Welcome to the Second edition of the Gunners Gallery - Published October 2010.
This supplement features the creative works of 106 Battery veterans and their families. Arts and craft,
photography, poetry and prose etc. are displayed here and updated regularly.
If you wish to be involved in this project, please email your masterpieces or enquiries to email@example.com
The first edition of the Gunners Gallery has been archived and is still available to be veiwed by clicking the following link:
http://www.106secondtour.org/gunners_gallery_1st_ed.php (published September 2010)
"RENMARK SERIES #337" by Jayne Berriman
If the power of a man is forged somewhere deep within that misty labyrinth
that welds the memories of his past to his hopes for the future, then his memories
either hold him down or form the pool from where his greater strengths are drawn.
Awaken, awaken arise from your sleep
your anchor forsaken condemned to the deep,
those black dogs of sundown that keep you subdued,
will scatter defeated you will be renewed
There’s a face in the mirror; a boy I used to know;
I recall we disconnected almost 40 years ago.
He could write a tender love song; there were sweet things in his head
but the lies & smoke made his words a joke and better left unsaid.
Has he come here to haunt me, are there issues to resolve
will the vision stay & taunt me, or eventually dissolve,
into the sun –where we’ll be as one – when morning comes?
I regret the day I left him at the arc of sand and stone
in the midst of all that mayhem standing naked and alone.
His face was soaked in sorrow, a confused unwilling whore,
while our howitzer spat venom blasting holes in heaven’s door.
Has he come here to haunt me, or to offer some reprieve;
a face of truth from a distant youth and the nights we were deceived?
Firing that gun – praying peace would be done – when morning comes.
Awaken awaken arise from your sleep, your anchor forsaken condemned to the deep,
those black dogs of sundown that keep you subdued,
will scatter defeated you will be renewed
He was born to be an artist, his canvas brushed in song,
till his palette spilled as it overfilled with the blood of Viet Cong.
Forsaken in his purpose, he surrendered all he knew,
for a homeland that betrayed him when the comforting was due.
We were never there in malice, we held no mortal grudge,
it was answer to this mindless call or answer to a judge.
Will they heal harm been done – to Australian sons - when morning comes?
He’s a solemn apparition, with a vacuum in his eyes;
in a pure act of contrition I confess I know why.
His heart was drained of love songs, silenced by the sword,
when he gave his hands to a fools demands he breached his own accord.
Has he come here to haunt me or to hopefully re-affirm;
We’ll be one again as we were then and love songs will return
When morning comes? When my morning comes – when morning comes.
"TWO MEN IN A TINNY" by Jayne Berriman
We were on the Mary River
At a place called Shady Camp,
Me and Wazza chasing barra
When the weather came on damp.
We were just about to pack up
And get out of the rain
When Wazza’s line just took off
You should have seen the strain.
That fish came out the water
And landed with a whack
I said “Mayor of Hiroshima,
What the ‘beep’ was that?”
That barra was a yard long
And a foot thick if an inch
But Wazza kept the pressure up
He didn’t even flinch.
He played that fish for hours
It fair kept him on his toes
I said, “You’d better hurry Mate
The season’s nearly closed.
At the moment of his glory
When he got that fish on land,
The ranger on the far bank said
“Would you boys like a hand?
You know it’s ten past closing time
So you’ll throw it back, Old Mate.”
“You can bite your arse”, says Wazza,
“This is goin on my plate”.
“You realise I can book you
And go before the beak
For fishing out of season
And givin me such cheek.”
“Fair go Old Mate”, I said,
“Give a bloke a go.
Waz was in a hurry
But the bloody fish was slow”.
“No matter, it’s illegal Son,
I’m gonna book you both,
But I’ve gotta cross this river
And I haven’t got a boat.
However, there’s a bridge down stream
Just near the boundary fence,
I’ll be across there shortly
To collect the evidence”.
So we went to all the camps around
Inviting all and sundry
To come on back to our place,
For some chips and barramundi.
We filleted and skinned it,
Threw the frame back to the gators
And Waz commenced to fry it up
Along with sliced potatoes.
By the time that ranger came in sight
Some time round half past two,
We’d polished off the barra
And cleaned the plates up too.
“Alright, where’s that barra boys?
I’ve got you dead to rights,
I’m gonna find that bugga
Even if it takes all night”.
“What barra? There’s no barra,
Ask any man in here.
We’ve been quietly telling yarns all day
And sipping on a beer”.
