuse ourselves for a couple of days. It was Chinese New Year and every one was on holiday. So for about three days we looked after ourselves and had a great time.
Eventually the people at Australian Army Headquarers, Far East Land Forces(Singapore) decided that the fun was over and dragged us into HQ where we met those that I would be working with for the next two years and finally taken to a flat in Jalan Jintan which was to be our home for the next 12 months. Here Sandra met the wives of other soldiers and her Amah. The following day was the start of a two year posting.
During the next two years I was working at many projects and the odd exercise or two. One of the projects was the movement of our soldiers from Terendak, in Malaysia, to Singapore. The major activity was moving the soldiers families to Singapore and this frequired finding houses of all sizes to meet the forces requirements. There was one incident in which I was asked for a total figure of the force moved to Singapore. A quick look through the paperwork and the total was 750 including a baby born on the morning of the request. The boss said "come on! We can't give them that figure, they'll never believe it!". I would not change the number, so the boss decided that a believable figure was 749. He decided to leave the baby out of consideration.
Some time after this I was posted to HQ 28 Commonwealth Infantry Brigade and remained there for the rest of my tour.
I was sent to Pontianak in West Kalimantan where one could stand with one leg on either side of the Equator. The Airfield
was a thin strip of bitumen surrounded by Kuni Grass over 8 feet(2.5metres) tall. I was there for a couple of days with a survey team before I returned to Singapore via Djkarta. Another short trip took me to Palembang in Sumatra for a couple of days with another survey team.
In the meantime Sandra made friends among the wives of soldliers and went on many lunches etc. We bought an old Standard 10 motor car from a soldier returning to England for $400S and sold it to a New Zealander for the same price. This vehicle took Sandra all over Singapore Island and on many weekend Sandra and I drove over the causeway into Malaysia for a bit of sight seeing.
One trip we did was from Singapore up the East Coast of Malaysia to Kuantan across to Kuala Lipis then Penang. Down the West Coast to Kuala Lumpur then Lumut and on to Malacca before returning to Singapore. This trip took three weeks and we travelled with our friends Dave and Dianne Wicker.
The tour finally came to an end in April 1971 and we packed up and went to Sydney where I was posted to the Infantry Centre at Ingleburn. A married quarter was obtained and we settled in for the duration. The "duration" did not last long as I was posted back to Vietnam, this time leaving Sandra in Sydney.
I landed in Saigon on 8 August, posted once again to the Headquarters Australian Force Vietnam. Different job this time. We, the soldiers, knew that the Government was going to withdraw all Australians but were not sure when. Them, the Vietnamese civillians, knew when and were not happy. In December 1971 I was given the task of packing up the Registry. It was a bigger job than it looked, but with the Registry Staff the job was completed on schedule. All the Registry equipment and files etc were sent to Vung Tau at the end of January 1971 and loaded onto the HMAS Jeparit. I joined the ship on 4 February and headed home on a cruise.
The ships hold was full of military cargo of which one large container was mine to look after. It took until 13 March to get back to Sydney.
The ship travelled from Vung Tau to Singapore, unloaded some stores, then headed to Penang where the ship picked up some more stores from Butterworth, then returned to Singapore. The ship ran over a marker bouy in the Straits of Malacca that caused damage that needed repair. The ship went into drydock for the repair. It was something I had only seen in pictures, the underneath of a ship. I was now able to say that "I stood underneath a largish ship".
The HMAS Jeparit got home without further incident. I signed my container over to a trucking company that was to take the container to Canberra. After saying "Hooroo" to the ships company I hooked up with Sandra who had come to meet me. That was when I told her our next posting was 8 RAR in Brisbane.
After arranging some leave and a trip to Melbourne to see relations, Sandra and I returned to Sydney and I continued on to Brisbane. About a month later a married quarter became availabe and Sandra and furniture moved to Keperra, not far from where I was stationed at Ennogera.
The next four years were very interesting. A change of Government in December 1972 saw the National Service scheme abolished and the the National Servicemen being prepared for discharge.
In January 1973 Graham was born at the Mater Mothers Hospital in Brisbane. It was an interesting time with some leave thrown in. Once we got Graham home we settled into his routine. Well, Sandra did. I went bush.
In October the discharge of the National Servicemen and the linking of 8 and 9 Battalions was well in hand. I was posted, again. This time to 6 RAR which was to occupy the now vacant 9 RAR lines. I now had about 500 metres less to travel to and from work.
6 RAR was returning from Singapore and being sent on leave. Whilst the Battalion was on leave in January 1974, it rained in Brisbane. The Brisbane River rose and flooded some low lying suburbs. This resulted in the Battalion being recalled from leave to help with the cleanup after the floods. The whole battalion was involved, including wives and children. Sandra along with other wives was involved at the Battalion Officers mess looking after children of all sizes while their mums were out helping people effected by the flood. It was hard yakka for about a month.
Near the end of February Linda arrived on the scene. This time, getting into her routine was quite easy. Sandra and Graham stayed home with Linda and I went bush. 1974 was a very busy year for the Gannans of Ennogera. After the arrival of Linda and a rather short leave period I was back at work and heading Bush.
