by BETTY GARRAD
Genealogy Sunshine Coast
George Edward Garrad was born on June 16, 1918, and raised on a pineapple farm in Palmwoods. His parents, George Garrad and May Gregory, married in 1915 and he had three brothers: Herbert Gregory, Cecil Ross and Stanley Edwin.
Regrettably, the boys’ mother died in 1926, about the time George Jnr, aged 14, left school to work with his brothers on his father’s farm.
George Snr married for a second time in 1934. His new wife was Barbara Alice Yarrow. Barbara Garrad, a half-sister for the boys, arrived in 1940.
Standing half an inch over six feet with fair hair and light brown eyes, George Jnr was a hard worker and even toiled for a season or two as a cane cutter.
He enlisted in the militia in 1941 and after 75 days’ basic training, spent four months in Townsville before being shipped to New Guinea to serve in the Second World War.
He was part of the Australian infantry landing at Port Moresby on July 19, 1942. With the help of American engineers, they were to clear the jungle and build airstrips at Milne Bay to counter the expected Japanese attack. George’s militia group was reinforced by an AIF brigade that had served in the Middle East. Those airstrips proved a valuable asset when the attack came in late August – the Battle of Milne Bay was the first land defeat inflicted on the Japanese army.
He was eventually returned to Brisbane on the Georgetown Victory and given an honourable discharge on May 9, 1946.
On September 7, 1946, George married Ivy Florence Duffield in the Palmwoods Methodist Church and they had two children. They first lived at Sippy Creek and farmed bananas. In the early 1950s they moved to a dairy farm at Yandina where they settled into community life. George joined the Yandina RSL and Ivy the Yandina RSL Women’s Auxiliary. They eventually retired to Nambour, then to Maroochydore, and finally made the full circle back to Palmwoods.
Ivy was a talented pianist and while in Yandina they formed a dance band called the Blue Hawaiians. While the names of the band and the players changed over the years, George was always the popular but strict master of ceremonies and Ivy was in control on the keyboard.
When George died in 1991 at the age of 73, he had well and truly made his mark on the Sunshine Coast. He was buried in the military section of Woombye Cemetery.
Source: National Archives of Australia; family information from Betty Garrad.
Betty Garrad is a life member of Genealogy Sunshine Coast.
The Genealogy Sunshine Coast Resource Centre in Petrie Park Rd, Nambour, is open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 9am-4.30pm. Visit sites.google.com/site/genealogysunshinecoastinc or facebook.com/gscnambour, phone 5329 2315 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Members are always seeking information and photos of military personnel in local cemeteries and memorials. Please contact the group if you can help.