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31/ 1/ 1927 – 23/11/2020
The death of his much-loved brother in a bombing raid over Germany and the desire for a new life after the war sent John to Australia on a £10 assisted package.
The catalyst to leave Scotland was a poster in a travel agency showing a young couple in bathers walking on a beach in Australia while he sat on a double decker bus in snowy Glasgow.
On arrival he started his new life as a tram driver in Melbourne where he met his wife, Olive. She was from Mackay and was a conductor on the tram on a working holiday to the UK with a girlfriend. John was escaping Europe whereas Olive wanted to experience it.
They stayed in Melbourne and led an active social life with a group of Poms and Irish John met on the boat to Australia. At the same time, they built and educated a family of six children who they were immensely proud of.
He was an inspiration to his children and grandchildren. He worked hard and tirelessly for his family and didn’t have a bad or jealous bone in his body. He just got on with life, loved life, loved being around people and worked to live. He was an Australian in habits but always a proud Scot. He moved the family from Armadale to Ferntree Gully, because the Victorian houses in Armadale reminded him of the slums of Glasgow. The Gully was an idyllic place to live in 1958; open paddocks unmade roads and wildlife at the door. He loved his brand-new brick veneer house and later his swimming pool. The pool and an outdoor life were things he embraced until his passing. Black skin against his silver hair, shorts and thongs were his preferred garb.
He went to his grave unable to understand how the slums he left in Armadale had become so popular. He thought the buyers were crazy and never waivered from his decision to move. When his son David bought the old Armadale dairy he told everyone that he should be certified mad.
The three bedroom house (later four) strained to cope with six children, more so when Olive’s mother arrived from Queensland to live. Then it was at breaking point when his mother and sister (with baby) arrived from Glasgow to live. The extended Italian families had nothing on John’s brood. However, nothing was a problem, he was unflappable, and a second job meant he had more work colleagues to interact with.
He was far from the dour scot, he was forever mischievous, irreverent, and the most funny of men until his last breath. Always high, never down and with a repartee that required you to be on your toes to protect yourself when he was around. During his near 30 years of retirement he was content to sit in the sun and watch life around him and at night always one small dram of scotch, before bed.
May his dear soul rest in peace.
David, Angela, Saul and Ward.
Publication: Herald Sun
Originally published on: My Tributes