“But I saw the thing, I saw it!”
Cried the ranger, all in vain.
“Well you’re seeing things,” said Wazza,
“Pull your head in out the rain.
Copyright Patrick Gibbons
"CERAMIC FORM" by Alan Johnston
THREE SOX TO A PAIR
by Michael Berriman
I have dozens of sox, for work and play
Do you think I match them, easy you say?
I have odd sox in colours and so many black
To match two odd black feet, now that is the knack!
Too light, too holey, too dressy or plain bad
I can’t find a match for the pair that I had
To play a few holes I need shoes and a pair
But not having sox, well it’s not all that fair
You would think after years, an issue it’s not
After so many birthdays a pair I have not
I think that the problem starts deep in my drawer
My sox got on better when they lived on the floor
I know that the washer eats my sox every time
It avoids the wife’s frillies and munches on mine
My sox come out mangled, oh yes very clean
I’d love to throw rocks at that dammed white machine
When I play golf I mix them, - a blue and a green
Such a sartorial golfer the world’s never seen
It helps zip with the score, I’m as bad as the rest
If I had a matched pair, I’d be as good as the best
The answer is this; I need three sox a pair
Another solution that would not be fair
I could lose one a pair and still manage a grin
What an elegant golfer, as I chip for the pin
So please read my press and prepare to donate
Your odd sox you have before it’s too late
If you give me your odds I will make three a pair
And play golf thrice weekly with never a care
"RENMARK SERIES # 010" by Jayne Berriman
by Alan Johnston
How I found myself standing in our lounge, ironing, trying to succeed as a
househusband, is a story for another day. My mind was wandering all over the place but kept returning to a common theme, my need to be in a forest. Which forest and where did not seem to matter. Finally something in me snapped. I grabbed a few clothes, threw them in my trusty old Nissan Urvan pop-top and headed for the forest. After travelling for sometime along Morley Drive, it finally dawned on me that at the very least I needed to decide which forest I was going to visit. So it was back home to start all over again.
When I arrived home, I decided to ring The Conservation Council for information about our forests and which one might offer me the most for a short visit. I spoke to a woman, Beth Shultz, who thought she knew what I was on about. I just wished I could make sense out of it.
It seems the local media had for weeks been carrying stories about a group of protesters disrupting the logging of an area of old growth Karri forest near Pemberton. The area was known as Giblet Block.
That must be it. She gave me the number of a bloke to contact when I arrived in Pemberton. He would give me directions to the protesters camp. Now I knew where I was going…. why I was going is another question altogether.
I have no memory of my trip to Pemberton. Notwithstanding the confused state I must have been in, I arrived safely very late in the afternoon.
I rang my wife to tell her I was in Pemberton and would not be home tonight. I am sure she would have asked why. What could I have told her? My mind was a mess. I was confused and still didn’t understand what was happening to me.
That day and the events that followed now raise very strong and conflicting emotions within me.
I didn’t know it at the time, but it was the beginning of the end of my wonderful near perfect marriage. That I hurt my partner of some 30 years, so badly, remains the greatest regret in my life.
However, it was also the first day of a long journey, a journey I am still on today. Along the way I have found an inner strength that has helped me better cope with the consequences of my service in Vietnam. Would I have found that strength had I chosen to ignore the call of the forest is anyone’s guess.
What now? I was parked opposite the local pub and my first thought was to head inside, get pissed, and sleep it off in my van. Surely when a new day dawns I’ll be back to good old Al.
However, before heading for the pub, I decided to ring for directions to the protesters camp. Having been given directions, I again decided that as it was almost dark, the pub still seemed the best option for the rest of the evening.
As I stood outside the phone booth, I heard a woman in the next booth mention Giblet Block. What the hell! I had come this far, why not wait around and ask her a few questions about the protest camp.
While I waited for her, I had the urge to bolt for the pub. Did I really want to find out about the protesters? Surely I didn’t belong in the forest! My place was back in Perth with my family. But what if there was a reason for following my gut instinct to this point.
I am sure these must have been some of the questions that would have been flying around in my head. I decided to wait and meet the woman. Then I would go to the pub.
Had I bolted, I would not have become friends with an amazing woman, Hermanie, her partner and hundreds of men and women like them. As time passed, I met protesters from all walks of life, from every state and territory of Australia and more countries than you would imagine.
After a short yarn about the protesters, I told Hermanie how I found myself to be in Pemberton and my plans for the rest of the evening. Her response, ‘’If you don’t go tonight you never will.”
