Things you didn’t know about Fred and Bev
GUEST Speaker at the Probus November meeting was Fred Jungwirth – ‘Taking life’s side roads’ and ‘Things you didn’t know about Fred and Bev’.
At the beginning of the talk, Fred displayed a quote on an overhead “Still around the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate.” - JRR Tolkien
The talk was a brief life span of 78 years.
Bev and Fred never just followed the narrow path. Euroa perhaps is a continuation of their journey, where they have lived now for 13 years, Fred said, “growing up going with the flow”.
Fred was born in Melbourne, lived in Murrumbeena with his family and attended the local primary school in 1946.
The Baby Boom started before 1946.
There were 1100 kids in the primary school, 48- 50 kids in classrooms.
They were the good old days, walked to and from school, it was safe.
There wasn’t a lot of money coming in.
His parents saved hard and Fred got a bike he wanted, then he was able to deliver 150 papers in the early summer mornings and winter when it was dark outside.
Fred said he wasn’t that good academically with primary school subjects.
He was introduced to team sports and his team won the Victorian Primary Schools Football. He enjoyed sports and joined the local under 16s cricket team with his mate, when they were only 11 years old.
Fred was a slow bowler and was asked to play on Saturdays, playing on a bitumen track with matting on the top.
He took five wickets in his first game.
He couldn’t join the under 16s football team as he was under weight, so he played hockey for two years and when he was nearly 16 years old he played with the local football team.
They won the under 16s premiership.
Fred went to secondary school for two years and if students achieved good school results they had the advantage of getting into Melbourne or Dandenong high schools, or if not, the technical school.
By some chance of fate, he spent six years at Melbourne High School.
He played with a couple of wellknown cricketers, one was Bob Couper who played for the Australian cricket team.
Then he went onto teacher training at Burwood Teachers’ College, earning £50 a year which was subsidised by the government.
At this time he met a very attractive young lady, Bev, when the college put on a play nearby.
Fred offered to help with the sound effects.
Bev’s sound effect was to clap two pieces of paper together.
Naturally he asked Bev to go to the ‘After Party’.
This was the start of a lovely journey together.
When Fred finished teachers’ college he was given a map of Victoria, to select the school where he may like to teach.
Bev’s family lived in Foster, so Fred put down South Gippsland; he was allocated the Wimmera.
Then he got teaching post near Warracknabeal where he worked in a one-teacher school with 14 kids in the classroom.
Every second week, local parents took Fred to the nearest town to do the school’s banking.
He was offered a house and two rooms to batch in, with no electricity.
He had no car so he couldn’t do a lot.
A friend lived and worked nearby and he saved for a little car.
They travelled around together and played football, for North Central League in Victoria and won the premiership three times while Fred was there.
He obtained a permanent position at Leongatha North where there were around 24 kids.
He was there for four years and continued to play football and cricket.
In 1963, Bev and Fred were married, in 1964 their first child arrived and their second in 1965.
At this time religious education of a half hour per week was available, and conducted by the local minister.
He said to Fred, there was a need for a Sunday school teacher and he was offered this position.
In the following year he became the Superintendent of Sunday School, after a time was asked to be a youth group leader and other things happened.
Church magazines were advertising for teachers in the New Hebrides.
Fred and Bev thought they would volunteer for a year and after a period of time, were interviewed.
Questions asked at the Interview were along the lines – Why do you want to go? There were also questions asked about their faith.
They didn’t hear anything for a while.
Fred was given a promotion as a teacher.
He declined the offer as a position in the New Hebrides, was offered.
It was a four-day journey on a working ship, stopping at places along the way in the South Pacific.
Just before Fred and Bev were to take a plane to their new posting, there was a bad plane crash and eight people were killed.
Later they travelled in a little Cessna with four seats for passengers and a pilot.
In the back were chickens, and vegetables.
Fred was located at Tanna as a district education officer.
Tanna has an active volcano on it, on the opposite side from where they lived.
It is supposed to be the most accessible volcano in the world.
Islanders thought missionaries weren’t giving them what they wanted - television and the like.
They staged a mass walkout at church led by a group called ‘The Cargo Cult’.
During his talk, Fred showed a variety of old photographs on a screen, one showed a photo of tourists on Mystery Island, standing in a Cannibal Soup Pot. Planes landed on a sand strip. On one occasion the nose cone snapped off.
Fred and Bev had to stay extra days waiting for another plane.
Fred worked in Tanna for four years, and their son was born there. It was a residential high school. Class studies were in the mornings and the afternoons were spent planting crops to supply school with vegetables.
There was time off to go swimming in afternoons for the students.
While there a government position was offered for a teaching couple and so Bev and Fred spent three years in Port Vila, the Capital of New Hebrides, their first position.
The British Government paid more than the church.
A great experience for Fred, Bev and their kids.
Annual leave was given to come back to Australia for 6-8 weeks via New Zealand if they wished.
When they left Port Vila, they went and worked at the Eltham College which was an Independent, Co-Ed.
School, the idea was conceived in 1973.
It fostered the talents of students, and challenged them to do more creatively, in the arts and music. Good teaching and innovative. Fred and Bev lived at Warrandyte on a large block of land, with a walk down to the Yarra River.
It was a good move for their children.
In 1997 Fred retired from teaching and worked for his brother for a time.
Then the church asked if Fred would be secretary of the presbytery (non-paying work).
The suggestion was made for him to help with the Ministry in Corryong.
A meeting was arranged and Bev and Fred were given a job description.
They packed up to work at Corryong for nearly four years, where they had a nice four-bedroom home and a lovely church.
Their daughter was to have a baby which would have health issues, so they came down to talk to the people in the Euroa church and ended up being here for seven years, retiring here. Fred retired for the second time. Members are reminded that the next monthly Probus dinner will be held on Wednesday, January 16 at 6pm at the “Seven Creeks Hotel” - contact Bernie on 5795 2867.
Our next regular club meeting will be on Monday, January 28 at 10am.
The guest speaker has to be confirmed, possibly Jim Billings and his experiences working in Darwin.
We have a planned future outing on Monday, February 11.
This will be a visit to Cheryl Crosbie at Marraweeny to see her Gotland sheep, her wool for spinning and her knitting and felting.