Category Archives: Australia

My family’s Anzac Story – Part 3

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Tomorrow’s Anzac Day is a special one for my family. Tomorrow we remember and say thank you to my great grand father.

His name was Alexander Menzies Kippen. He left Brisbane as part of the 9th infantry battalion in September 1914.

He landed as part of the first wave of soldiers at Gallipoli. He survived. He survived the boat trip, the landing, the run up the beach, the digging of trenches and the below ground life that followed. He lived through the fear, the sweat, the grief of loss and managed to return home to build a life.

For that service, I am thankful. For Australia, I am thankful. I am grateful to the Turkish people for welcoming Australians (descendants of the Anzacs amount them) to their beautiful country in peace.

My mother has been on the Gallipoli peninsula and surrounds the last week. Isn’t it fabulous that Australians can go and pay their respects to soldiers of both sides of the Gallipoli conflict by travelling in safety and peace.

Tomorrow, on Anzac Day, I’ll have miniature replicas of my great grandfather’s medals on my jacket. To say thank you. You are not forgotten.

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”

My family’s Anzac Story – Part 2

The women of WW2 were integral to many aspects of Australia’s success abroad and the subsequent recovery at home. They contributed to Australia’s war effort and picked up the pieces of shattered lives afterwards.

My nanna was one of those women. She commenced full time military service at age 18. She worked in Signals, transmitting messages across the globe wherever Australia had personnel. In the “previous experience” section of her enlistment, she included “home duties” and her high school certificate. Her military record is scanned and as I read the faded yellow pages with torn edges, it seems like she had a whole other life.

A life of service, mystery and a little cheekiness. She was 18 and in love with a man fighting on the front lines of Asia. There were secret messages sent to him via her Signals connections. My grandparents stayed in contact throughout their war service and married after they were discharged. They had four babies and stayed together their whole lives.

Katherine Kippen was promoted to Sargent in October of ’43. There are no records of her saving fellow officers lives under fire or any such thing. There are lists of promotions and locations of Signals bases she was stationed.

What her military record can’t ever show is what an incredible woman she was. She was complex, determined, strict, soft, traditional and forward thinking all at the same time. There are a few things she said to me over my life that I will never forget and i will share some of them with you today.

“Don’t give yourself too readily or they’ll never respect you”
I was a teenager crying over some boy at her kitchen table. I was a bit shocked that she said this, but we went on to discuss it for a while. She looked in my eyes and was always gave me her full attention. “You’re worth more than that” were some of the statements in that conversation.

“Katherine doesn’t need to get married. She’ll be right either way”
This comment was delivered with a flap of her hand as she laid in a hospital bed as I was being teased by an aunty for not getting married and going to university to study the environment. She was known for her traditional values, inherited from her predecessors, but with one remark she silenced the room. Gosh I adored her.

“Do what you love”
Pretty self explanatory.

AS she aged and her body refused to participate in her life as readily as she expected, I could see her suffering. My partner and i would visit. They would sit at her kitchen table and talk about sports for ages – tennis, cricket, football. She was a mad sports follower. They got on well. I did a bit of cleaning up during these talks and she always, always thanked me in a way that made everything feel good. She was never over the top but she readily opened her arms an held me close.

Yes, she was number Q142241, and more.

Kath Dyne photo page 3 of 9

My family’s Anzac story- Part 1

Poppa's jungle hammock

In the week leading up to this year’s Anzac Day commemorations, I am sharing some of my family’s story. I will be one person in a crowd at a service this Saturday, crying beneath their sunglasses, like many others. I grieve every Anzac Day and miss my grandparents, but I am grateful for the freedoms we are granted because of their sacrifice. Even if you are against Australia’s current campaigns, I ask you to look around at our beautiful country and be grateful.

