This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland Shire, Queensland Australia. Image of 1943 Willys jeep from wikipedia. This jeep carries US emblem. George Rush transported Australian army officers in Willys jeeps in Borneo and New Guinea during World War Two.
A LONG journey through life reflects in George Rush’s voice as he talks about the cycads his daughter, Jennifer Campbell, has advertised for sale in our classifieds.
"I like cycads but these are not mine," George says.
"My daughter is busy so we are taking messages. I think she wants to renovate. She lives at Capalaba."
George is 90 years old. Taking messages is far removed from the labours of his past.
BORN in Kilcoy in 1917, George says he grew up in the country, milking cows. He left school at 14 to cut railway sleepers out of ironbark, tallowood and grey gums from the north coast forests.
"In those days, at 14 you were a man nearly, not like the kids of today," he says.
"When I was 17 or 18 and could drive, I had fruit runs in Caloundra and I went into the food game.
"My parents lived at Mooloolah and I spent a lot of time around Glenview and Landsborough. Caloundra was my main town.
"I worked in Roma Street, Rocklea, for 31 years. In the markets, you work in all the different jobs in all the sections.
"It’s born into you. Wherever you pulled up (in a truck), you’d have to carry the stuff – the bags of pumpkins and spuds were about 140 or 150 pounds (63 or 68kg). By gee, they were heavy.
"I’d carry two cases of apples on my shoulder."
GEORGE had World War Two service as an army driver attached to the 7th Division in Borneo and New Guinea.
His main duty was to transport officers in a Willys jeep, often to the front line to "see how the boys were going".
"It’s not a real funny place to be – shells whistling around and going off everywhere," he says. "We had to stop and dive into a hole to get away from them."
When landing off a barge in Borneo, his jeep, "hooked up to a two-pound gun" sank in the truck tracks but the motor, fully submerged in the ocean but waterproofed, kept going and pulled through the slush.
George still keeps busy around the Cleveland home where he and his wife of 66 years, Audrey, have lived for the past 20 years.
THE couple lived at Coorparoo while he worked at the markets but later moved to Cleveland, then to Stone’s Corner and Camp Hill before returning to Cleveland.
"There’s a lot of work to do around the house," he says. "I have a bit of corn coming up and just had some nice beans. I have been an old bushman most of my life."
George says doctors credit his good health in his senior years to his lifetime of hard work.
THANKS for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. More stories on classiecorner.blogspot.com.