It was 1945 and the war had ended,
Our brave men were coming home,
The survivors of the fighting “Sixth”
Their slouch hats were proudly worn.
They had seen the worst, of it all,
Good mates they’d lost were many
In the Middle East, Greece and Crete
And in the jungles of New Guinea.
My dad was there, he’d seen it all,
He had made it back alive,
Battle scarred worn and weary,
He was fortunate to survive.
Soon after he heard from an army mate
Of a place called Clifton Gardens,
He put us in his old T-Ford,
A new adventure we were starting.
Through the then slum streets of “Erko”
And over the Sydney Harbour bridge.
Through Northern Sydney suburbs,
Perched high on a sandstone ridge.
At last we arrived at the crest,
Of a steep curving downhill drive,
Suddenly below a green sheltered cove,
There our child spirits jumped alive.
Dad’s wartime pal had told him,
Of army huts standing bare,
Put a lock on one of ‘em mate
We soon were squatters there.
To two small kids ten and eight,
From the slums of the inner city,
The grass, the trees, the golden beach,
It was a beautiful serendipity.
Over the years we fished, swam and grew,
Until our lives went different ways,
But still today my mind can see,
Those idyllic childhood days.
My great grandfather built the clifton gardens hotel in the 1800s. His name was Stewart Butters; my grand father also worked on the revamp in early 1900, his name was Edward Sewart Butters .