Canberra Dec 2009


Dear Friends and relations...                    

Here we are with December almost half over and still no 2009 Christmas Letter or web page. Blame it on a busy retirement and celebrations in full swing. This year, to save some time Betty and I have decided on a joint letter.

Here the 5-6 year drought continues and the 'bush capital' is looking a bit sad to say the least - everything is in survival mode. Just enough water to save most things. But there is a little bit more water in the dams this year, so during most of last month we were allowed to wash our houses and driveways to get rid of some of the red dust and even our cars. At least at particular times of day and on alternate days. I even celebrated by replacing my broken high pressure spray system - much more economical than a hose.

We started planning for the 40th Anniversary of Apollo-11 in mid 2008. My reasoning was that we have already lost so many of our friends from those days, so we should make this one the biggest and the best. I was lucky to be able to persuade some of my Apollo co-workers to lend a hand and after almost a year of planning the 4 days of celebrations were a great success and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. More information at and if you are interested, there are loads of photos on Betty's second set of Picasa photo albums at (which include many family gatherings, Bird photos and other things).


We took a short break at South Durras on the East coast where we were very kindly offered a house by Leonie who also worked at Honeysuckle during the Apollo days. A lovely area only a couple of hours from here. It was great to wind down a bit after the 40th, but it was incredibly cold there (not generally the case).


Then in September we made a trip around South Australia, you can see at that we covered a lot of ground. But best of all we had a couple of mini-reunions with friends from the early 1960s when I spent a couple of years living in Adelaide and flying in various large and small aircraft :-).

At this point I'm going to hand over to Betty for family news........

Hilary graduated at Sydney University in April for her Masters degree in Sexual health. John and I were privileged to be with her on that occasion.

Amanda, Tamara and Emma all have full time jobs and are living away from home. Jessica at 16yrs old finished Year 10 with flying colours, and she looked beautiful in her yellow dress for the prom. Jessica has a part time job and dances three times a week. Hilary is having building a small two bedrooms house on her block which hopefully will be finished in February. The big house will be rented out to pay for the new house. Hilary started her PhD this year.

Penny, Terry, Rachel and Emily went to Hawaii earlier this year where Penny made a presentation of her work in ‘Virtual health and education’. Also, Penny and her co-workers went to the Northern Territory to an Aboriginal town to educate the teachers and students on how to work her health programme in their own language. Penny is studying for her Masters degree. Terry is still at Tidbinbilla at the NASA tracking station. Rachel and Emily are doing well at school and music and enjoy rock climbing.

Catherine is getting over Michael walking out of their marriage and has met another fellow, Kelly. Catherine is still working in the Bronchoscopy theatre and the doctors are treating emphysema patients with a lot of success. Samantha and Andrew are doing well.

Timothy is working 3 days a week at 'Accident and Emergency' at the Canberra hospital, and Sheri is full time there. Bailey is very cute and mischievous. I get to look after him when the parents’ shifts overlap.  

So please have a wonderful Christmas and a great 2010 - With love from John & Betty 
P.S. Click any picture (except the Christmas ones) for a larger version.

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