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Wish me Luck Exhibition & Father's Day Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad

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by Haydn Radford (subscribe)
Haydn Radford -A freelance writer born in Adelaide, who loves living here. I write about movies, theatre, entertainment, literary and art events. I am happy to promote & review your events. www.weekendnotes.com/profile/121822
Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
Bob Jarrad at book launch. Photo: H. Radford


If you are still deciding how you might celebrate with your father and family on Father's Day, then consider a special event that is being held in conjunction with Veterans SA, Flinders University Art Museum and Atkins Photo Lab as they present the Wish me luck Exhibition of 100 photographic portraits of those surviving World War II veterans, men and women, who served in the Navy, Army, Air Force and Medical Corps from SA.

Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
Wish me luck exhibition. Photo: H. Radford


On Father's Day a wonderful dimension will accompany the "Wish me luck" exhibition in the form of a poetry reading and talk by local poet, Bob Jarrad, from his collection of war poetry, Slouch Hat Soldiers - Generations at War.

The "Wish me luck" exhibition with the poetry reading will be held on Father's Day, 4 September, 2016, at 2.00 pm at the Flinders University City Gallery, State Library of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide. The exhibition will continue to 11 September, 2016. The poetry reading will only be showing on Father's Day.

Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
1,050 South Australian Veterans photographed. Photo: H. Radford.


The Wish me luck Exhibition began on Anzac Day 2015, and has grown out of a special nationwide project whereby the Australian Institute of Professional Photography (AIPP) photographed Australia's surviving World War II veterans. Many of these men and women are now in their late nineties. Over a seven month period, over 1,050 portraits were taken in South Australia.

Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
Wish me luck exhibition portraits. Photo: H. Radford


Since the launch in 2014 of Slouch Hat Soldiers - Generations at War, Bob Jarrad has toured around Australia presenting his poems and speaking to community groups about what inspired him to write his war poems and how the collection came about. By invitation he was invited to several Centenary of Anzac events. In 2015, poems from Slouch Hat Soldiers - Generations at War were performed at the Australian War Memorial's "War of Words" Anzac Centenary poetry event.

Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
Alison and Bob Jarrad at Wish me luck exhibition launch. Photo: H. Radford.


Bob Jarrad's poems have been honoured once again as some have been selected to be featured prominently in the "Wish me luck" exhibition.

Hidden Secrets (Extract)

The damn lid won't open -
then persistence prevails.
A battered tin box
reveals its' secret of
medals, ribbons, half obscuring
a red, cloth-covered, musty smelling diary.

I carefully turn its tired pages.
Do you know what this is?
No reply from my father.
It's your Dad's war diary
from 1918.
It holds few entries,
just good news from home,
his son's birth and christening,
and service pay records.
In memoranda: a list of names
and numbers
send coldness through my veins.


Bob had little idea that finding an old Seppuku Harri Karri knife in his dad's fishing box and sometime later reading his grandfather's World War l diary would inspire him to research further into his family's history. What followed, was Bob learning from letters, photos and diaries from the war years about 19 of his family members, who served in various theatres of war with Australian forces during World War l, World War ll and Vietnam. His discussions with some of his family helped him to realise that those 19 family members who served were like so many other thousands of Australian men and women who served Australia during times of war.

Slouch Hat Soldiers - Generations at War is a series of poetic snapshots produced from the powerful and moving images that some people experienced through war, through bloodshed, horror, mateship, humour, patriotism and love of
country.

Medal and Nightmares (Extract)
for Grandpa Jarrad

Our sodden boots squelch
skin deep in muddy slush
from waterlogged trench floors
while the incessant bombardment
pulsates its deadly beat
through our shell-shocked bodies.

If we are lucky
and see this senseless war through
we'll be released
with medals
and with nightmares
to remind us of our darkest hours.


There are many facets in the theatre of war, which only those who serve in the Armed Forces experience and witness. However, through storytelling and poignant poetry they are remembered and provide an opportunity for others to understand what it is like to go to war, and how those who served in the forces were prepared to give their lives for their country they loved.


See Yer Later (Extract)
for my father, Cyril Jarrad, who was at
Balikpapan in Borneo, 1945

Sounds made us twitchy.
A leaf rustled
and before I could flinch,
a hand slid across my Aussie lapel badges,
scared the living daylights out of me.
Hello Aussie, a voice rasped,
then shot through like a Bondi tram:
an Indian Gurkha, silent and deadly.
Thank God he was on our side.



Slouch Hat Soldiers; Generations at War, gives us much to think and feel about war. The poems not only focus on Australian servicemen who served in World War l, World War ll and the Vietnam War, but they also point to the contribution to the war effort made by women. Bob's poetry reveals his skill, sincerity, empathy, insight and respect as he reflects upon the times before, during and after war.

The Forgotten (Extract)
for my aunt, Valmai Isabella Harding, 14 Signals Unit, RAAF

Give a thought to women
Who birthed healthy sons,
human ammunition
given up to war.

Give a thought to women
on ANZAC Day,
on every day.
When you remember sacrifices,
remember them.


Bob's stories are mainly based on the lives and experiences of nineteen of his family members who served like so many other thousands of Australian men and women in various theatres of war, with Australian forces during World War 1, World War 11 and Vietnam.

Stretcher Bearers (Extract)
They dart across the wasteland,
amongst dead & wounded,
in search of injured comrades
and fallen foe.
Sometimes they seek alone,
the true hero in No Man's land,
looking for a fallen mate.


Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
Australian Military Artist Barry Spicer. Photo: H. Radford


Throughout Slouch Hat Soldiers; Generations at War there are drawings by Internationally renowned Australian Military Artist, Barry Spicer, who in 2008, was honoured with the title of 'Official Artist to Australian Army Aviation'. Recently Barry was named as the Regimental Artist for the Army's 1st Armoured Regiment, after completing a number of related paintings.

Wish me Luck Exhibition: Poetry Reading with Robert (Bob) Jarrad on Father's Day
Tanks by Barry Spicer. Photo: H. Radford.


Copies of Slouch Hat Soldiers; Generations at War, can be purchased on-line Slouch Hat Soldiers for $38.00. This includes delivery within Australia. Alternatively, purchasers can send a cheque for $38.00 per book, made payable to Echos Downunder, including their name and shipping address to:
Echos Downunder, PO Box 191, St. Agnes South Aust. 5097.
Bob Jarrad is donating part of the proceeds from the sale of the book to Legacy.


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When: Exhibition & Poetry reading only 4 Sept. 2016 at 2.00 pm. The Wish Me Luck Exhibition open until 11 Sept. 2016
Phone: 08 8207 7055
Where: Flinders University City Gallery, State Library of South Australia, North Terrace, Adelaide
Cost: FREE ADMISSION.
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