Thursday, April 28, 2016


Colonel David Hackworth....

Uki, Northern New South Wales

Col. David Hackworth's caisson and funeral procession makes its way to his grave site during burial services at Arlington National Cemetery May 31, 2005 in Arlington, Virginia. Hackworth earned numerous citations for bravery including two Distinguished Service Medals, 10 Silver Stars, eight Bronze Stars and eight Purple Hearts during his career, and was highlighted by his outspoken nature and criticism of U.S. military policy. He died May 4 from bladder cancer and was buried with full military honors.  (With Thanks and Recognition to Gettyimages)

A few years ago I wrote about the following episode in my life, but following a post on “Georgia Girl with an English Heart” – and  Kay’s response to my comment therein I thought I’d  re-post some what I'd written, and givee more detail about the late Colonel David Hackworth, who for a time back in the mid-Seventies was a friend of mine.

This story...a true story...begins at Scaramouche Restaurant; a Brisbane restaurant in which I worked, part-time at nights in the mid-Seventies.  I had my Monday to Friday day job within the Queensland office of the Kolotex Group of Companies, but I started working at Scaramouche on Friday and Saturday nights because of my interest in restaurants and the preparation of food; and to earn extra money.  Also, Randall (now my ex), upon his return from almost a decade overseas, based mainly in New York City for a period worked at Scaramouche during the day and at its sister restaurant Manouche at night.  Rather than spending my evenings sitting around twiddling my thumbs, it was far more interesting and much more fun waiting tables at Scaramouche.

My18 months or so stint at Scaramouche started off with my working two nights a week; towards the end I was doing five nights a week.  I enjoyed every moment while learning so much about the industry.

The food presented at Scaramouche was French-style. The magnificent, historical old brick building housing the restaurant stood proudly on the corner of Turbot Street and Coronation Drive, Brisbane.   Once upon a time it had been a church.  The Brisbane River flowed just across the way...across from the front entrance to the building on the other side of Coronation Drive that runs between the river and what was once the stately building and restaurant.

"Scaramouche" was the "In" restaurant during the time I worked there.  French food was the rage at that stage.  Until its creation there had been nothing like it in Brisbane.  

The restaurant was the brain child of its owner/operator Peter Fluckiger, later to become Peter Hackworth.  

“Peter” although with the masculine-spelling of her name is of the female gender.  Peter turned 80 on 4th February, 2016. She is an exceptional, amazing woman.  Peter is still working and inspiring others.  Her imagination has never recognised boundaries.  Peter is, and has always been an entrepreneur personified; one who is always a few steps ahead of the rest of us.

In 1957 Peter started off in the restaurant industry. In her early 20s, she opened  “The Primitif” coffee lounge in the Piccadilly Arcade, Queen Street, Brisbane, opposite the G.P.O. 

From its conception The Primitif was very popular.  Situated below street level, its atmosphere was bohemian and “beat”.  I’m sure the spirits of Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were regular guests at a table set aside especially for them. 

Red wine, sipped over steaming bowls of Spaghetti Bolognese while listing to jazz and folk music was the order of the day and night.  The aroma of freshly-brewed coffee also filled the air. Peter imported an Italian coffee machine and two Italians to operate it!

Peter, during the early days of Scaramouche, also owned another restaurant, "Manouche". It was, situated on Milton Road, Toowong. Before Peter got her hands on it, it had been a humble,little old cottage-style shop that was selling antique furniture and bric-à-brac. Peter converted it into a small French restaurant.

Peter was and still is a legend in Brisbane's restaurant industry; although now, at the age of 80, she’s no longer involved in the restaurant industry.  Nowadays she is involved in the fresh produce and craft street markets.

And then....along came David Hackworth. ... a fine-looking man, of that there is no doubt....a man who exuded an almost palpable aura...

I remember clearly the first time I met David.  It was a Saturday night, around 7.30 pm....he arrived at the entrance doorway to Scaramouche.  I greeted him, thinking he was a diner coming to dine in the restaurant.  From the first moment I set eyes on the man before me who was looking me directly in my eyes, I took notice.  He commanded one's attention.  My heart even began to pound.  Unless one had a heart of stone, I believe his presence would affect others similarly.  He asked if he could see Peter, so I led him to where she was.

The late Colonel David Hackworth, one of the most decorated veterans in U.S history....who I was fortunate to call a friend back in the mid-Seventies.  David was an impressive human being.   

Amongst his collection of personal medals were eight Purple Hearts.

David Hackworth moved to Australia after he left the US Army. At the time he’d been on active duty in Vietnam during the war in that country.  Often David had visited Australia during his R & R and had fallen in love with this country.

Disgusted with what was going on within the military hierarchy David left the Army.  He was of a family of military men; his forefathers before him had been in the US Army.  

