Saturday, April 17, 2010

Beneath Hill 60 Premier

This week the movie premiered in Townsville where it was shot last year.

It interests me because it is a bit of lesser-known Australian history and because I have a need-to-know.
Dad's Uncle Thomas (click for more information) was a tunneller in the war.  He was recruited in Tasmania where he was a miner.  He suffered from mustard gas poisoning twice in Belgium and was repatriated home to Tassy. He died a few days before the Armistice was signed.

In his last weeks of life, the Australian Defence Force denied Thomas' application for a pension.  They (whoever "they" are) claimed that his "rheumatism" was a pre-existing illness even though they gave him a clean bill of health when he signed up only two years earlier.  This information is in his records which are accessible from the Australian Archives online.  Was this an injustice?  I believe so.

Brave, fit men signed up, compelled by noble motives, to do a dangerous, frightening and dirty job which took them far from their loved ones.  To return, frail and ill, traumatised and dying and be denied a pension by a penny-pinching government - that's betrayal.

Maybe the movie will fill in some gaps for me.

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Townsville, Queensland, Australia
I have worked as a Biology lab assistant, Pathology lab assistant, geochem lab assistant, land tenure researcher, hospital and prison chaplain, parish care coordinator and part owner of a small business. I have studied some science (no degrees) and have a theology and a chaplaincy certificate. I still love science of all types and enjoy studying theology. Science and theology belong together. At present I am a work-at-home Grannysaurus.

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