Owner of Sydney Junction Hotel, Clare Rogers (nee O’Hara), shares her personal Anzac Day connection with Newcastle Live, and explains why it is her favourite day of the year…
“It beats Christmas, it beats Birthdays, it’s a day when family and mates all gather around to pay tribute to the legendary Aussies that fought for our great country’s freedom,” Clare says.
Like many Australian families, Anzac Day is an emotional time for Clare and her relatives, as her grandfather Major William Francis O’Hara was killed in action in Buna, Papua New Guinea in 1942.
“My grandfather was a pilot in WWII, and ranked as a Major for the Australian Air Liaison Section,” recalls Clare,
“His plane was shot down on 22 December 1942, which just so happened to be the day before my grandmother’s birthday – who was 7 months pregnant with my father at the time… Sadly, my father never got to meet his own dad.”
Unfortunately, Clare’s is familiar story for many other great Australians who lost loved ones in the war. However, while Anzac Day is a time surrounded in sorrow, it is also a time to feel great pride for the men and women who fought for our country and our freedom.
“It also makes me proud of my grandmother who went on the provide for my father as a widow,” says Clare,
“My grandmother completed her Masters of Law and went on to become one of the first female lawyers in NSW, she had little choice but to work in an era when women were not welcomed in the workplace… Remember this was a time when women weren’t even allowed in hotels!”
Clare encourages Anzac Day as a time for family, a time for commemorating our lost soldiers, and a time to remember just how lucky we are to live in this great country we call home. Lest we forget.
Image: Major William Francis O’Hara, 1942
Have you got an Anzac story you would like to share? Feel free to let us know in the comments below…