John never returned to the farm. For a lad that had left school at 14 with very limited education he did exceptionally well. He worked for TAA and then Ansett. On retirement he was in charge of the maintenance staff at Ansett which was responsible for the safety and upkeep of their fleet.

Alex jnr, Alex snr, John

Alex, Jean, Betty, Grace, John Alex and Mary Don, Bruce, Margaret and Rowly

Grace, John and Jean

Betty with friends ?? Grace 2 mates from manitions in Adelaide and Jean

Frieda was a very supportive wife of John and they shared lots of travel and activities. John was a scoutmaster when the kids were young and Frieda his “secretary.” Deryk loved the farm and most Christmas holidays he would fly from Sydney to spend at “Blair Athol” with his WA kin. As an adult he used to ride across on motor bike. He still lives in Sydney with his lovely Scottish wife Linda.

Carol became a teacher and she too migrated to the West. She eventually married and settled here and had two sons Paul and Tim. They have both married and they and their partners and Tim’s four littlies keep Carol happily on her toes.

Alex junior was from all accounts a wholly terror as a child and the bane of his mother’s life. He was also his dad’s favourite and was called “Sonny”. Sonny was very quick witted and had a very mischievous streak. He was ambidextrous and would swing a tennis racket from one hand to the other. When he tried it at lawn bowls as a senior it was not an acceptable manoeuvre! Alex joined the Army in 1941 and saw service in New Guinea and Morotai and was discharged in 1945. When he first joined up a neighbour who had served in World War 1 and now held rank of Captain was on the interviewing panel to decide what category the new recruits were to serve. He gave Alex a big wrap to his fellow panellists, “This lad was the son of respected citizens and well known to him etc.” On wondering how ambitious Alex was, the colonel in charge asked Alex what he wanted to be when he returned home from the war. Alex replied, “A returned soldier sir.” He promptly got designated to the INFANTRY. He eventually was in the motor bike squad and became a reconnaissance rider. I don’t know if there was any connection, but this is when he gained the nick name WRECKER and it stuck with him till the day he died. (He probably wrecked the motor bikes he was entrusted to ride!) One time, Alex and his cousin Wattie Thomson almost caused an international incident. They had acquired a mountain devil as a pet (a small dragon like native lizard with spikes). The American servicemen were fascinated with this little creature. Our boys then lined matchboxes with cotton wool and inserted six double-gees (a very noxious prickle) in each box. They then sold them to the Yanks as MOUNTAIN DEVIL EGGS and charged 6/- a box. They advised the Yanks to keep the “eggs” in the refrigerator on the ship home to prevent them from hatching before they got to the U.S.A.

House on farm 1950s

 

When the war was over Alex returned home but even though the family had purchased another farm adjoining “Blair Athol” he declined. Instead he and his newly wed bride opted to share farm at Kellerberrin. He married Lesley Durack daughter of one of the Durack family of North West renown. Les and Alex had two daughters Gwen and Kerry and they were an integral part of the Thomson clan. Eventually the family moved to a farm in Gidgeganup and finally to Perth where Alex worked as an escort driver for the trucks carrying mining equipment. His area was from the SA border to the North West. If anyone wanted to know how far it was to a certain destination he would quote “so and so many cans”! He was extremely popular and old acquaintances were always happy to catch up.

Gwen and Kerry both married and carved out well paid careers. Gwen has retired and lives in Queensland and is in constant touch with family. Our beautiful Kerry has sadly passed away. She had one daughter Kylie.

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