The Rest of My Oliver Clan

Arthur and Dorothy Oliver had three sons and one daughter. Barry James (b. 1931), Brian Maxwell (b. 1832), myself, Stuart Leon (b. 1934), Harvey Allen (b. 1941), and Roslyn Joyce (b. 1943).

I can only give a sketchy account of all my brothers and sister, as Brian left home fairly early, and I followed later to see other territory and do other things. Harvey (my young brother) and Roslyn (my young sister) grew up in a different age bracket, and so we all tended to go different ways in those early years.

It is not as if we were not in touch, or did not care, for we did, and would quickly be there for one another if the need ever arose.

Barry James Oliver

Barry was born 7 April, 1931, Tamworth, New South Wales, but died only three weeks later on 25 April, 1931. He is buried in the Tamworth Cemetery.

Brian Maxwell Oliver

Brian was born 8 May, 1932, in Tamworth. From all accounts he was a very difficult child, in that he was extremely determined to have his own way. He would frequently disappear from the home, even thought the gates were tied up, supposedly to keep him in. I have heard stories of how they would put him on a "leash" tied to the clothes line in an attempt to keep some control over his wanderings.

Brian with his first wife, Joan.

This determination has been evident throughout his life, and is no doubt responsible for him living on long after the doctors had said he had only a few months to live "at the most!"

He always said he would lie down and die when he was ready, "not when some b…… doctor thought it was time!"

Brian was always ready to fight. Any excuse was good enough. He did not seem satisfied at a school until he had beaten everyone there. The only one I never knew he could not beat was a kid named "Grumpy" Hall.

I left Brian and "Grumpy" slugging it out for about an hour and a half after school one day, until Mum wanted to know where he was. She then went up and broke up the fight. Brian and "Grumpy" were the best of mates after that. Something about mutual respect, guess.

He was always in trouble at school, and we changed schools several times because of it. I had hardly started at the Public School when we were moved to a Catholic School near home because of trouble Brian had with the teachers. I do not know what caused the trouble, but trouble was his second name.

I remember we then had to leave the Catholic School about 18 months later because he had thrown an inkwell over one of the Nun’s white habits.

There the fights continued. I would arrive home without him, and Mum would say, "where’s Brian?" "Oh, he’s fighting back up the street." I have been told that a lot of these fights were because someone had slung off at me for only having one ear (something that did not bother me). Anyway, that was Brian’s excuse.

As young boys we roamed the bush out and around Tamworth, trapping rabbits (our source of pocket money), and Brian at one stage kept some ferrets. These, I thought, were a terrible failure, as they would go down a burrow, supposedly to flush out the rabbits, only to stay down there. We would then have to go back and dig them out.

He had tremendous compassion for injured animals. We were forever home to stray, injured dogs and heaven knows what else.

I remember on one of our ferret trips we came across a baby magpie on the ground under this enormous gum tree. Brian tucked the bird in his jacket and proceeded to climb some 30 feet up the tree to place the bird back in the nest. He had just got there when the parent birds came back and promptly attacked. He fell the last 15-20 feet from the tree and was lucky not to be severely injured.

Still, that was Brian!

He took to bicycle racing, and gained a huge district reputation, winning many titles, and setting times that stood for many years, despite the improvement in bicycle development.

Unfortunately, as a young child, he had been pushed off the top of a "slippery dip" in Balmain, Sydney. He landed on his head on the concrete surround (in those days, they cemented the ground under these slippery dips).

The damage sustained was to come against him as he grew up. Whether this was responsible for his temper tantrums, I do not know, but it was responsible for ending what could have been an Olympic career as a bike rider. After a fall from the bike, when he hit the same spot on the head as the fall from the slippery dip, he was advised that it was too dangerous to continue racing.

Joan Oliver with [from left] Lucas, Adam, and Kimberley
I can remember the crowds roaring encouragement to him, as the handicapper placed him further and further back from the grid. The disappointment when he could not ride was very evident.

Brian loved the farm life, and would take every opportunity to get out working on the farms.

In Goulburn, NSW, he built up a bicycle shop, and at the same time spent his weekends breaking horses for one of the "landed gentry" there.

On moving to Sydney, he started up a Box and Carton manufacturing business. This was extremely successful, but as soon as there was money in the bank, out he would go and buy farm land.

It was about this time he met and married Joan Margaret Arnold, and over the ensuing years had three sons, Kimberley, Lucas and Adam.

