Monday, November 12, 2007

I knew I'd find one eventually!

A sleepy koala up a gum tree!
This cuddly fellow was in a tree right above the church carpark on Sunday morning. It was very patriotic of him because we'd just finished our Remembrance Day service. World War I ended on 11.11. 1918 and every year on that date we observe a minute of silence at 11 o'clock as a tribute to the "diggers", those Anzac soldiers who had died in action on either the Turkish coast at Gallipoli Cove or later, in France. This year, as Remembrance Day happened to fall on a Sunday, we had a very touching service. The children all stayed in the main auditorium instead of going out to Sunday School and as it approached 11.00, we were all given sprigs of rosemary to place on the altar out the front in honour of those WWI soldiers. Rosemary is traditionally used for remembrance and apparently it grows in profusion around Gallipoli.
It was especially meaningful to me this year because one of my ongoing projects has been typing out my father's hand-written genealogy for him. My grandfather was part of the 10th Battalion of Australian soldiers. He'd enlisted shortly after the horrendous Gallipoli campaign had been aborted. Then he was stationed in Egypt and later France. As I typed the details of that terrible War, the conditions these soldiers had to bear for month after month were brought home to me. The gruelling marches, living in trenches, being ordered out to that piece of ground between the trenches known as "No Man's Land," where so many young men were machine gunned down. I think that 1914-18 War must be one of the most barbarous of World History. And I look at my two boys and think, "If they'd been born just about a century earlier, this might have been them." The sight of all the unmarked graves in the poppy fields is always sobering.
My grandfather had been fast and fit and he'd been a "runner"; one of those soldiers whose job was to sprint and deliver messages from one officer to another. He'd had to wear a gas mask, and found it difficult to sprint full pelt without being able to draw a decent breath. The rubber of the masks had given him chronic sinusitis and rhinitus. Of course, I can't help thinking that if my grandfather had been killed in action, neither me nor my children would be alive today! How interesting to acknowledge God's hand of protection on our own lives before we were even born.
We finished up with singing "Advance Australia Fair." To me, national anthems are always tear-jerkers whenever I hear them, no matter whose they are. So seeing this gorgeous koala was fantastic! Immediately I cried, "I've got to have him for my blog!" and we happened to have the camera with us, because it was also Emma's birthday. (More about that later)


  1. I love koalas! How cool that you snapped a picture of one.

  2. Neat! A koala!
    I hope you had a nice day for Remembrance Day. We celebrate Veteran's Day on the 11th. My late father-in-law was stationed in the South Pacific with the Army Corps of Engineers. I used to love hearing him talk about his adventures. Always miss him on Veteran's Day and Memorial Day.

    By the way, Marina is trying again to rebuild the wall.
    Peace and Laughter,

  3. First, let me say that I laughed out loud when I read that you immediately thought of your blog when you saw the koala! Just yesterday, I told my husband "I think there's a blog in this!" (For more on that thought, see my blog)

    Thanks so much for sharing these photos! I grew up surrounded by koalas - my mom collected them. I once bought my mom a big mirror with a koala painted on it - it hung above our fireplace for years. We loved the Quantas Air ads on TV with the sleepy koala. How fun to actually see a real koala in a tree - at church!

    I loved this post. I can understand how your genealogy project would make this Remembrance Day all that more special. And I liked reading how that day is observed. How amazing it must be, reading actual accounts written by your father. I'm so thankful the Lord kept him safe - for many reasons! And, like you, I often cry when I hear a country's anthem.

    Happy Birthday to Emma!

    Enjoyed this post!

  4. Here Paula,

    I found a site that looks for out of print books. I don't know if you tried it or not for the Jean Ure book, but it was one I hadn't seen before. You type in the book info and they search and e-mail their results to you. I have looked on my other out of print sites and didn't find it. :o(

    I'll still keep looking!
    Peace and Laughter,