Tea, War and Crocodiles

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Ferdinand J Brockhall, later known as Terry, was born in the late 1920s into the unequivocally privileged arms of colonial tea planters in Java, then part of the Dutch East Indies. A boyhood visit to Australia with his family was a portent of things to come, opening Terry's heart and mind to the possibility of other peoples, other lives. Then came the Second World War. Torn from his family at age thirteen and interred at brutal Japanese concentration camps across Java, Terry found solace in the words of Rudyard Kipling - explained to him by a caring camp friend. After the war came more unexpected challenges: repatriation to a 'motherland' he had never seen; immigration to Australia; learning to live with racism and poverty. But through it all shone moments of friendship, laughter, and the abiding love of Willy - his dear wife. Together the young couple set out on many adventures, perhaps the greatest of which was relocation to the Australian Territory of Papua and New Guinea - where they lived, worked and raised two children until the country's independence in the mid-1970s. A few calm years came to a close when Terry and Willy decided to embark on one more adventure - cattle farming. Nestled in the hills of east Gippsland, reminiscent of Terry's idyllic Java plantation childhood, Mirrabooka became their hearts' home. Walk with Terry through the years of dramatic personal and historical change that he shares on these pages. His remarkable life story of migration is complemented by his erudite political reflections and quotes and passages from poets, novelists and great thinkers. You will learn first-hand what the end of an empire feels like, and you will fall in love with countries, cultures, and people. But most of all, you will get to know Terry: an indefatigable gentleman.

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