She suggested I get in my van and follow her to the protesters camp. About then a van pulled up nearby. A psychedelic hippie van probably best describes the van.
Was this the vehicle I was going to follow into a pitch-black forest? Yes it was.
Did I follow and did I wholeheartedly join the protesters in the fight to save our magnificent old growth Karri forest? Yes I did.
That fight and what followed is also a story for another day.
"RAVENSWOOD DRAGONFLIES" by Colin Montfort
THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY BLUE
by Deric [Ric] Liddelow
It was ANZAC Day 2009
Drabs, Ric and Gibbo marched.
And by the time they finished
The boys were somewhat parched.
They went out the Barracks
To have a drink or two
With Humey, Heppo, Hugh and Hick
And of course our old mate Blue.
Drabs and Ric they pooled their dough
When the call was “Come in Spinner”
The heads came up three times for us,
“Hey mate we’re on a winner”.
Then Crown and Anchor started up
They edged in through the crowd.
Drabs caught Ric betting on the side
“Bloody Ando would be proud"
The next day all the troops went ‘round
To the home of T and Drabs.
They served up fish and sausages
And maybe twenty slabs.
We sat around and talked about
The things we used to do.
“Hey Gibbo tell the “Barra” yarn”
But he was too pissed to.
You would have thought they’d had enough
But the third day they kept drinking.
“How about a drop of Whiskey Mate”
“No worries Ric good thinking”.
Drab’s headed for his best supplies
And grabbed the Johnny Blue
But lurking near the kitchen sink
Was Mrs you-know-who.
“You’re giving Ric the Johnny Blue
So he can mix some coke-in”?
“That stuff is like pure liquid gold
You must be bloody joking”.
Drabs pondered this dilemma,
As he filled up Ric’s tall glass
Then he measured his reply.
“Couldn’t give a red rat’s arse”
“I’m sure you love him more than me”
Said Theresa quite upset.
But Drabs just smiled and said to her,
“Of course luv he’s a Vet”.
Now Pat and Gibbo thought that they
Would try to lend-a-hand-in
Clearing up what they thought was,
“A slight misunderstanding”.
The storm it soon abated
And they made up with a kiss.
This was then the cue for us
To get back on the piss.
Now whenever Ric comes over,
And Theresa’s tucked in bed.
The boys sit ‘round and reminisce
With a glass of Johnny Red!
"PERCEPTIONS RISING" by Alan Johnston
by Colin Montfort
Heaviest shelling we have yet experienced kept us in dugout all day, and many shells made our dugout shake. One shell landed on the path at the entrance of the dugout but fortunately it was a dud and a yellowish looking smoke issued out from it which made us don our gas masks and I noticed a bullet hole through the air tube on mine, however it wasn’t a gas shell.................................
....................The Japs had made a landing on the West Coast which meant we had to get out ..........did not have a truck for the gun so we had to destroy it..... marched back about 4 miles......met 3 artillery chaps[2/15th I think], who were in the same plight as us, so we decided we would walk and try to find our respective headquarters. We were being shelled, so as soon as it eased we set off......... we found a rubber harbour with a lot of abandoned vehicles. The first one we checked still had the ignition keys inside and only one of the dual wheels punctured, so.....we set off...could only use 3rd gear but we moved as fast as that gear would let us. At Bukit Timah....I met Dick......hadn’t heard of him since Ayer Hitam.........In a home near the gun I discovered a piano and had about ½ hour of nerve settling playing. In the afternoon we were caught in a heavy bombing raid............................................................”
from Alf Montfort’s War Diaries 1941-1945
You couldn’t say,
“That was just another lame piano
orphaned in unholy times
and left alone
without a flag
to hail the Japanese onslaught.......
in a smouldering kampong
just off Bukit Timah Rd.”
Alf was there,
on the tenth day of February
the rub of chance........
a fluke of war........
so far away from context........
pounding those orphan teeth........
drenched in steamed adrenalin
in the space between bombardments.
Inside a treble clef,
or any clef
flowers into shades.......
surges to and fro
connecting dotted neurons........
circuit links and song lines
when stretched around a bend........
a major chord slips
augmented or diminished........
a rhapsody so tragic
to a marshmallow hymn.
And every piano
from that day on
at least when Alf was in its seat
as a shrine
from a smouldering kampong
to the twang of tender heart strings.
Alf died in November
but the image lingers
in clouds of understatement
where battle cries