Tambo Upper

abt 1900


abt 1905

The Rawson Families

Out of Walhalla

 Puckapunyal - not just an Army base

On 17 September 2015 I tried to get into Puckapunyal to visit places I knew from about 11 years of my childhood.  The security guys told me I could not enter the camp and so my memories of 11 years remain locked behind a security barrier.
No one should have to put up with this, and it was this that was the spur to me documenting some of what I remembered on this site.
We lived in Puckapunyal from late 1949 until 1955, whereupon we moved to Healesville. We were back in Pucka from 1958 until 1962. None of our "residences" exist today. The first was a corrugated iron hut/building that was connected at one stage to 3 Camp Hospital, and I was told by my father later on that it used to be the hospital's STD clinic. Hmm.
We then moved a short distance to the west into a more refined corrugated iron "house" at what was then 1 Suakin Road.  There is a photo of the "house" taken later in its life when it was connected to a plant nursery.  Suakin Road has not existed for a long time.  On return from Healesville we moved into a prefab house at 1 Vivi Street. Very upmarket it was compared to our first stay, and by this time Pucka had grown enormously. The house at 1 Vivi Street has also disappeared.
Adjacent to, and to the south of, 1 Suakin Road, at least part of a large building was used for a time as a kindergarten.  I also attended Sunday School at some stage, but where it was held I do not know. The photo opposite shows a Sunday School class from 1951.
There was no school in Pucka when I started in 1953, so I travelled on the bus each day to Seymour. However, a school did start in 1954, and the photo opposite is from that year. (Click on any photo to access a higher resolution image.)
Some time ago I found an aerial photo mosaic of Puckapunyal that was prepared in 1957 from aerial photography taken in 1947.  I used this mosaic as a base on which to outline the places I knew of in the early 1950's. This link will take you to the photo which you can also download if you wish.  In the area marked as "playground" you can still see some huts, one of which was home for a while as well as a component of the former STD clinic. Original aerial photo mosaics can be found here.
I have also put what I know from both periods of residence onto a Google Map - some of what is on this map has meaning only to me, but it may help you locate particular areas from the past in terms of today's geography.
Richard Rawson
September 2015

The House at 1 Suakin Road many years later.
It was now part of a plant nursery which,
considering our earlier inability to grow much
in the gravel soils in this area, is very ironic.

The Sunday School kids of 1951.
I am at the right in the back row.

This is the class of 1954.
I am the kid nearly hitting the bell with his head.

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