Stu's Stories as at 2022

6 | P a g e Stuart Leon Oliver A brief history I was born in Tamworth, New South Wales, Australia, 26 June, 1934, to Arthur James Oliver and Dorothy Irene Oliver (nee Sneddon). My first recollections take place about 1940, just after the start of the Second World War. Although it did not enter my mind as to why my father was not at the War, I did know that I had an Uncle fighting in Egypt. I recollect him coming home on leave when the Japanese entered the War and Australians were brought home from Europe to fight the Japanese in the Islands to the north of Australia. My father’s two brothers also saw service in New Guinea. I learned later that my father did everything in his power to join up, but he, like many others, was manpowered to keep industry running at home. The war did not mean much to us kids, as we did not know the struggle that went on around us to get enough to eat and clothe everyone. Ration tickets allowed only very small amounts of food and clothing. My elder brother, Brian, and I simply enjoyed ourselves... building air-raid shelters in which to throw ourselves when mock air-raids were carried out. (Tamworth was considered a prime target because of the huge airfield which was home to both training squadrons and fighter squadrons). I used to find it fascinating to watch the groups of fighters flying low overhead. Every now and then you would see one suddenly fall as if it were going to crash on top of us. Tamworth is notorious for "air pockets" and as the planes entered these pockets they would just drop like stones until they were through. By the time I was about seven, Brian (2 years older), myself, and sometimes another friend or two would spend our weekends out in the bush trapping rabbits. Today I see trapping as extremely cruel, but in those days it meant the difference between eating meat or not eating meat. Although, by today’s standards, we must have seemed extremely young to be wandering the bush at night (we usually went around the traps 2-3 times through the night), it was considered quite safe then. I remember we would average about 7d (7c) a pound for the rabbit skins, and the carcases we did not need we would sell round the neighbourhood for 6d (5c) each. Everybody was grateful for the extra meat on the table, and we made good pocket money. TV and the like were unheard of then, and kids made their own fun. Another popular past-time of ours was to visit an old quarry site on the edge of town and toboggan down the rough clay slopes using old bits of tin or old car mudguards as sleds. This practice saw many a gravel rash and the occasional broken bone.