David decided to settle in Australia. He bought acreage at Uki in northern NSW (not the Gold Coast as Wikipedia and the Arlington Cemetery sites erroneously state.)

With his own hands, he built a stunning pole home using timber from his property.

David and Peter met through a mutual friend who lived in Sydney who believed they’d be a good match.

By the time they met, Peter had married and divorced three times. First she was married to an Austrian baron; then to a private investigator; then followed Kurt Fluckiger, who, while also being a Swiss precious metals’ expert, somewhere along the line learned how to cook French food, and he became the chef at Manouche, and father to their daughter, Gian.  Peter also had an older daughter, Michael from an earlier marriage.

David and Peter married. Together they had a son, Ben.
David turned his expertise and his fine mind for detail into helping Peter run Scaramouche, turning it into a very viable, profitable operation.   David was a leader...a natural-born leader.

My ex, Randall, by that stage was employed in the real estate industry.  He acted as their real estate agent when they bought their house at Auchenflower, a Brisbane suburb.  David and Randall got on well.  When David wanted to look at property with the view of possible future enterprises, he looked to Randall for advice etc.  

The four of us shared some very happy moments. One time Randall and I spent a fun-filled, memorable weekend with David and Peter, along with mutual friends at the farm in Uki.  

With David as “Activities Commander-in-Chief” there was never a dull moment throughout the whole weekend.  

The house was fascinating; it was inviting; it was intriguing.  The land it sat upon was lush. 

The highset house constructed of timber and glass had solid, sturdy, structural poles (trunks of trees) as thick as electricity poles running from the ground through to the ceiling; they became part of the interior decor.  Solid as a rock, the strongest cyclone would’ve been incapable of destroying the house. Not only had David personally built the house, but he designed it as well. No matter where one sat, lay or stood there was a view of the verdant surrounds and the mountains. From memory there were over 300 acres in all.  The number 360 sticks in my head...I think there were 360 acres in total....but don’t quote me!

When David moved to Brisbane to be with Peter, he installed a manager/caretaker on the property.  Ducks were raised at the farm; vegetables and herbs were grown.  The ducks were part of Scaramouche’s menu as were the fresh herbs and vegetables.  David created recycling way before ‘recycling” became the “in vogue” word and activity.  The food waste from the restaurant went to the farm to feed the ducks and be dug into the produce gardens; and the produce from the farm went to the restaurant.  A distribution of fresh ducks became a profitable business, too. 

Restaurants from Sydney to far North Queensland bought the ducks from David’s farm to put on their dinner menus.

Another night I’ll never forget was the night when Peter and David discovered Randall and I were off to the drive-in movies.  They begged to join us. Loaded with deliciously decadent, cream-filled, toffee and chocolate-topped goodies (pastries) from a French patisserie in Fortitude Valley known as "The Eiffel Tower" - off the four of us went in our1964 EH Holden Wagon.  (I always drove the EH wagon; while Randall drove our 1975 Volkswagen Passat).  

Randall and I’d not taken much notice of what the secondary movie was going to be on that particular night’s programme.  I’ve never forgotten the lead-up, secondary movie, but I've never been able to remember what the main feature was! 

We certainly sat up and took notice when the 1975 comedy starring Elliott Gould began to unfold...the movie was “Whiffs”. Gould plays a gullible military private who volunteers to be the subject of numerous military biological and chemical weaponry experiments.  He later robs banks as a result.   

David had a wicked sense of humour, which was just as well for our night shared at the drive-in movies, I guess.   Things could have performed a somersault and turned upside down otherwise....

Anyway, he was the one who pleaded to come along with Randall and me.  Who were we to deny his pleas?  He, too, enjoyed the movie and laughed along with the rest of us.   Much merriment went on in our car that evening.

After Peter and David divorced, David returned to the US; and he remarried.

David Hackworth was a War Correspondent during the Gulf War.  He wrote books...non-fiction...of course.

David's own life story is one worth knowing. He was a fine man; a unique person.

Colonel David Hackworth was an serious, intelligent, complex, yet simple man; one with a strong, powerful character. A man of contradictions he was also lots of fun; full of inventive mischief; it was better to be his friend than his enemy....I was his friend.

When preparing to make the movie “Apocalypse Now” Francis Ford Coppola flew to Sydney to meet with David. It is said Coppola based Brando's Colonel Kurtz and Robert Duvall's character on David.  David never denied this to be so. He reputedly spoke the memorable, and oft-quoted words, “I love the smell of napalm in the morning” that were so famously uttered by Robert Duvall’s character.

Sadly, David passed away, eleven years ago - 4th May, 2005 – at the age of 74. He was interred at Arlington Cemetery...there he rests in honour.

