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Garry Michael Gillard

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I was born in 1943 in a Catholic hospital in Mt Lawley then called St Anne's, later Mercy, now St John of God's. My father David Michael Gillard and mother Mary Linda Robertson were living at 98 Eighth Avenue Maylands in the house belonging to my grandmother, Christina (Bennett) Robertson.

Here I am on my first birthday. Mum was a week from her 28th.

Here's our house. My grandmother bought it in 1933 in her own right. It had four rooms on one side of a hall with a return verandah on the other, and a kitchen and bathroom added on at the back. My grandfather gradually built in the verandah to make eventually another four rooms. Not long after I came along in 1943, Grandad was sleeping in the last one, nearest the street, behind the tree on the right of the photo. By the time I left the house for my first job in 1964, I was using that front room as my study, and sleeping in the next one. When the last inhabitant, my mother, died in 1988, we sold the place for the land value, and it wasn't long before there were four new units on it.

This is me with a man who was born in 1877. James Need Robertson died in Jan 1953, just after I turned 9, when his heart stopped: he's about 69 here. You can see the flyscreen door at the front door on the left, so Grandad is standing at his own separate front door to his little room he built himself on the right. I notice his hair grows forward along the left side of his head like mine does, but he doesn't have arthritis in his hands, unlike me - tho his daughter my mother did.


Here is an earlier and more graphic photograph of the house, with Uncle Frank Reudavey (born 1904) and my grandmother and grandfather standing in front. Frank married my Aunt Adie in 1934, so it's later than that, but before 1943, I think, as Grandad has not yet built on the final room I mention above, and which would take up all of that corner of the verandah on the right of the photo. The apparently wooden steps would later become concrete. The door on the left leads to the front of the two original bedrooms: there was a flyscreen door and then a pair of French doors. Not at all secure, but then in those doors we always left the back door unlocked at night.

My Dad was a professional photographer for a time in the 1930s. And I have a vague recollection that family friend, 'Uncle' Len Rustin, was too. Anyway, someone took some studio snaps of me when I was around 3, and one was used in an advertisement for Mills & Ware's Milk Arrowroot Biscuits. Mum tore two or three of them them out the local paper, and they still exist, as here.

I wonder how much I got paid for my first job. I not only endorsed the product, by the way: I used to eat the biscuits as well, with condensed milk and hot water. Natural goodness (maybe).

My primary school photos are here.

I had piano 'lessons' for eleven years, aged 5-16, with an incompetent hunchbacked spinster. I got my revenge, after passing the first twelve, by failing the last exam of all, the Associateship, with 133/200 (the pass mark was 150).

Dad didn't often have grand pianos in the workshop, so while he had this very ordinary John Brinsmead there, he went to a lot of trouble to get this photo, including trying (unsuccessfully) to mask the ugly galvo doors with a screen. I've put on my school suit (I don't think I had a Perth Modern School blazer, which must have been more expensive), and insisted on having Chopin on the desk, op. 9 no. 3, even tho I've never been able to play it all - there's a hard bit near the end. I'm 16 here.

At University, in my second year, I discovered that you didn't have to just study all the time - when I joined UDS, the Dramatic Society. I was lucky in being cast in a very good part (well, three altogether) in Wal Cherry's production of Under Milk Wood for the Festival of Perth in 1962. I was the Reverend Eli Jenkins, and here I am in character, but not in costume or makeup, in a publicity shot that was published in the local rag. The tree is my 'pulpit' in Wal's imaginative use of the Sunken Garden for locations in a Welsh village. It was the second of two trees I had to climb every evening: the first one, to be a drowned sailor in a ship's rigging, was quite a difficult bit of escalation.

During this production I learnt, inter alia, about brandy-n-dry, and sex. I was 18.

This was taken at Grant Patterson's wedding in I think 1965, at Ivanhoe Lodge, the grand home that used to be on the corner of High and Ord Streets in Fremantle, which served as a reception centre before being demolished to make way for flats and a petrol station. The twenty-year old girl with me is Janice Achimovich, who is still, nearly sixty years later, a good friend.

That must be a piece of chalk in my hand.

Grant and I shared a room in Narrogin in the Mardoc Boarding House, the least salubrious accommodation I've ever lived in. Highlight: the toilets didn't have seats.

I met Penny in 1964, when we were both teaching at NASHS. We were married in 1966, and lived in Narrogin until the end of 1967, when we went to England.
Here I am thinking how the hell did I manage to get this gorgeous woman to marry me. She was prolly thinking something conversely similar.

This is me and Mum on the occasion of my graduation with my first higher degree, MPhil Murdoch, 5 April 1978. I'm very pleased with myself, and so is Mum. This might be the best photo ever of each of us: it certainly is the best of both of us. I wish there was a photo of my Dad too.

I was the first graduate of Murdoch University - so they said (three times).

I met Jenny at Murdoch University where she enrolled as an undergraduate in 1976, the second year of u/grad enrolments there. At the time, I was in the middle of working on what became an MPhil degree, and doing some teaching at MU.
We got married, however, in the grounds of the University of Western Australia, as being much more picturesque - and of course my (first?) alma mater. (Can you have two?)
We went to some trouble to find a celebrant who would conduct a ceremony with no reference to religion, and managed to find the President of the Humanist Society, Laaden Fletcher.
The colour print has degraded, making everything look tropical: perfect for Jenny's gown - and Allen's safari suit! I still have the white suit, tho it's a bit too small now.
That's Janice (from a few photos above) appearing as Jenny's bridesmaid.

Jenny wisely decided we should get some family photos taken by the best photographer in Geelong, and here's one of the results. I'm pleased to find from his website that he's still doing well, now in Melbourne. All I can remember of the shoot is us being told to place our hands as you see them. Eleanor looks a bit uncertain, but then he had nearly set her hair on fire with a candle that he earlier had her hold as a prop.

That little baby in blue, then Sarah, now Katherine, was later to become a photographer who took photos just like this one.

This is what I looked like seventy years after the first photo at the top. This was taken at the Fremantle Workers Club on the occasion of the launch of its history, 9 November 2014. Thanks to Bob Sommerville for the photo.

Here are two recent photos of me. I got Katherine to snap the first 9 September 2016 on my iPhone 6 for a booklet for a UWA reunion that I didn't attend. The second was taken at Fremantle Esplanade Park at Xmas 2020, the last time we four met as a family: Jenny, Eleanor, Katherine and I. Son-in-law Wayne snapped it with my iPhone8.


And here's the family on the same occasion.

Garry Gillard | New: 30 December, 2009 | Now: 28 February, 2023