Unfortunately, this marriage broke down, and he then married another woman, Margaret, and had two daughters with her. This marriage also ended in divorce.

He buried himself in his farming, but despite having a marvellous affinity with the land, he did not have the luck that all successful farmers must have if they are to succeed while feeding mortgages at the same time.

However his determination kept him trying, and despite severe heart problems (several triple by-passes), and being given only a few weeks or months to live, at the time of updating this (2002) he is still working a property in Queensland. As well, he is now married to Anna Jarina, and has a son, Clinton James (b. 5 Feb 1996) and a daughter (details unknown), so has definitely proved the doctors aren’t about to have the last say!

Harvey Allen Oliver

Harvey and Norma Oliver with one of their ride-on mowers.

Harvey was born 11 Nov 1941, just as the world war was spreading its tentacles around the globe.

He was not a well child, and our parents were told they would never be able to rear him, as he could not keep food down. However, having lost one child, Mum was not about to give up another without a fight. She persevered, and eventually found that he could eat potato without throwing it straight up, and later, peanut butter. This became his staple diet, and although a skinny little kid, he proved them wrong.

This lack of balanced diet did have its affect in the long run, with severe skin complaints, followed by asthma.

On leaving school, he went to work for Brian in the cardboard manufacturing business, and was invariably left to keep the place working while Brian pursued his passion for the land.

He once told me that Brian would ring up and say send money, and he would then have to try and find more money to pay the wages.

This was a marvellous business, but to Brian it was an end to a means . . . farmland!

Harvey married early to Nola Pearson (this while I was still in New Guinea), and they had two children, Janelle and Glen. It was a marriage that was really doomed from the start, as they came from two totally different back grounds, and eventually ended in divorce. However, I believe they eventually came to terms with this, and were friend to the end.

Harvey and Norma Oliver in later years.

Harvey then married Norma Mary Dingwell and went to live in Wagga Wagga, NSW, Norma’s home town. They had a daughter, Stephanie, and he became a loved "father" to Norma’s daughter, Samantha, by an earlier marriage.

After working for a printing firm there for some time, he turned his hand to lawn mower repairs, and eventually opened his own shop, Harvey’s Mower and Chainsaw Centre, specialising in all types of mowers, chainsaws and the like, including holding several dealerships for brands which he considered were up to his standards of quality.

He was a normally quiet man, who went about doing what had to done without fuss.
Although not tolerant of fools, I would say that he at least accepted that they were part of life and tolerated them.
His passion from early life was native birds. He learned there habits, there breeding cycles, and there needs. He kept large aviaries of these exotic creatures, some of which were worth many thousands of dollars, and became a well-known authority on the subject. With asthma, this was not probably the best hobby a man could have,

Harvey's burial plaque at Wagga Wagga Cemetery.

but he was never one to let that get in the way.

(Sound familiar? Must be an Oliver trait.)

Eventually the asthma caused much heart damage, and he was in and out of hospital, eventually succumbing to the trauma of an operation on 20 January, 1997.

The tributes that poured in after his death indicated just how well liked and respected he was in the district.

He was cremated and his ashes buried next to a large rock on some high ground looking towards Wagga, a town he had gown to love.

Roslyn Joyce Oliver

Harvey and Roslyn [around 1945?]

Roslyn was born 5 April, 1943, in Tamworth, NSW.

Because of the age difference, I had little to do with her in those early years (boys just did not play with baby sisters!).

I do remember we had a little dog called "Darky". A pup that was a ball of fur in her arms. One day a man walked by with some greyhounds, and one of the dogs raced in and tried to take the pup from her arms. She may have been only 2 years old, and only pint-sized beside the greyhound, but she would not let go, and eventually Mum (or us) got there and were able to beat off the dog.

That same determination (that Oliver trait, again?) has been evident throughout her life, as various crisis have arisen.

She married Derek Edward Pallister in Sydney on 8 Dec 1962.

They eventually had four children, Steven, Mark, Rodney, and Kaylene.

They lived in various places, Sydney, Melbourne, and Sydney again, before eventually following me west.

Roslyn as a teenager.

While living in Bunbury, they again started to learn about the Mormon Church and eventually became members.

They now live in retirement at Bridgetown in the southwest of Western Australia, where they have several acres on which to enjoy (?) there country lifestyle.


Roslyn and Derek Pallister.