My mother was from Queensland and met my father during the war. After I was born they stayed here for 12 or 15 months and then we moved to Queensland. We lived there until 1957, when the family decided to come back to Perth. My brother and myself came over with my father. My father drove to Perth from Townsville, where we were living at that time. It was just, like, a bit of an adventure, something to look forward to.
At the time, though I didn’t know it, apparently mum and dad had spoken about leaving my brother (who came over with us in the car) with my grandmother on a permanent basis. That was a bit of a shock, when I found out a couple of years ago. I mean, there was nothing wrong with him but he was a bit of a trouble maker in some ways, a bit more for mum to handle than the rest of us, just a bit more difficult. He would have been eight at the time. He and I used to fight a fair bit, and that continued for a long time; we’re only 14 months apart and we’re quite different in many ways.
I used to feel a bit favoured sometimes. He used to cop the wrath of my father, who could be pretty violent. I mean, we all got it to some extent but he used to get physical. You’d call it abuse these days. Dad had some anger management issues that I think were a result of the war. He didn’t hold back sometimes. He was in the army for a short while and then in the merchant navy. He travelled all around Singapore and Malaya, all in the Indian Ocean. I don’t think he saw battle or anything but a lot of the bad things he saw during the war as a whole affected him. I think he may also have felt that his efforts during the war weren’t appreciated. I think at the end he felt – “what did I do that for”.
When he first got married he and my mum were renting a small grocery store in North Fremantle and I don’t think it went very well and I think they had to live with my grandparents for a while. My grandmother in North Fremantle then died two weeks before I was born. Before she died she had a dream that my mother had a son and his name was Terence Brian. So when I was born, guess what name I got?
Did you know that story already?
Yes, Grandma used to like telling it!