On the morning of my departure from Sydney an email notification hits the spot. Where do you come from? A post by Carla Coulson, http://carlacoulson.com it stops me in my tracks. Food for thought on a very long, 30 hour trip door to door from my native Australia to my home on the Greek Island of Lesvos. This trip has been the longest time I have spent to date in Australia since my departure in 1983. Although it has been more than hectic, it has been a fabulous trip. The launch of my latest book, My Greek Island Home http://www.penguin.com.au/lantern/life-style/books/my-greek-island-home has been a wonderful experience and introduced me to lots of new creative friends, Carla has been one of them. Old friends do not be worried, you are all so special and all very creative too and I enjoy our time together enormously. Spending time with my family when I’m in Sydney also means a lot to me. On my latest visit my Dad gave me an A5 envelope containing some of his father’s documents to read. These are some of Dad’s treasures and I felt very privileged to have them handed over to me. My Grandfather, John Joseph Lloyd started an apprenticeship in 1921 on Cockatoo Island. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cockatoo_Island My Dad, Mum, Matthew and I took a ferry ride across Sydney harbour to Cockatoo Island as Dad was keen to show me where my Grandfathers working life began. This was something we had discussed doing on several occasions. It was such a beautiful summers day, the perfect day for such a trip. Cockatoo Island is a fascinating place and walking around the grounds and seeing all the old buildings reminded us of such a different life and time. It was a great thing to do with Dad as he told me the stories he remembered being told of his father’s time there, we guessed which of the buildings he may have worked in. My Grandfather John or Jack as he was called married my Grandmother Mary in 1926, they were both 20 years of age. My grandfather left Cockatoo to go to the war in November 1940. He served for 1,118 days, 744 of these were spent outside Australia. When he arrived back to his family his thick black hair had turned completely white and he was missing his left arm. He was refused his job back at Cockatoo Island and he took legal action. The case went to court and my Grandfather won, however he didn’t go back on principal. Sadly my Grandfather died just 8 months before I was born, he was 50. My Grandmother always told me how much he would have loved me and I believed her. Walking around the Island with my Dad made me wonder about the hopes and dreams of a young boy starting his life as an apprentice and wishing I had had him physically in my life. So Carla’s question, where do you come from reminded me of the trip I took with my Dad only a week, to the day before. Thank you Carla for that thought provoking question. Below some photos of our trip to Cockatoo.
My wonderful Dad