This is my Poppa’s jungle hammock he carried throughout WW2. He was awarded the mIlitary Medal. The citation reads, ‘This NCO has given consistent proof of his gallantry and devotion to duty during the New Guinea Campaign. During the BUNA action Sgt Dyne was commanding a section when his Pl [platoon] Cmd [commander] and senior NCO’s became casualties; he took over command of the Pl and displayed great leadership in moving the Pl forward under heavy fire to a position from where he was able to bring fire to bear on the enemies’ flank; although the platoon suffered heavy casualties he refused to withdraw – his action played an important part in that phase of the battle. During the SOPUTA action Dyne again took over command of 13 Platoon when his Pl Comd was killed; in this action and again at SANANANDA he displayed great personal courage: his leadership, initiative and energy had a marked effect upon all those under his command.’. Suffering from malaria throughout his service, Sergeant Dyne continued to serve with the 2/12th Battalion in its campaigns in Papua New Guinea and Borneo. Sergeant Dyne received his discharge on 27 November 1945.

Sandstone Track, Toohey Forest, Queensland

A nice morning adventure through a quality woodland habitat
A nice morning adventure through a quality woodland habitat

Toohey Forest is just a few minutes’ drive south of Brisbane city and easily accessible via public transport. There are picnic tables, toilets and shady car parks.

The 780 m Sandstone Track is a relatively flat, easy walk with few steps, suitable for toddlers. The path is fine gravel. It comprises a couple of lookouts and a small loop section.

This level and wide walking track good for little feet
This level and wide walking track good for little feet

The beautiful dry woodland habitat provides a good mix of fallen timber for climbing and balancing acts. Exposed bush rocks prove great for jumping.

The woodland ground storey is great for tactile engagement - rough, smooth, prickly, shiny and fantastic!

The woodland ground storey is great for tactile engagement – rough, smooth, prickly, shiny and fantastic!

The vegetation offers various tactile stimulation opportunities with a variety of tree and shrub species, raspy leaves, colourful wild flowers, crunchy ground cover. Many common bird species can be spotted on the walk, as well as small spiders and insects.

Rocks for exploring and attractive lookouts feature in this walk

Rocks for exploring and attractive lookouts feature in this walk

The lookouts are not fenced so we held hands in these areas. We did this walk in Autumn and it was quite dry, however this walk would be especially lovely in Spring when more flowers are in bloom.

Loving the birdsong and dappled light throughout Toohey Forest

Loving the birdsong and dappled light throughout Toohey Forest

A great walk for the family and the length is perfect for little people. My toddler loved balancing on logs, climbing the rocks, finding friendly spiders in holes, bird watching and crunching through the dry understorey! This walk makes a nice morning out when combined with a picnic lunch and snacks on-the-go.

Bellbird Grove – Brisbane Forest Park and D’Aguilar National Park

Quality creek exploration
Quality creek exploration

Brisbane residents are super lucky to have this wonderful place only 25 minutes from CBD.

The Turrbal Loop Circuit is an easy walk comprising a few wide steps, boardwalk and a soft path suitable for toddlers. It is 1.7 km long, so depending on the age of your children, some carrying may be involved (more on how we rock the forest coming soon- stay tuned). From the beautiful Rose Gum Picnic Area, the track winds through flooded gums and continues along Cedar Creek.

The vegetation is beautiful, ranging from woodland with a grassy understorey to wet riparian mixed forest with a shaded, herbaceous ground layer. I even saw basal leaves of ground orchids today (hooray)!

Walk on one track, or both to add distance.
Walk on one track, or both to add distance.

This very nice walk offers small children a range of sensory experiences including steps, boardwalk, bridge crossings, stone paths, pebbly beaches, crystal clear water, tadpoles, insects, fallen debris, colourful leaves, forest fruits (like red lilly pilly berries), bellbirds, birdsong and river rocks.

Cedar Creek is perfect for water play
Cedar Creek is perfect for water play

Facilities include undercover and outdoor picnic tables, bbq’s, toilets, water and open grassy areas.