What is RSL Life Care? Find out
ww2-newspaper-1 | RSL LifeCare - provide care and service to war veterans, retirement villages and accommodation, aged care services and assisted living
September 03, 2019

80 years ago today

80 years ago today, Australians listened to their radios as Britain, and therefore Australia, declared war on Germany. Thousands of RSL LifeCare’s residents heard the radio broadcast with their own ears – a moment that would change the world and their own individual lives, forever. Here are a few of their memories…

We were next to a playground where the children would play and every day you would hear the children’s voices and that day, it’s amazing how different everything was. There wasn’t a dog barking, a child crying. And the silence had an effect – you thought “This is getting serious” and you knew something was about to happen. That happened at the end of August and then on the 3rd of September, war started.”

Colin Hilan from Kokoda Village, Ballina: “At the outbreak of war I was eight years of age and living in Ballina. I was attending Ballina Primary School and helped to dig diagonal trenches between the school fence and the roadway. We practiced getting from the classroom to the trenches and practiced knowing where sand, buckets, water and First Aid equipment was. At home we made block-out curtains. All the small vessels were confiscated and some late model cars too. We were given ration tickets for food, clothing and petrol and I remember many of the First World War diggers took an active part in the defence of the town through their membership of the VDC (Volunteer Defence Corp). During all of the years of the war a lot of the boys came home and then returned to the front lines.”

 

Colin Hilan as a young boy in Ballina

 

Cynthia Turner, resident of Kokoda Care Home Narrabeen, was a young girl living in England when the news was announced: “It was in the holiday time and a friend of mine, Margaret Pern, her family owned a little beach house down the coast and they invited me to go there in the summer holiday. There was the news that Hitler had been invading everywhere, it looked like he was going to invade Poland and if he did, we would go to war. So we were sitting down having lunch and Chamberlain came on [the radio] and we sat there and that was the speech. Before that we were warned that there might be gas, so we all carried gas masks on straps. When the war was declared all the people down there started going down to the beach and filling the buckets with sand, it was quite funny in a way. So they were coming back down to protect their doors in case the bombs came.”

Malcolm Stening, past resident at ANZAC Village, Narrabeen, was a newly graduated doctor and member of the Navy when war was declared. He was in London at the time, having travelled there as a ship’s surgeon on a cargo passenger ship: “London had reached the top of its entertainment – entertainment was everywhere, and that was the position before the war. August was the most beautiful month as far as weather was concerned. August in 1939 was exceptional. Everyone normally goes on holiday in August but they didn’t this time because everyone knew what was coming and they knew they were preparing for war and the entertainment went without expectation. A person was very lucky to be there at that time. Because I think we were seeing London at its best. Everything was just a matter of pleasure and fun.”

I’ll never forget when the children were evacuated from London just before war was declared. Oh that was an extraordinary day. All these children, and I think a lot of their pets, were taken out in trains – over a million children went out in one day. We were living in London House near Gravesend Road. We were next to a playground where the children would play and every day you would hear the children’s voices and that day, it’s amazing how different everything was. There wasn’t a dog barking, a child crying. And the silence had an effect – you thought “This is getting serious” and you knew something was about to happen. That happened at the end of August and then on the 3rd of September, war started.”

Lest We Forget.”

 

Colin Hilan today

 

Story by Helen Johnston

Blog Posts

Help for Vets in Need

Veterans’ Services

Find out more

Latest News

array(2) { [0]=> int(175) [1]=> int(41) }

The Incredible Journey of John Currie: A Life Anchored in Service​

"I was born in Western Australia as an only child to a family with proud Scottish heritage. Growing up, my roots lay in the Methodist church,...

Read more
Grace Lane

Embracing Life’s Symphony: Grace Lane’s Remarkable Journey

"Life at RSL LifeCare has been a surprising adventure for me. When I first arrived, my plan was simple - to do absolutely nothing. Little...

Read more

Peter Boughton: A Life of Service and Treasured Memories

Peter Boughton was born on February 18, 1951, at the Sydney Women's Hospital. His early years were filled with beautiful memories, especially his close bond...

Read more
Queanbeyan VWC Announcement

RSL LifeCare receives $5.445 million in funding to deliver a new Veteran Wellbeing Hub in Queanbeyan

RSL LifeCare, in partnership with RSL NSW, will receive a $5.445 million grant from the Federal Government to develop a Veterans’ and Families’ Hub in...

Read more

Jacquie’s 16 Years of Heartfelt Volunteering at RSL LifeCare

"I'm Jacquie, short for Jacquelyn Finley. I'm 76 years old, and I've been a volunteer at RSL LifeCare John Goodlet Manor for nearly 16 years now.​ You...

Read more

Margaret’s Journey: From Humble Beginnings to Cherished Community Life​

"I was born in the lively neighbourhood of Willoughby and soon moved to Balgowlah Heights at the age of five. Growing up in a bustling...

Read more
Joan Herringe

Joan’s Creative Pursuits: Knitting, Puzzles, and Cherished Moments at RSL LifeCare​

Many residents at RSL LifeCare love to participate in a variety of hobbies that keep their minds and hearts engaged. One such resident is Joan Herringe from RSL LifeCare Connie Fall. One...

Read more

Positive impact of Intergenerational Relationships

The power of intergenerational relationships has been demonstrated on ABC's Old People's Home for Teenagers, featuring residents from RSL LifeCare's Le Hamel Retirement Village and students...

Read more
Veteran Wellbeing Centre community event

RSL LifeCare secures $1.7 million funding to establish Central Coast Veteran and Family Hub and $243,000 for a centre at Bardia Barracks

RSL LifeCare has received $1.7 million in funding from the Albanese Government’s Veteran Wellbeing Grants One-Off Program to establish a veteran and family hub-like experience...

Read more

RSL LifeCare awarded $520,341 in government funding to enhance Veteran wellbeing services in Riverina

RSL LifeCare has secured $520,341 in funding from the Albanese Government’s Veterans Wellbeing Grants One-Off program that will be used to expand its services and...

Read more

George Carpenter’s Inspiring Dedication to Preserving Military History

George Carpenter, an 87 year old resident of RSL ANZAC Village in Narrabeen, has been volunteering at the RSL LifeCare War Museum for three years...

Read more

RSL LifeCare Nowra Community Unveils Visionary Expansion, Elevating Retirement Living to New Heights

RSL LifeCare has today announced Stage 2 release of its Dumaresq Retirement Village at RSL LifeCare Nowra Community. The expansion brings an array of new...

Read more

Download a brochure

We'll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time, we promise

Career Application Single

  • Accepted file types: docx, doc, pdf, Max. file size: 50 MB.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contact Veteran Services

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Are you ready to explore a new operations role with extra benefits?

Take your career in a new direction RSL LifeCare.

Search for an operations role at an RSL LifeCare Residential Aged Care facility in the Southern NSW region. Take a look at all our current positions here.

1. 100% funding on participating certifications

Undertake a participating certification through the RSL LifeCare Earn and Learn Incentive Program1 and you could be eligible to have your learning fully funded.

2. Cash bonus of up to $1000 (less income tax).

Through the RSL LifeCare Sign-on Bonus, you could be eligible for two split payments of $500 (less income tax), when you start a new role with us.

Contact Homes for Heroes today