David Hackworth was an outstanding man. I will always be grateful that I was fortunate enough to get to know him; to be a friend, if only briefly in the whole scheme of things.  

David and I share the same birth date....Armistice Day.....11th November....

Saturday, April 23, 2016



A. B. Facey

No doubt everyone in Australia and our good neighbor, New Zealand is aware, or should be, ANZAC Day, 25th April falls on Monday. This, of course, means this weekend is a long weekend. 

Let’s not forget the important reason for it being a long weekend.  ANZAC Day.

A favourite book of mine is A.B. Facey’s “A Fortunate Life”.  It’s not what one would call a “big” book, but it is a big story of a simple, good man’s life; a life filled with a wealth of experiences; a life that wasn’t always easy.  The autobiography was published in 1981, nine months before Albert Facey’s death at the age of 88. 

Born in Victoria, at the age of five years, after the death of his father, Albert (Bert) Facey, along with three of his older siblings, was sent to Western Australia where the brothers were raised in the care of their grandmother.

Facey began working when he was eight. With little education he could neither read nor write. By the age of 14 he was an experienced bushman. Aged 18, he was a professional boxer.

 In August 1914, when Albert was nearly 20 years old news came through Britain was at war with Germany. Facey was in New South Wales at the time with his boxing troupe. The air was rife with talk Australia was sending a force of 20,000 troops to aid the British. Knowing he was fit, and lured by the thought of travelling overseas, Facey, like thousands of other young men, decided to volunteer.  He travelled back to his home state of Western Australia to enlist.

In early February, 1915, along with his battalion, on board the troopship “Itonus” Facey headed for the Middle East.  One of his older brothers, Joseph had set sail five days earlier. Roy, another brother had also enlisted.

Bert Facey lost a lot of his mates and had witnessed many men perish.

On 28th June, 1915 Roy was blown apart in an explosion. When Roy was killed Bert went through the harrowing experience of helping bury his brother, side by side in a grave with fifteen of his mates; something none of us could ever imagine having to do; should never have to do. The clearing where the bodies were interred was named “Shell Green”.

A.B. Facey was badly injured at Gallipoli on 19th August, 1915, when a shell, lobbed into the parapet of his trench, exploded. His mate was killed. 

Facey suffered internal injuries and a crushed right leg. A bullet also struck him in the shoulder.  He’d been at Gallipoli six days short of four months. 

During his recuperation in a converted sports arena in Cairo the Aussies called “Luna Park” Facey turned 21.  He told no one. It wasn’t a time for celebration. 

While convalescing he was told his brother Joseph had been killed. Joseph was bayoneted while on guard duty at an outpost.

In November 1915, Bert arrived in Fremantle. He returned to hospital. His injuries caused him severe problems for the rest of his life. He was discharged from the Army in June, 1916.  During his rehabilitation in Perth Bert met his future wife. After marrying in 1916 they had seven children, the eldest of whom was killed in the Second World War. Bert and his wife had 28 grandchildren. 

One Sunday afternoon in 1989 a couple of friends and I visited the Mountain View Hotel at Gordonvale, south of Cairns; a wonderful old country pub.  My interest was alerted when I learned the groundsman/barman’s surname was “Facey”. He and I had a lengthy conversation. A. B. Facey had been his great-uncle.

I’ve always been grateful I asked the question of the fellow…”You might think this a silly question, but are you related to A.B. Facey, the author of “A Fortunate Life?”

The war ended for Bert Facey when he was injured in 1915. He had no other choice but to return to Australia to be rehabilitated; but sadly, the war didn’t end at Gallipoli.  The “war to end all wars” dragged on and on.

Australia’s 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions having withdrawn from the horrors of Gallipoli were sent to the French countryside…at the Western Front to help the French who were suffering badly. If they thought the eight months of the horrific battle at Gallipoli were bad, worse lay ahead with the Battle of Fromelles and the Battle of Pozieres during 1916.

In one night alone there were more than 5500 Australian casualties. In six weeks of battle around Pozieres the casualty count was equivalent to hellish eight months of Gallipoli.

1917 arrived. The Australians were again heavily engaged: at Bapaume; at Bullecourt and Messines and in the latter part of the year, in the Ypres offensive – Menin Road, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde, Poelcapelle and Passchendaele.

In 1918 the Aussies and the Brits reclaimed Villers-Bretonneux from the Germans. The fighting that commenced in 1914 finally ended in November, 1918.

 Few of the original ANZACS of 1915 remained. Australia and New Zealand lost far too many of their young men.  And, a great number returned home bearing injuries, both physical and mental; injuries and disturbing, unimaginable images that would haunt them for the rest of their lives.  Ghosts of the conflicts tormented…..

Sadly, wars have continued – they didn’t end with the “Great War”.  We look back on history, and too often we discover humans haven’t learned a thing.....


