Family war medals uncovered years after peace declared
PAT Curry, 85, remembers her father Roy Dennien heading off to WWII but she had never seen his war service medals until her cousin Shirley Dennien suggested she seek them out.
Pat remembers the war years as her late parents, Roy and Hilda Dennien of Murgon, both assisted with the war effort.
Her cousin Shirley was inspired to find out what had happened to the war medals of her own father, William Dennien, when she attended a Centenary of Anzac event a couple of years ago.
Shirley searched for those of his two brothers Roy and Cameron at the same time.
A reply to her request to the Defence Department's Directorate of Honours and Awards revealed none of their war service medals had ever been issued.
So Shirley contacted Pat, urging her to request them from the department, which she has since done.
"I can still remember him going off in his army uniform," Pat said of her father.
"We went to the station to wave him off on the troop train.
"When he got leave we'd go to Brisbane to see him."
During WWII Roy Dennien was stationed in Millaa Millaa in North Queensland and Maitland in NSW but was never sent overseas.
Both his brothers served overseas and returned uninjured after the war.
Pat said she remembers during the war years 1939-45 her mother working tirelessly for the Red Cross and offering rooms to war wives who travelled to Murgon to visit their husbands stationed at the nearby army training camp.
"Friday night the soldiers would come into town for a night out," she said.
"Red Cross would put on stalls with pies and sausage rolls. I can remember helping out. One year my mother made me a starched veil. I loved it. All I wanted to be was a nurse and finally I did that."
Roy Dennien grew up in a family of 10 children on his parent's dairy farm and moved to Murgon after marrying Hilda, who was one of nine.
Roy Dennien drove a truck for the council. The couple had two daughters and became known in the town for their beautiful garden filled with flowers and vegetables.
"It was a really happy time," Pat said.
"My mother did beautiful handiwork. She did smocking on dresses. I can guarantee almost every woman in Murgon had a smocked dress for their baby."
Her father died in 1988 at age 80 from cancer and her mother passed away at the age of 94 in 2005.
The family's history will be further explored on the television series Who do you think you are on June 6 on SBS when the show delves into the life of her daughter, Olympic swimmer Lisa Curry.
Pat Curry is the proud mother of three talented children, Olympic swimmer Lisa, pianist Scott and artist Melanie.
For more information on war and service medals contact the Defence Department's Directorate of Honours and Awards at PO Box 7952, Canberra, 2610, phone 1800 333 362 or visit www.defence.gov.au/medals
Articles contributed by Margaret Maccoll are supported by the Judith Neilson Institute of Journalism and Ideas.