Sylvia and Harold Rowell
2009

 


W.A. POETS FROM THE PAST

 

Her Poems

Night Flight to Darwin

Why We Remember

 

 

If anyone has other poems by Sylvia, I would love to have to put on this page

 

a year or so before she died, Sylvia gave me permission to publish any of her poems in the Bully Tin or anywhere else.

Sylvia Rowell

Born: C 1919

Died:  10 December 2009

Biography:  

This is a reprint of an item in the August, 2009 Bully Tin , the monthly newspaper of the WA Bush Poets in which Sylvia and her husband of 65 years were the featured "Profile" as both had recently been awarded Life membership of the WA Bush Poets & Yarn Spinners Assn.  for services to the Assn over 15 years.

How do you summarise 170+ years of living into just a few lines? — I visited Sylvia and Harold, and the stories they have to tell would fill several books. Sylvia grew up in Eastern parts, studied English literature and commenced her career as a librarian.  From her early memories, she recalls that she often questioned the traditional views of many literary works.   Harold at that time was in Perth and  starting a career in Life Insurance, then along came the war.  Harold joined the RAAF and became a combat pilot, stationed in Northern Australia and New Guinea.  Sylvia meanwhile was doing “secret stuff” for the Navy. They met in Sydney in 1942 thru a mutual friend and it wasn't long before they became “a couple”, They recall fondly that their first outing together was to Taronga Park Zoo. Sylvia and Harold were married in Sydney in 1944, by which time Harold was a flying instructor (in Tasmania and later at Cunderdin). Late in the war, Harold was “manpowered” out of the airforce to a civilian air operations post at Derby, and it was there that the first of their 3 children was born.

After the war, they came to Perth where Harold resumed his Insurance career, but in 1948, he was invited to become a pilot with the WA based MacRobertson Miller Airlines  (MMA). With his love of flying, this was an opportunity not to be missed, and so started a flying career which lasted 32 years (only finishing when he reached the compulsory retirement age)  Meanwhile, Sylvia was keeping home and hearth warm, their family having now expanded.  Airline pilots are away from home quite a bit and also have  time to pursue other interests. Over the years, Harold took the opportunities that came along to become involved in many commercial enterprises, Sylvia with her literary background became his “Girl Friday”, doing most of the correspondence and running around associated with them.  I was told that these various “other” interests included trading in horses, prize bulls, crocodile skins, trochus shell and oysters, having interests in a scrapyard, an old peoples home, a pub, a lolly water factory and more recently in a couple of shopping centres. Harold was also heavily involved with the (at times militant) National Commercial Pilots Union and with Legacy, both of which, from time to time, caused him to come into conflict with “the establishment”.  Over the years both Sylvia and Harold had became involved in many community service organisations, and in recognition of this, both have been awarded OAMs and the “Paul Harris Rotary Fellowship”.

As well as all this, they found time to travel widely throughout much of the world.  Sylvia has always kept up her love of literature, and around 15 years ago translated this into writing and reciting Australian Rhyming Poetry.  Through their son’s business connection with Rusty Christensen, they discovered the newly formed WA Bush Poets and became active members, not always in agreement with the management.  It was Sylvia who wrote to the committee requesting that “people of a certain age” be allowed to commit the unforgivable and “read” their poems .  -  And so we come to today, married now for 65 years, still very much in love, frailer than either would like to be, they live out their retirement in their dream home of 30 years overlooking Melville Waters and the City.  A truly lovely couple whose  lives and commitment have fortunately touched many of us.

 

 

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