Yesterday was a free day at our reunion and Jill and I rented a car and drove up to the little towns of Melany and Montville inland from the Sunshine Coast.
We left Brisbane by 8.30 and were in Melany for a late breakfast at 10.00. It is a quaint little town with a distinct village atmosphere and it is very ‘green’. Some time ago Woolworths built a supermarket in the town in some contentious circumstances. Not only did they use some land by the creek where platypus had lived, but a supermarket didn’t really fit into the local environment. This caused a large community protest and many people are still wearing badges and stickers saying ‘I don’t shop there’.
Montville is a little town, somewhat similar to Olinda in the Dandenong Ranges near Melbourne. We spent a few hours visiting the local galleries and shops. Most were a bit ‘girlie’ for me, but I suppose there are some people who like all that ‘cottage clutter’.
Sunday started with a memorial service at the Vietnam Memorial in the Roma Street Parklands. It was a very fitting and formal commemoration of our 40th anniversary. I was asked to read a scripture reading, others read prayers and we read out the list of 43 men from the unit who have died during or after their service in Vietnam. A special component of the service was a tribute to Owen Wheeler. He was the ‘father’ of the platoon having gone over in the initial party, and with experience from WWII and Korea, he provided a lot of emotional and practical support to the young troops around him.
We finished our reunion tonight with a dinner dance.