Friday, November 22, 2013

Visiting Bublacowie Military Museum and Memorial

With such an unusual name and a location out of the way, we weren't sure what we'd find at the Bublacowie Military Museum and Memorial. It took a bit of finding, but with our iPhone maps app, we eventually arrived only to find that the museum was closed on Thursdays. Damn!

As we were driving off, a small, fluffy, white dog attacked our beautiful Toyota Landcruiser Prado and fearing I would convert it into a floor mat, I stopped. The dog's owner, Chris Soar who is the owner and curator of the museum, came to our aid. He managed to coax the dog out from under our car and after a short discussion he invited us to view the museum, which he opened specially for us. Fate has a way of helping out occasionally and his generosity was greatly appreciated as we don't plan to visit the Yorke Peninsula again.

We accepted Chris's offer and were pleasantly surprised and delighted with the absolutely massive collection of memorabilia, memorials and associated objects and implements of interest. Well worth the $10 per head entry fee.

Chris Soar is a living legend with whom I quickly established a rapport and deep respect. He had a lengthy military career in the Australian Army and served our nation in Korea, Malaya and Vietnam (two terms). He has also made a considerable contribution to the various communities on Yorke Peninsula and obviously spent a lot of his waking hours collecting memorabilia and setting up the museum and memorial.

The memorial has plaques for numerous veterans of all world wars whose local relatives have requested their ashes be interred at Bublacowie. Now that those of us who served during the Vietnam War era are aging, numbers of the memorials are those of Vietnam veterans, young people willing to give their lives for our freedom ... something which we should never forget, especially with the onslaught of Islamists amongst us who state in public their intention to take over our country and place us under the yoke of Islamic sharia.

Chris has done a great job of setting up memorabilia in campaign order and service order eg, there are sections for the Boer War, WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan and several of the peace keeping operations like Timor Leste.

We spent a couple of hours touring the exhibits, some of which brought back fond memories of my days in the Royal Australian Air Force and later in the Army Reserve. Disappointingly, there was little about 10 Squadron RAAF with which my father flew in the UK during WWII. The crews of 10 Squadron went to England to ferry back to Australia a number of new Sunderland (or Catalina?) flying boats, but war broke out and they were told to stay in England. My father spent two years flying around the Bay of Biscay, the British Channel etc finding and destroying German submarines that were creating havoc with shipping coming in and out of the British Isles. As Chris says, there is a flying boat museum memorial at Lake Boga in Victoria. (I've been there and it brought tears to my eyes to see a photo of my father before he had even met my mother).

If you are anywhere near Yorktown in South Australia and are interested in Australia's military history and more, you simply must visit Bublacowie Military Museum and Memorial. If you are really lucky, you will get a chance to meet Chris Soar, one of Australia's heroes.


PS: Bublacowie Military Museum and Memorial is open Sunday to Tuesday 10 am to 4 pm or by appointment.

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