2005 School Reunion

A little recording I made using my Chinese music tape bought in Penang. Put to photographs of Penang and some of our school reunion there in 2005.  Click here.

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Just a quick note to let you know that I’m just home from 10 days in hospital after open-heart surgery. I’m fine – but a couple of months at least recovery and taking things very, very easy.

Therefore not a lot will be being done here until I feel fitter and get better.

Cynthia xx

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RAAF Club (or Hosty)

RAAF Club in 1964

RAAF Club in 1964

Kevin Cragg emailed me a photo he found of the RAAF Club site as it is today. See below.

The site has  been redeveloped in recent years and is now unrecognisable as our once beloved hub of social activity. How we enjoyed the Joeys Club and other youth dances that were held there.  And the movie nights – what a great time it was.

In 2005 at the school reunion in Penang, a group of us were fortunate enough to have a tour through the then disused site. If we looked hard we could see the lines of the tennis courts buried beneath the tangled overgrowth. Inside the main foyer area, we had a glimpse of what was before when we saw some Australian-State plaques still on the walls.  We looked around and tried to picture what used to be where in the terribly broken, run-down and abandoned interior. It was an emotional hour or two as we slowly and quietly scoured the area – each with our own thoughts. With our fingers we drew our names in the dust on the louvers of the dance hall and once inside we could see the dusty area that was the stage where bands once played songs like My Sentimental Friend and Jesamine. This the place where many of us experienced our first ‘glows’ of romance and I for one fell ‘in love’ with the lead singer in The Super Jets. I’m talking 1969.

Well, in the name of progress this is what you’ll find there now when you visit.  There’s no stopping progress and development, I suppose.

The RAAF Club came into being in January 1962 and became the focus point for much of the social and sporting life of RAAF families during their stay in Malaysia. See more history at RAAF Club.

RAAF Club site in 2013

RAAF Club site in 2013



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Pamela Rushby

Pamela Rushby

Pamela Rushby

Let’s meet Pamela Rushby, previously Pamela Donald. Pamela’s mother Daphne Donald taught at the old-site school in 1958. I met Pamela at the 2010 Penang school reunion.

Did you know that Pamela is an accomplished author? She writes for adults and children on varied subjects – fiction and non-fiction – and has won many awards. Her site is impressive so I recommend a visit there. You WILL find a book to interest you. If not on Gallipoli, or Steve Irwin, then what about ‘First Journeys’? A book on the travels of Thor Heyerdahl, Charles Kingsford Smith, Valentina Tereshkova and others.

  • children’s books (fiction and non-fiction)
  • young adult novels
  • television, video and audio scripts
  • short stories and freelance journalism
  • radio and television commercials
  • multimedia
  • Books can be purchased via Booktopia or Amazon.

You can visit her website to learn more.  Books can be purchased via Booktopia or Amazon.

View her update page at raafschoolpenang.com.


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From Lal re Fairdinkum’s Store

I recently received an email from Lal – who lives in Malaysia. Some of you may remember the Fairdinkum’s store which was 5 minutes from the base at Butterworth. Lal’s father ran that business and Lal has made contact with me.

Here is a slightly edited copy of Lal’s two emails. It was just interesting to read and something that others might find interesting as well. Reproduced with permission, of course.

6 May 2013
Dear Cynthia,

My name is Lal, I am writing to you from Malaysia.

I know you will not know me but my dad ran a retail business just about 5 mins drive from the RAAF Base in Butterworth.. The business was called FAIRDINKUM’S…have you heard if it?  He started his business in 1957 at Butterworth just about when the RAAF took over from RAF…and the shop was kind of exclusively selling to the personnel and families of RAAF…

It’s 2013 and FAIRDINKUMS is still here now still serving some what remains of the RAAF presence in Butterworth and the Royal Australian Regiment – Rifle Company Butterworth that has an infantry unit rotating every 3 months. You can look at our www.fairdinkums-store.com. My brother and I run the business; my brother is a lot more into it than me. I am mostly on the export part of the business while my brother takes care of the retail. By the way my brother’s name is Kan; he is married with 3 lovely daughters.

Kan has extended the business now into the Air Base (The RAAF base before which is now the RMAF Base….RMAF being Royal Malaysian Air Force) where he has a shop at the RAR lines ( RAR = Royal Australian Regiment) which is on a 3 months rotational exercise visit.

Sad to say, though I very much grew up in Butterworth (I was born in 1958) and have been here ever since, I failed to collect any real photos of those good old days – the times at the Boatie, Radio RAAF Butterworth, The Dolphins swimming club where I was also a member along with my brother and sister and where I picked my very first swimming lessons and the Saturday matinees I so looked forward to at the Astral.

So looking thru some of the photos and narrations you have on your site truly strikes a nostalgic chord as you say

I just wanted to connect with you….and hope to with all the rest who were once here, with their families to keep the memories afloat and everlasting.


20 May 2013
Dear Cynthia

Its good to hear from you, it feels great to connect. Sorry for the delay in replying, I was in HongKong for business.

Penang is so much changed. One significant development here is of course the Penang Bridge linking mainland Butterworth to the island…and now we have another 1 more bridge coming up. Traffic is getting crazier. The shore line of the island has changed magnificently, lots of new villas and condos including new shopping arcades and boulevards have sprung up.

You would remember Gurney Drive ? That’s turned into a real night spot.

Lots of 5 star hotels and colonial bungalows turned into motels are on the stretch. Restaurants, night entertainment lots and lots of tourists.

As you say what we took to be ordinary then seems more than treasure now.  I too wish that I had more tangible images of that special past, I think by connecting with you and the many wonderful people you know who were a part of all this, I will be able to re-live some of that special time.

I have some fond memories of how my dad had really good friends in the RAAF and their families. I remember going for Christmas picnics put together by the families…to Merdeka Beach some miles away from Butterworth, I especially remember the caroling throughout December every year. Turkey, presents and beer. Yes my dad suggested beer for his sons. Apparently my first taste of beer was when I was 3 months…same with all my other brothers.

Truly wonderful days.  I will love to share more, pls do keep in touch , take care.


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