Title: He Was My Father
Author: Hill, Harry
Edition: 1st Edition
Publication Date: 2010
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 144 pages
Comments: Harry Hill is a retired teacher living in Tumut, near the Snowy Mountains. Through careful research he has written the life story of his father Henry (Clem) and has illustrated it with many photographs and documents.
Clem Hill was born on his father’s original selection on Brungle Creek, Tumut Shire, in 1887 and had a hard, but fulfilling, life working as a labourer and stockman. He enlisted in the 36th Battalion of the AIF in February 1916. After training in Australia and England he fought in France and Belgium and was severely wounded at the Battle of Passchendaele. He was repatriated to Australian and, while recuperating in hospital, met Lottie Low, an Army nurse, whom he married in 1922.
He worked as a labourer and built a house in Concord, Sydney, but lost everything in the Great Depression. The family moved back to Brungle Creek and later to Tumut where Clem conducted the summer ice run.
Clem had a reputation as a marksman, having been a sniper in the war, and he knew how to trap possums and rabbits. He sold the skins and fed his family on rabbit meat in those hard times.
He had many skills as a bushman, including robbing wild bees’ hives, fencing, controlling rabbit buildups and killing snakes. He tried to teach these skills to his two sons. He worked as a labourer, stockman and shearer and knew how to handle livestock. He died suddenly after a hard day’s shearing, aged 51.
Harry Hill paints a vivid picture of life in rural Australia from before World War I, through the Great Depression, to his father’s death in 1938.