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3 years ago we travelled to Elcho Island to bury my Grandfather’s ashes.

He was an engineer on the remote Arnhem land Island from 1945 – 1951. Meeting my Grandmother – pictured below – on a nearby Island when he took a boat to fix a broken radio transmitter.

During his time he built infrastructure and trained young Aboriginal men as apprentices.

The local Aboriginal’s held a traditional ceremony – first we were initiated into the same family that my Grandfather had been brought into in 1945 – The clay you can see on both my Brother’s and Father’s forehead is from this.

Then, they cleared a space for his ashes on their beach and decorated the area with rocks and flowers. They even sang a song in their native tongue that turned out to be about my grandfather and

first sung when he was on the island- even young children knowing the words.

My father was born in 1949 and was the first white baby on the Island. Behind where he is pictured, he used to play with the Aboriginal children – my Grandmother tells the story of coming outside to find him as a two-year-old with some young Aboriginal children showing him the teeth of a small crocodile.

Sensational experience to be included in this part of my family history and touching to see the love extended to my Grandfather and to us some 60 years after his time on the island.


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