These exercises involved many normal activities of an Infantry Battalion. Walking, digging holes, putting up barbed wire fences, filling in holes and taking down barbedwire fences, eating from ration packs sleeping wet and cold, working wet and cold. Live firing of various weapons in all conditions.
In locust season one of the Battalions Companies was sent to Gympie as assistance to the local farmers in trying to eradicate locusts from the farmland.
Infantrymen are especially suited to disposing of locusts, especially at night time. We wear boots, march alot and compared to locusts, quite heavy.
While this was going on the rest of the Battalion was gearing up for the next exercise, a trip to the rifle range, various sporting activities and courses
I was sent on an Orienteering Course, that is map reading on the run! and then a parachute course. The Parachute Course was held at WilliamTown Air Force Base near Newcastle in NSW.17 members of 6RAR joined 17 members of 1 Commando Company on this course. For three weeks we learned how to fall over, jump out of pretend aeroplanes from one metre off the ground, fall off slides about 3 metres above the ground and a strange device called a windmill about 10 metres high. On top there was a cabin in which there was a parachute harness attached to a cable, then I was attached to the harness and detached from the cabin. In less time than it takes to blink I was on the ground being yelled at for not "landing" properly. Another item of interest was the Polish Tower some 30 metres high. From here we practiced landing from a great height.
Eventually we were considered good enough to be ejected from a real aeroplane. This was done seven times over the next week and as we all survived uninjured, were returned to our units for our next assignment.
Once back at Enoggera this small group of intrepid warriors was given a couple of days off. So home I went, convinced Graham and Linda that I was indeed "Daddy" and introduced myself to Sandra, again.🙂
The rest of the year was virually the the same as the first half of the year but this time culminating in an exercise involving two Battalions, one as the goodies and the other , of course, the baddies. the major exercise of the year usually took at least 6 weeks. Once the exercise was over it was late November, early December and the battalion was cleaning up after the last exercise and preparing to annual leave.
The leave period was between Mid December with everyone being back by the end of January 1975.
Leave did not last very long this year. Cyclone Tracey hit Darwin on Chrismas Eve and laid waste to the city. In Brisbane I heard about it on the news late Christmas Day and thought that we, the Battalion, would be involved early in the New Year. I was wrong. Graham and I had just settled down in front of the TV to watch the first ball being bowled in the Boxing Day Test. A knock on the door and "bring all your gear Corporal, you have to come back to work."
So I was off again. The Battalion was to go to Darwin today. As usual all soldiers were ready to go and just need the word. But, because 6 Battalion was ready to go by around 1500hrs that afternoon, our role was changed.We remained in Barracks to set up and wait for the refugees from Cyclone Tracey.
The remainder of the day was spent rehousing our "live in" soldiers to make room for all the people we were expecting. The first lot arrived about midnight and were registered, taken for a brew and allocated beds. At one stage we recieved too many people and were obliged to turf our soldiers out of their rooms to provide more beds. Over the next couple of weeks people came and went. Some went to stay with relatives and others were rehoused around the Brisbane area. Eventually life for the Battalion started to return to normal. You know, going home after work and seeing Sandra and Graham and Linda.
The good life was interupted again and in the first week of February 1975 the Battalion was airlifted to Darwin to continue the work of 5 Battalion on the cleanup of Darwin. The work was hard and thirsty. The major activity was pulling down what remained of houses and taking them to the tip. Sometimes we were met at a house site by the owner. It was sad watching them look through the wreckage to try and salvage anything. There was, in most cases, nothing to salvage.
About a week after ANZAC Day 1975 our job was done and we returned to Brisbane and a couple of days leave. Then back to the daily grind. The rest of 1975 was taken up with exercises and the like.
There were no dramas to start 1976. The battalion was on the move again. This time, A Company went to New Zealand, B Company to England and D Company to Hawaii. The remainder of the unit was kept busy doing duties and other activities until the Companies returned. I was sent on a couple of promotion courses and after the major exercise of the year , I was posted to 6 Cadet Battalion in Casino and promoted to Sergeant. That was December 1976.
The job at Casino involved supporting School Cadet Units and on a couple of occasions starting them from scratch. I travelled all over northern NSW and had many trips to Sydney to work at the Cadet Brigade Headquarters.
1977 was interesting because Sandra was pregnant and I was, seemingly, away much of the time. The Bub was due in early August and I was permited to remain in Casino while every one else went to Singleton for the Cadet Camp. A month later the Bub still had not arrived and Sandra just kept getting bigger. So were Graham and Linda. They also wanted to see why mum was so big. Finally Samantha arrived on 29 September 1977 at the Lismore Hospital. Her first outing was by ambulance when Sandra and Samantha returned to the Hospital in Casino. Once out of hospital every one slipped quite easily into Samantha's routine. Mum came up from Broadmeadows for a while and Sandra took Mum and the Kids to Brisbane for a day. Eventually Mum went home and every thing returned to normal(?).
