Family is an integral part of the Landon story and according to Lorraine, it's all because of her mother. "Mum is the reason our family is so close and caring of each other and she was committed to keeping us together."
Lorraine is the eldest of eight children, while Kevin is the eldest of two.
"Growing up my family life was a lot different to Lorraine's", recalls Kevin. "A lot less chaotic."
"It was still a lot of fun", says Lorraine. "Mum wouldn't allow us to have other playmates, 'you've got plenty of brothers and sisters, play with them', she would say."
Lorraine, her siblings and their families gather together three times a year as a way of honouring their mother.
"We do Christmas, and then on the anniversaries of our parents' birthdays. That was something Mum started after Dad died when he was just 46, leaving Mum to raise eight children on her own."
It was her mother's dedication to family that inspired Lorraine to put family first while pursuing a very successful career as a sporting administrator.
Everyone has a story! Margaret de Low has many stories and they're captivating.
Learning the art of chicken sexing. “It’s called venting and involves squeezing the faeces out of the chick and searching for a small bump about the size of a pimple. Find the pimple and you’ve found a male.”
Working alongside Ian Keirnan in Cleaning Up Australia. “But y’now, I look around me today and I wonder how much is still going on. Is Ian’s work forgotten? I think people have lost interest.”
The honour bestowed on her by her local council. “I’ve got scavenging rights at the tip. I’m not joking. I have a legal right to scavenge for whatever I want at the local tip.”
Other stories include working proudly alongside migrants on the Snowy Mountains Scheme, sailing on the original Helsal and grounding it off the coast of Mackay and threatening to run for council unless they improved the landscaping at Avalon shops.
Margaret’s philosophy is simple; “If you don’t do it, who else will? You don’t just talk about getting things done, get out and do it.”
Two things have driven Lyn in her adult life; one was to have children and the other was to ensure her children weren't in the dark about their heritage.
"I never knew any of my grandparents," says Lyn. "And my parents talked very little about them. I didn't want that for my children."
But having children proved a massive hurdle because of a series of health issues.
"The decision to adopt was made almost straight way."
But adoption would hinder her goal of wanting her children to know their heritage. At least you would think so.
"The fact our kids were adopted has always been an open book."
Lyn got her children, a boy and girl, as babies and knew virtually nothing about their birth parents.
The story of how Lyn raised her children and helped them put the pieces of their lives together is truly remarkable.
"Some friends asked if I was scared of losing my children, but I knew our relationship was strong and encouraged them."
For Roma and Ernie this was their first love and 65 years later they are still in love.
"I wasn’t looking for a boyfriend", remembers Roma. "It just happened. I had never had a boyfriend before and he had never had a girlfriend."
They were 16 then and as you read their story it's easy to understand why their love has lasted, but one thing stands out.
"We've always been one for all", says Ernie.
When their son suggested they should record their story they were reluctant, Roma even admits to being very negative until she spoke to one of her grandchildren.
"For the love of me Zac, who would want to read about our life?”
His response changed everything.
“Grandma, I will be terribly interested because there are a lot of gaps that I don’t know about and it would be lovely to fill those in.”
Roma confesses that was all the motivation they needed.
"We hope this provides our grandchildren with some inspiration to get the most out of their lives."
Keith and Adele have a strong faith in God and believe it comes down to one important decision. They can't remember any particular moment or event that led them to make the decision, only that they were in their mid-30's when they made it. Their story overflows with God inspired events, from meeting each other on the day they both started work in a new job, to surviving a helicopter crash while being transported to hospital with a broken neck. Their motivation for recording their story is to help their grandchildren realise the importance of the decision. They understand they can't make it for them, but they pray their story will help them make the right choice. For Keith and Adele it was as simple as, 'do we want to be saved?'
This is the story of my father's family. Unfortunately Dad had passed away long before I wrote this so I went to his brothers and was grateful for their time and willingness to tell the story. It highlights the importance of getting someone's story before it's too late. Often I hear how adult children wish they had made the effort to record their parents' story while they were still alive and that was certainly the case for me. At least with my Dad. My Uncles shared some wonderful memories of their lives growing up in the Salvation Army, and in particular how they were both impacted by the wisdom of a Salvo's bandmaster. 'Begin as you mean to continue.' Dad never mentioned that, but it was a piece of advise by which his bothers lived their lives. It would've been interesting to hear Dad's thoughts on that, if indeed he remembered it at all. The title, 'The OK'S' comes from their days growing up to parents of Salvation Army officers. They weren't just ordinary children in the Salvation Army, they were 'Officer's Kids'.
