Sir John – he was my dad, but Bill to all
His friends. A rich and varied life he led,
Right-wing and tough, but sensitive. Grew up
In Brighton – World War One had just begun
When he was born. He starred at football, joined
The Saints while working hard at Preservene,
The family firm; but then came World War Two.
Enlisted, fought in PNG until
A faulty parachute or just bad luck
Meant hospital for two long years. He read
Karl Marx while lying there, was not impressed
So joined the Libs, and rapidly became
A star in blue. While on the mend had met
His future wife, our mum, and she was cute
And very much a woman of her times.
He fought the commies, unions too, with Bob
From DLP; he cleaned the party up
And set the Libs on track for many years
In power. He spent some years as President
Then Treasurer of Libs Victoria.
He ran his own small bus-i-ness: imports,
And came to be ‘the bagman’, raising cash
From business, keeping Libs in front.
We lived in flats in Brighton; family life
In fifties Oz was pretty good. We kids
Knew love, were never short of food or all
The stuff that makes the country lucky, but
It all became less wonderful when Pete
My brother sickened, later died, with years
Of struggle in between for parents not
Accustomed, not in any way prepared
For such a challenge; Dad was more a man
Of action than adept at handling rage
And bad behaviour from a frightened child.
He had the love of wife and t’other kids
To help sustain him. I was often far
Away at studies, work or overseas.
His loving daughter Kim and Aud, our mum
Gave strong support. His firm did well and mum
Was kept in manner she thought fit. The pain
Of wounds of war would dog him all his life,
But live he did to eighty-eight and then
He quietly bade goodbye, just faded out,
Away. I loved him and respected him
And though we were of different hue in talk
Of politics, I think he felt the same
For me; to show affection not his thing.
Whatever were our differences, our dad
And mum both loved us; that is really all
That parents need to do. Vale Sir John.
at about 75