Celebrating Half a Century


The last few months I have had a special top secret project.  I have been making a book to celebrate my dear husband’s 50th birthday.

But I haven’t been making it alone.  His friends, family, students and more have been emailing and sometimes telephoning me stories, and photographs.  There have been poems, telegrammatic messages,  a caricature and anecdotes from those who know him and appreciate him for who he is.

His sister did some editing for me as well as tracking down networks I couldn’t.  Just brilliant and so helpful.  His friends, many of whom don’t consider themselves writers, dug deep and put into words what he has done for them as a mentor and friend.

What emerged from this process was a very special book, which was full of tributes and jokes, photographs I had never seen before, and his friend’s versions of stories which our children have often heard him tell, but which they can now also read, and which have shown him just how special he is to all of us.  He was incredibly moved by the stories.

In addition to this I included certificates, photos, letters, card excerpts, and some of his own writing, as he used to send me the most beautiful poems about life, and my own account of our lives together which referenced people who have made a difference to our lives.

As the book is done through blurb, there is a pdf that any of his friends  and family may request from me if they want a copy.  As well as that I can order physical copies for the children to share with their own familes when they are older.

As for my husband’s response to this book, he truly loves his present; it is the best one I have ever given him.  He has been especially impressed by the tribute from former student, Dan and his dear friend Johana.  He has had a good old giggle at some of the stories and been completely humbled, even floored, by the esteem many of us have for him.

I think the book has shown him that he has made a difference to a lot of people in his life, something teachers and parents don’t often have said to them.  On top of that I hope it has shown him it is never too late to achieve other dreams he may still wish to.

In making this book, I did my best to lay it out as beautifully as I could and edit the text submissions.  I thought about my husband’s many loves like: Afl football, cricket, teaching, family, science, study,mentoring, and his faith.  All of this was going to need to be represented in the book.  Sometimes I just let photographs do the talking.  I captioned images where I could, because well one day, someone other than us or our children will be looking at the book and might like to know who the people are. In all, it took 192 pages to achieve what I wanted, 300+ photographs, countless friends and family, and nearly 5 months of work, including waking in the middle of the night towards the end to finish it on time,  and yes, there could have been much more.

A huge thank you to all of the people who helped me make this book.  We do hope to visit many of you soon.

Inspired by this project I am now planning my next family book, but for now I have a few other writing projects of a very different kind in the works.

Have you ever made a special family book?  What was the response to it?  Who helped you make it?

Dan’s Tribute
From Johana
First page of account from David’s Mum
From our dear family friend Owen

(c) June Perkins

Chat with GrandDad Gerard

The third in the series, he still needs to interview his Poppy Perkins once he is well and out of hospital. Here is youngest’s chat with granddad.

Following the Crow Song


Here is my son’s Chat with Grandad (my Dad)

  1. Can you tell me what countries my relatives are from?

My parents, and my father’s parents, were all born in England. My father’s paternal grandfather (Jean Gerard) was born in France, and had “mixed” (African?) decent.
My mother’s father was born in Cornwall (part of England – but culturally, and supposedly racially, more akin to the people of Wales)
My mother’s mother was Irish.

2. What were their jobs?

My father was a teacher most of his working life – my mother held “occasional” jobs as an (unqualified) teacher, and as a nurse’s aide. Both of them served with the radar branch of the Royal Air Force in the war years.
My father’s father (Walter Gerard Senior) was a coal miner in the north of England. He was injured at this work in the late 1920s and never found permanent…

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Yarning with Bubu

Youngest son’s continuing interviews with grandparents.

Following the Crow Song

This is my youngest son’s interview with his Bubu (grandparent)

Hello Bubu.  I am doing a project about my family history.
Can you help?

What do you want to know about your project?

I am studying my family tree for school
And we have your father and mother’s name.

I can only go back as far as my grandmother.  I am doing some research on this.

Ok then what is her name?

My grandfather on my mother’s side name was Ako Gope I think, and my father’s side was Oake Apepe.
My grandmother was Fala Ekelakoa but my
Father’s side I don’t remember.
But I think it was Wagua.

Do you have photos that you could send me?

No dear sorry
I don’t have any photos at all of my grand parents
Oh wait, we do have one of my Dad.

I am looking through photos that Mark  Mosco and…

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Yarning with Nana

The second part in my sons guest blogs on his grandparents

Following the Crow Song

This is another guest blog from my youngest son about his grandparents.  Maybe we can persuade them to guest blog one day.

I asked Nana some questions and this is what she told me.

1) What countries are your relatives from?
Pieter your Great Great grandfather was from Natal, Sth Africa, great great grandmother, Florence Great Grandfather from Paris, Alfred born in Mt Gambier Australia, to colonial family, Great grandmother, Helen born Castlemaine Vic

2) What were your grandparents jobs?
Pieter, your great great grandfather was a coach maker, & interpreter (12 languages), Florence your great, great grandmother was a lion tamer in circus on arrival in Melb Vic., Alfred was a labourer, farm worker & Helen was a domestic worker.

3) Where were you Born?
Nana was born in Melbourne, Australia (Helen Sonia Grundy Perkins is her name)

4) Where did you grow Up?
Port Melbourne Victoria

5) What…

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Researching Family History

My youngest son is guest blogging our family story at Following the Crow Song, this is from his year 6 family history where he asked his grandparents their story, he needs to interview his Poppy as well.

Following the Crow Song

In the next few posts I will share my son’s research of our family history.  He did this for a year 6 project.

It is precious when grandparents share their stories.


I have been interviewing my grandparents.  Here I am with Nana Perkins when she visited me.

I learnt that my family has many cultures in it from the past and in the present.

We have:





South African                         




Papua New Guinea


Here are what all these flags look like.

Aboriginal_flagaustralia_flag  England FlagFlag_South-Africafrance_flaggerman_flagiranmapireland_flagpng_flagscotland_flagsouth_african__flag

I found out our Papua New Guinean Tribe has a Totem. It is a Bird of Paradise.  This is what it looks like.

bird of paradise

The name of the tribe is Maipa Fakai.  This is a photo of Bubu (Gerards) village.


I researched the stories of three of my grandparents.

I did these interviews by email and…

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