Woolgoolga resident Col Robertson turns 96 and reflects on an interesting life

Col Robertson with his memoir. Photo: David Tune.


BORN in 1925, Woolgoolga resident Col Robertson celebrated his 96th birthday on Thursday last week and reflected on his life.

A keen family historian, Col has written and published a memoir titled ‘An Interesting Life’ so that his family and friends can share in the memories of a long and satisfying life.

As it was for most of that generation, the Second World War played a major part in Col’s life, enlisting in the army at age eighteen in 1943.

Col went on to spend his nineteenth birthday guarding Cowra prison camp, just days after the infamous breakout by Japanese prisoners of war.

Returning to Sydney’s northern beaches after this episode, Col and other members of his ‘Young Soldiers Battalion’ of under twenty year old’s were recruited to be extras in the filming of Charles Chauvel’s ‘The Rats of Tobruk’ movie.

After jungle training at Canungra in Queensland, the battalion was sent to Bougainville, where they saw action on the Numa Numa Trail and the north of the island, and Col went on to witness the surrender of Nauru Island and then became part of the garrison there.

At the end of the war Col was demobilised in Melbourne and finished his printing apprenticeship, but the mental and emotional effects of the war took a toll, and he tried his hand a professional fishing for a year, returned to printing, and then re-joined the army as a Sergeant Printer for a further six years, working in top secret material during the Korean War.

He then moved to Hobart and worked there, mostly in the government printing department until his retirement.

Moving to Woolgoolga in 1988, he met his wife of 32 years, Pat, while square dancing at Urunga.

When asked about the most important things in his life Col replied, “My wife Pat has been the most important thing to me since we met, I couldn’t have had such a good life without her.

“I also think that the Department of Veterans Affairs have been truly supportive of me ever since I left the army.”

His advice to achieving a long life is, “Stay active and as fit as you can and be interested in the world around you.”


By David TUNE

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