Songs, poems, yarns
Comedian poet Col Milligan will MC and perform at the 2018 Aussie Bush Entertainment Muster in Benalla this weekend (October 12 to 14).
The event will primarily be at the Benalla Bowls Club, however, the Anzac Tribute at 1 pm on Saturday will be at the ‘‘Weary Dunlop’’ statue in the Botanical Gardens.
This year’s theme will be songs, stories and poems from the sea chosen for the special Sunday morning segment.
The muster is an annual Australiana event conducted by the Victorian Bush Poets and Music Association.
Secretary Jan Lewis said there would be four featured performers this year.
‘‘Ian Zierk is a versatile solo guitarist and singer from Point Lonsdale who performs as Southern Light,’’ Ms Lewis said.
‘‘We will also have Jill Meehan, Jeff Mifsu and Col Milligan performing.’’
Doors open at 8 am Saturday and Sunday for walk-up perfor- mances of song, rhyming poetry and yarns from 8.30 am.
Saturday sessions include; a Novice Poetry Competition, Mansfield Bush Poets, more walkups on the afternoon, and the Victorian Song/Music Championships.
Association president Jill Meehan said, ‘‘Sunday is similar, with the highlight being a 90-minute song, stories, and poems from the sea, for which some performers will be in very colourful costumes’’.
For more information, visit www.vbpma.com.au
●A street in Benalla is often travelled, yet few know how it received the name, It’s Waller Street — after Captain Hector Waller, of Royal Australian Navy fame. Hector Waller, born Benalla, April 4, at the turn of the century, no more, Made a career in the Royal Australian Navy — distinguishing himself in war. Captained the Destroyer HMAS Stuart in the Mediterranean, from thirty-nine to forty-one, Leading the Australian Destroyer force, fighting against Italians and the Hun. When Japan was threatening the South West Pacific and our native land, The Destroyer Force sailed homewards to give the Dutch and Yanks a hand. Captain Waller was rewarded, given command of the Light Cruiser HMAS Perth, He sailed to join the American, British, Dutch and Australian Indies Fleet, to our north. With the Japanese rapidly advancing over land and sea the Allies feared defeat, The Dutch Admiral, Karel Dooman, gave desperate orders to his multination fleet. Perth, and the American Heavy Cruiser Houston, you will patrol the Sunda Strait, I can spare just one Dutch Destroyer, the Evertsen, alas she will take up station late. With lack of aircraft, the Allies intelligence was poor, and the marvel of radar was in its early day, The Perth and Houston Captains were unaware a large Japanese invasion task force was on its way. On the night of twenty-eight February, nineteen forty-two, they clashed with a superior Japanese fleet, Houston was already lame, with two of her eight main guns out of order — and that forebode defeat. Though shells from both the Perth and Houston struck their much larger opponents, The sheer weight of numbers and Jap Destroyers firing torpedoes seized the moment. With both Allied cruisers ablaze and settling in the water, then came the dreaded order ‘‘Abandon ship’’. As lifeboats were holed, or unable to be launched, survivors leapt into the murky waters, where ran a rip. The Japanese rescued their men, two Jap ships and three transports had sunk beneath the water, Then began taking on sailors from the Perth and Houston who survived the battle and the slaughter. Just over three-hundred of the Perth’s crew of six-hundred and eighty-six were saved — but alas not Captain Waller. The survivors spent three and a half years as prisoners of the Japanese, enduring starvation and squalor. So should you walk or drive down Waller Street, on the western side of Benalla, Spare a thought for whom the street was named in memory, a true blue Aussie fella. The man who as a boy dreamed of enlisting in the Royal Australian Navy to sail afar, An Australian war hero, Captain Hector MacDonald Laws Waller — DSO and Bar.
Music to our ears: Ian Zierk is one of the performers at this year’s Aussie Bush Muster.