Crown and Anchor luck, and a block of land for five hundred quid – more from Tom

Again this has been contributed by Tom, a soldier serving at Maralinga during 1956/7.

Attached is the photo I have of the buildings at Maralinga. The one at the bottom on the left looks to me to be the HQ building where the Commander, Colonel Dickie Durance had his office, as did all the staff officers, and the orderly room.

The health physics group was at the bottom end (closest to the bottom of the photo) they had three offices, one for Harry Turner, another for the three soldiers in his team and the other one for their clerk, the useless pommy bloke who used to get around all day with shorts down below his knees and wearing socks and sandals, and he was such a useless typist that they used to get me to do their typing for them. He was sent home in March or April 1957 got his annual leave and never came back.

The small building shown above the HQ building was the post office. On the right of the road were all the barracks blocks for the defence force people, they are only shown in part, but I lived in the one that can’t be seen as it was the one closest to the road, also not shown, that ran between the barracks blocks.

Across the road from our barracks was the kitchen and the other ranks mess and the cinema and the recreation room that had the pool tables, and where crown and anchor and other gambling was held every night straight after dinner – I had a lot of luck playing crown and anchor (Leading Cook Ray Bacon, RAN ran that game). [with the winnings] I was able to buy a block of land for 500 pounds at The Gap in Brisbane when I went home on leave in April, just before Easter.

All of my winnings in crown and anchor were for the time from January, but when I went back after my leave I did not gamble again and have never gambled since. I thought that a person only has once chance at being the winner when gambling, so that was my turn! I don’t even buy raffle tickets or anything for myself, always buy them in the name of my wife or my kids or grandkids and if wins, give it to them.

Cheers, Tom.

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