My Family 


My Family - Early Years - Page 1

My Family - Early Years - Page 2


FATHER Keith Robert Colquhoun 1929 - 1992  
MOTHER Maureen Colquhoun - nee Ferguson 1927 -  
MYSELF Gary Robert Colquhoun 1949 - Married Joy Marcia Koehler - 1972
Divorced Joy Marcia Koehler - 1985

Married Margaret (Marnie) Rixon - 1985
Separated from Margaret (Marnie) Rixon - 1998
SISTER Karen Joy  Gooderham - nee Colquhoun 1951 - Married Neil Gooderham
BROTHER Russell Keith Colquhoun 1952 - Married Janelle Fleischfresser
SISTER Leanne Maureen Colquhoun 1957 - 1957  Died just after birth.


Mum and Dad married in December 1948.

We grew up in a rented house in Kingaroy, as Mum and Dad struggled to provide us with food, clothes and the other basic necessities of life.

Dad was only 20 years old when I was born and Mum was 22 years old.
To me, they were just "Mum and Dad", yet when I look around me at people of that age, I realize they were very young to have three kids by 1952.

Those who know of my family will know the environment we grew up in.

Because of that environment, alcohol is not one of my favourite topics and I don't find the actions of those who overindulge, funny or enjoyable at all, as our family had to endure those "funny" activities nearly every night of our lives until we left home to go our own ways as adults.

Mum did her best to provide what she could by sewing clothes for those who knew of her talent, even though Dad hated her doing it as he claimed she was making him out to be unable to support his family.
He spent many nights arguing with Mum about her "showing him up", when in reality all she was trying to do was provide money for food and clothes for us. With Dad's wage and his drinking and gambling, some weeks he would arrive home without a penny, literally.

Dad drank very heavily. Unlike his father, who was a "happy" drunk, Dad was an aggressive, argumentative drunk and caused us all a lot of anxiety and fear when he did, which was every weekday night.
The exception was Saturdays when he had to stay sober to drive his workmates home from the races, where he worked on that day - but he arrived home late at night, so we didn't see him.

On sunny Sunday mornings we sat as a "family" on the verandah in our pyjamas and read the "comics" section of the paper while Dad read the paper.
Those times were really happy and the only times we saw him fully sober, other than when we saw him rushing to get ready for work or rushing to get showered so he could go to the pub after work.

Sunday afternoons were a nightmare as Dad came home from the morning "session" and sat around sobering up, verbally abusing anyone in his path, until the time came for him to leave again at 4pm for the afternoon "session".

Sunday nights were spent with knots in our stomachs as we listened for his return. The squeak of the front gate as it opened and the bashing on the front door, after he fell up the front steps, is still indelible in my mind, as I knew what potentially lay ahead until he fell asleep in the lounge chair, usually around midnight after arguing with mum about something, anything.

The next day being a Monday, school day / work day, meant a new cycle started over.

Even though he gave us great grief, disappointment and fear at times, Dad was "our" Dad and we loved him.
Who knows what caused him to be as he was, maybe his upbringing in that era set him up for it. It also seemed to be part of the "male culture" in those days as some of his friends had similar lives.

I vowed to myself never to be like Dad in that area of life and never to treat my wife or kids as he did.
As life turned out, I didn't have any kids, even though I had 2 wives plus 2 major relationships, so I'm not perfect either.
I can say though that I tried my hardest not to cause them any of the feelings that I experienced as I grew up.
Considering the number of failed relationships I had, maybe I overcompensated and therefore became seen as lesser of a "man" in my partner's eyes - whatever that is these days.

This probably reads like violins should be playing as they say, but that is how our life was, as I was "growing up".
I've only touched on life in our home, as it would be too boring for others to read and seem like I was whinging but it should give readers a fair idea why I am not excited by the thought of alcohol and how our lives were affected.

As the years passed, Dad mellowed a lot and by the time he died, he and I'd had some good times. 

By the time he was in his late fifties, he had really painful arthritis in his spine and heart disease and a pacemaker was fitted to his heart.
Mum told me after he died that he knew his heart was becoming erratic as he used to sit here where I sit now - in the kitchen by the window, looking out at the passing world - talking to himself and checking his wrist pulse.
She said he used to say to himself  " what's wrong with this &$@#$ thing now?!", as he was very aware something wasn't going as it should.

I was in my second marriage by then and lived at Hervey Bay. We went to Kingaroy to visit Mum and Dad.
Dad asked me to drive him around the town and surrounds. As I drove, he pointed out places where he'd done work in his job as an Electrical Linesman.
We drove around for over an hour and when I arrived back home, he asked if I'd keep going and look some more.
I wondered why he was so interested, but now, with hindsight, I'm sure he knew his time was near.
We drove around for another thirty or so minutes. By the time we arrived home, it was time to return to Hervey Bay.

As we left, he did something not normal for him, he shook my hand and told me to look after myself. Then he stood at the edge of the gutter waving until we were out of sight.

Two weeks later I received a phone call at 5am to tell me dad had died in his sleep at age 62

Mum is now 80 years old and had two heart valve replacements in 1999.
She seems healthy for her age and enjoys her church activities, Civilian Widows and TV. She used to do gardening but now feels it leaves her worn out, so has given it up. She does her own shopping and I pick her up afterwards.

I have one sister and one brother who will see things from their perspective, not necessarily the same as I do.
One sister died just after birth.

Last Updated : 27/01/2012 11:18 AM +1000