While Sandra, Graham and Linda were getting used to their new little playmate I returned to work. The Cadet Battalion was preparing for its Annual Camp at Gan Gan, near Newcastle. This involved trips to schools all over the Northern Rivers area of NSW. Stores for the schools were issued and and records checked and updated. A trip to Sydney for a couple of weeks was also taken. By the time I got to Gan Gan I was somewhat buggered. I was given the task of training the Colour Party for the Duke of Edinburough's Banner. It was the first time the Banner had been paraded and this was for the Parade in Sydney to Commemorate the 25th Anniversary of the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. I was in camp for just over a fortnight and looking forward to getting home. It was good to see the children and meet up with Sandra, again.
1978 was pretty much the same. This time the excitement was caused by Graham going to school for the first time. Sandra handled it well. I was sent to Sydney for a couple of weeks and was able to say to Sandra and the children, we were moving to Sydney later in the year. I had been Posted to 2 Army Recruiting Unit and took up my new posting in August. Sandra and the kids followed in October.
The next two year was spent in Sydney. No bush time at all. However that was made up for by a couple of courses and a fair bit of recruiting type work. The unit was based on the 22nd floor of Central Square near Central Station. We lived in a suburb called Chifley, about 45 minutes away by bus. The day started by leaving home about 0700hours and catching a bus into Hyde Park and walking down to Central Square, followed by a ride in a lift to my Orderly Room. The trip took about an hour. For two years that was my routine, and booring, to boot! The only excitement during those two years was Linda starting school and Graham playing rugby league for South Sydney under 7s. Mum, Dad, Elly and Virgina came up for a couple of days. At one time, Sandra, Graham, Linda and Samantha went to Melbourne for a break. I went down to the stores depot and collected a fortnights supply of paper plates and bowls. Back home I cooked up a couple of pots of Savoury Mince, Spanish Fried Rice and a Stew. After that, with the exception of cutlery, all dishes went into the bin. It was a good couple of weeks.
This was not my idea of a military posting, and when we started enlisting people born after I enlisted it was time to think about moving. I applied for a transfer which was promptly granted and was sent to the Melbourne Universty Regiment(MUR). An Army Reserve Posting. I took up the posting in August 1980 and Sandra and the Children arrived in late October. Just in time to go bush again, this time with a mob of reservists. It took some time to come to grips with the difference in training and the dedication of the reservists. Some were very good and some were really not good at all. The unit consisted of some 570 soldiers plus a cadre staff of 7 Regular Army soldiers. The work load was different, 3 nights a week and at least one weekend a month, over and above normal working hours. In 1981 the unit sent a contingent of 120 men and women to England, and we got one British Army Infantry Staff Sergeant in return. The exercise was for three weeks. I managed to get the Pom to Queensland and New South Wales on various activities. It was a lot better than trying to amuse him in Carlton. By Christmas everything had returned to normal, our contingent was back and the Pom was gone, the annual camp was over and all that remained was for the Cadre Staff to take their leave.
1982 was a busy year with various courses etc to be run for the Reserve, the weekend activities and camps took up much of my time. However Samantha started school and Graham was playing Aussie Rules at school. He got the opportunity to play on the MCG, which he rejected because he would have to wear a Collingwood Football Jumper. However, he was not so picky the following year, he pulled on Collingwood Colours just so he could meet some footballers, use the Collingwood change rooms and have a great time.
1983 started the same as the previous year and by the time it got to 25 March 1983 I realized that I had been in the army for twenty years now and was slowing down a little. Iwas sent to Puckapunyal as an Instructor on a Reserve Promotion Course and had a ball. I felt as though I could do this for a few more years but it was so cold at Pucka, that if I was going to stay on it would be in the North. On return to MUR I found that I had been nominated for another promotion course. Consequently I spent 3 months at the Land Warfare School in Canugra. The course was not as it should have been. The army was changing and I did not feel that I should end up in various jobs in Melbourne, Sydney or Canberra. Once I was back home, I took some leave and took the family to Woods Point where we stayed with Bill and Judy for a while. It was good to get out into the bush again, fishing ,shooting and travelling the various traks around Woods Point with Bill.
On our way home, through Jamieson, there was a "For Sale" sign on the local Post Office. By the time I got home I had made the decision to get out of the army. Sandra did not want to move North, as her mum was ill, with cancer and I was definately not going to live in or around the city. Once my leave was comlpleted, I handed in my application for Discharge, which was accepted with a termination date of 14 December 1983.
I moved all our furniture into storage and moved Sandra and the children to Jamieson, where we lived in a caravan for around 10 weeks. I spent the last two weeks of my service travelling between Jamieson and Melbourne. Then a trip to the Personnel Depot at Watsonia ended nearly 21 years of service to the Australian Regular Army in the Infantry Corps as a member of the Royal Australian Regiment. An achievement I am proud of.
Graham , Linda and Samantha started school at the Jamieson Primary School at the begining of February 1984. Half way through February we moved in to the Post Office House and on 1 March 1984 I became the Post Master, Jamieson 3723.
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