Page 1155 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 8 April 2008

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family home, mostly on weekends. Caley Place, or Mosman Place as it is now called, is still the family home.

Charlie was a bricklayer most of his working life, but that does not really describe the man, except for his capacity for hard work. He was a farmer at heart, deeply attached to the land and endlessly curious about its moods and the animals and birds which he observed all his life. He owned and loved dogs, a good many of them unsuited to city living. Anyone who ever encountered Lassie, Rover or Snow is unlikely to forget the occasion.

The garden was his special domain. It provided him with satisfaction and purpose the year round. There were the beehives in the backyard; honey making was his cottage industry.

For a man who worked in a backbreaking occupation, Charlie remained fit and strong into old age. His physical stamina and resilience until near the end were remarkable. As far as can be recalled by his family, his recent stint in hospital was the first time in his life he had been seriously ill. In sickness, like many of his generation, he was inclined to downplay the gravity of his predicament. He would say he felt a bit rackety, meaning he felt a bit lousy.

Charlie was deeply attached to his religious faith and to his church. He was proud of his sons, not least of whom Steve, who celebrated the funeral mass which I attended. He was proud of his daughters-in-law and, of course, he was immensely proud of his grandchildren.

I knew Charlie only in the last few years of his life. I knew him to be a good man, a man who loved his family, a hardworking man, an old fashioned man in the best sense of the term. He was one of those salt-of-the-earth types; one of those honest, trustworthy, hardworking people who helped to build this country, particularly in the post-war period. I would like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to Charlie’s life. I send my condolences to the Fletcher family. May he rest in peace.

Jewish food festival

MR PRATT (Brindabella) (6.08): I rise to talk about and celebrate the very effective function at the Jewish synagogue at Forrest on Saturday, what they call their Jewish food festival. I was very impressed by the size of the crowd. They really parked the place out for about half a kilometre radius. It was a very, very busy day. They had a lot of Jewish folk-dancing; the sound of violins and squeeze boxes dominated the atmosphere. I was quite impressed.

My wife, Samira, and my daughter, Yasmina, accompanied me and bought out all of the sweets from the sweet stall, which the people selling them were very impressed by, because they could pack up and go home early. Jewish sweets and Arabic sweets are almost exactly the same. The cultural similarities between both cultural groups are quite startling.

If I might say, too, there was a sweet moment when Bill Arnold, the senior in that particular community, who was taking photographs all over the place, embraced my

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