Richard started his working life as a plumber before being a policeman and then finally a politician. He represented the seat of Charlestown in the New South Wales Parliament for 31 years. He admits he was probably fortunate when he was first elected because the by-election for his seat coincided with Gough Whitlam's campaign for Prime Minister. That was backed by arguably the most successful political campaign in history with the slogan, 'It's Time'. The reality check for Richard came 11 months later when he was back before the electorate and that massive swing to him had all but disappeared. "That was my first real lesson in politics; never place any credence in past elections." The reason for the J in his offical name is all because his father, Jack Face, disobeyed his wife when he registered the birth. "My parents had agreed to name me Richard Jack Face, but Dad changed his mind at the last minute and Mum was furious. There was no way she was going to have a 'Little Jack' , so she overruled Dad and despite what it said on the birth certificate she called me Richard."
Bruce and Margaret Weller never dreamed the business they took over from Bruce's father would still be in the family, more than 50 years later. "The transition for Pop to me was seamless and also between David and Mitchell. Maybe not so seamless between David and me." Bruce tells a funny story about the time he handed the business to his son. He was still working a few days a week and remember's opening his first pay packet from his son and complained about how little it was. "Well get used to it Bruce Henry", he told me. "That's how much you've been paying me. Well I didn't have much of an answer for that, did I?" In the early days the Pacific Highway ran right through Nabiac, a town dubbed 'Death City'. "We had two things going for us", recalls Margaret. "We had the NRMA franchise and the state of the roads, they were poor. We sold a lot of windscreens, a dozen a week at its peak. "We had them queued up. But no worries, we fixed them all."
Mary is a wonderful story teller. Remembering her time in England as a young girl during World War Two she recalls the screams of a boy at the faint sounds of the air raid sirens. "We lived a long way from the bombing zone and could hardly hear them, but this little boy was screaming. His mother told us the sirens brought back memories of being picked up and running to the nearest shelter, followed by the explosions of bombs landing above them." Stories of going for drives in luxurious Cadillacs that her husband loved to buy. "There was one that would just drift along the road. Built for American highways of course and not our country roads. It used to make the kids sick because was too well sprung." The story of how she refused to stop her boyfriend from going on a world trip. "His mother was on at me to stop him. 'If he likes you that much', she said, 'then stop him. He'll spend all his money.'
"He asked me to marry him before he left but there was no engagement ring. For a period the letters stopped coming and that made me worry. But when he arrived home he had the engagement ring on his key ring, and that's when I knew it was real."
I have a cousin, Peter, who is into the whole ancestry thing and actually enjoys spending hours delving into the births and deaths of relatives, going back hundreds of years. He's traced my Mother's line back to the 1600's and if given the time I'm sure he'd draw a connection with Adam and Eve. He came to me asking for help. He wanted to put it all down in some form of report. I told him, 'unless you've got pictures and stories it would be difficult to make it interesting.' After plodding him for a while I managed to get enough information to tell the story from the arrival in Australia of John and Ann Bassett - the couple who settled in Adelaide in 1840 and would be my mother's great, great grandparents. Sometimes though it's best not to know your history. Those early Bassett's rivalled the Rundle's in Port Adelaide society, but unlike the Rundle's the Bassett's loved to gamble and that's why the centre of Adelaide's CBD is not named Bassett Mall.
Bonnie is a lady who was ahead of her time. In an era when women found it difficult to break the mould society had placed on them, Bonnie was designing her own home. Not even the architect could fault her work and she was annoyed she had to pay him to reach that decision. "The builder told us he needed architectural drawings before he could start work. The architect didn't make one change to my plans but we still had to pay him." Bonnie still lives in that house today, nearly 70 years from when they laid the foundations. She calls it their 'Darby and Joan home'. She's also quite proud of her form on the golf course, and the memory of the hole-in-one at Long Reef is as clear today as if it happened yesterday. Bonnie says she was fortunate to marry a man who valued her and she said often throughout our interview, 'I've simply had a charmed life'.
If there was ever a story that needed to be told it is José's. Born in The Netherlands, moving to Indonesia after WW2 when her father's job took them to the Dutch colony, then moving back to The Netherlands a year later when her mother became sick. Her father stayed in Indonesia, her mother passed away and it was several years before she was re-united with her father in Indonesia. José would love to have stayed but the family moved to Australia, after her father had a taste of Australian life when he visited for the Melbourne Olympics. By the time José was an adult, moving had become part of her life and the chance to sail around the world was enticing. Through no fault her own José's world trip, which started in Melbourne, ended in Darwin, but her journey was far from over. Jeff Kennett's work cover reforms and Paul Keating's 'recession we had to have' dealt José a cruel hand, but she's fighter and her journey continues.