Nine stood up
The changing face of Port Macquarie was further evidenced at the Armistice reunion for First World War veterans on Friday night, when “those who enlisted from here” were invited to stand.
From a roll-call close to eighty, there were nine at the reunion who had enlisted from this area.
Dr N. E. McLaren, in a toast to the 1914-18 Diggers, praised the spirit which kept them active in the community. Dr McLaren said few of them present would in years be less than man’s allotted span of three score and ten.
Yet, in spite of their age, they still love to do things around the home, in the company of their mates, or playing bowls. And at the same time many of them are carrying on in active work throughout the community.
Chairman on this occasion was Digger Les Crisp, a popular choice among the “older and bolder” as he termed them. Digger Crisp paid special tribute to the re-union’s all-time secretary, Digger Barney Turner, for the good job he does each year, and this was heartily endorsed.
And the Diggers were again heartily in accord with their chairman when he thanked the women’s auxiliary for once again providing such an appetising three-course hot dinner.
After the toasts, women’s auxiliary members then treated the “old diggers” to a delightful program of entertainment, voted by all hands as “the best yet”.
Mrs May Brest was at the piano and “the company” opened up dressed in khaki as “army types” with chorus numbers that got the entertainment away to a good start then followed by Glad Hughes.
Mrs Daisy Smith and Matron Marj Bailey won the audience over as “baby dolls” and Mrs Wal Martin followed with a superb Al Jolson show. Mrs Lorraine Doyle led a group of Scotch dancers on in a grand finale and she starred as the solo dancer.
Minister promised help
The Minister for the Navy, Mr Don Chipp, has promised to investigate whether the Navy’s new submarine, HMAS Oxley could be berthed off-shore during the sesqui-centenary celebrations next October.
He said an eight-foot depth of water over the bar would not allow the submarine to come into the harbour, as it drew 24 feet. Another problem, he said, was that the date of the celebrations - October 5 to 12, coincided with Navy Week.
“However, I will move heaven and earth to meet your request if it is practical in the circumstances,” he said.
Mr Chipp was speaking to 20-odd representatives of council, tourist authority and sesqui-centenary committee at a dinner at Clifton restaurant on Thursday night.
As well as Minister for the Navy, Mr Chipp is Minister-in-Charge of tourist activities on a federal level, under the Minister for Trade and Industry. He arrived in Port Macquarie from Sydney late Thursday, having spent most of the afternoon on HMAS Oxley, submerging 600 feet in her.
After a tour of the town on Friday morning, including a visit to the historic Church of St Thomas, the minister and his private secretary, Miss Hobbs, were flown to Taree by Mr Barrie Abbott, chief flying instructor for the HD Flying Club.