Thursday, April 21, 2016


I wish it would stop! Shut the doors!  Close the windows!

This morning, once more, I woke to sad news. 

In January I had the wind knocked out of my sails when I learned of David Bowie’s passing. I’m still trying to process the fact David Bowie is no longer with us - and now, today, 22nd April, I woke to the upsetting news that Prince has died.  I’ve been a fan of Prince for many, many years; more years than I can count on my fingers; two-fold plus.

Prince might have only been pint-size, but he packed a punch full of talent.  He brimmed to overflowing with musical genius; and to me, he was a sensual, sexy little bugger!

I’m still trying to process the fact David Bowie is no longer with us....and now this has happened!

If there was a Rock ‘n Roll/Musical Heaven there certainly would be one hell of a party going on right now.

Last week, with little prior warning, the Okie from Muskogee, Merle Haggard departed the scene to join Glen Frey.

 “Earth, Wind & Fire’s” Maurice White had already arrived.  His arrival immediately turned it all into a Boogie Wonderland.  The party was well under way!

Paul Katner of “Jefferson Airplane” also left this moral earth in January; as did Pete Huttlinger who, at one time, had been the late John Denver’s lead guitarist.  He’d also toured with John Oates (of Hall & Oates fame) and with LeeAnn Rimes.

Enough is enough, already!

At the time of David Bowie’s passing I wrote the following article for publication in our local rag up here on the hill.... in his honour....


Like millions of others throughout the world the news of David Bowie’s passing saddened me greatly.  I’ve always been a fan of Bowie; I always will be.

The Thin White Duke has left us...without our permission to do so.

As with everything else he did in his life Bowie left us on his own terms. He didn’t make a fanfare leading up his death, but we, his dedicated, devastated fans have, I guess, but in a respectful way.

The Man Who Fell to Earth has returned to the great beyond whence he came.

However, David Bowie has left us in the physical form only. And in space, he will not be an oddity. Bowie will forever be an eye in the sky watching and urging us to never allow our self to fall prey to normality; for us to always follow our dreams, even if we don’t make it to the end of one particular road; that there is always another path and another, and so on.

Bowie inspired us to test the waters; for us to push ourselves to our creative limits and beyond.

David Bowie, the chameleon, was the most originative star among the stars.

In his early days his penchant for flamboyant outfits; his sometimes bright orange hair; his lack of fear in wearing stilettos on stage led the way for others, who, in turn, understood one could experiment along the path of discovering one’s true, inner self.  

He opened doors that needed opening.  Many followed, tossing away their inhibitions, stepping forward eager to discover the possibilities waiting in store for them.

Bowie’s brave explorations of his individual creativity, of his brilliant and varied talents gave others the confidence to set aside their delicate, gauzy guises. Instead of yearning to be like him, they became individual artists in their own right.

Others began questioning and exploring their own creativity; their own individual talent. Following his example, others expanded their minds; their thoughts, ideas and artistic abilities.

David Bowie selflessly and generously gifted humanity with his intelligence, his music, his lyrics, words and art.  He dauntlessly went where many had feared to tread.

 In 1978 my ex and I lived in the Brisbane suburb of Torwood, high on a hill looking down towards Lang Park.  On a summer’s night in November we sat out in our sun-room listening to Bowie performing live in concert at Lang Park.  We felt we were part of the open-air audience. The music filled the night. 

Unlike Russ Hinze (a controversial Queensland politician of the 1970s and 1980s) we didn’t complain; instead we enjoyed the concert even if we couldn’t see Bowie in person. 

However, that situation changed in 1983 when David Bowie toured the world with his “Serious Moonlight” concert.  There was no way I was going to miss seeing Bowie live in concert again.  Missing him once was one time too many. 

With enough time up our sleeves (I’m one of those people who like to be at an airport or train station a week or two before departure)...Randall and I drove from Sunshine Beach to Lang Park where, once again, the concert was being held.

Bowie did not disappoint.

For me, David Bowie was/is unforgettable; he was mesmerising.  I doubt I took my eyes off him throughout the concert. From the moment he stepped onto the stage he had me in his spell...I was a willing subject.

Nothing Has Changed from when I first discovered Ziggy Stardust, 

The Man Who Sold the World, who was also suspected of being The Man Who Fell To Earth. The appearance of Aladdin Sane and his Pin-Ups Diamond Dogs just confirmed my opinion.

No matter where - from Station to Station - I’d recognise The Thin White Duke. So everything is still Hunky Dory.

I’ve always said if I were a sculptor or a painter, Bowie would have been my muse.  

Shoo the Scary Monsters away; don’t feel Low. We’ll invite some Young Americans to join in - Let’s Dance to Heroes!”

RIP.....But don’t despair....this is not the day the music died....the music will go on and on.....