After many years of having the horses pull the plow, the family had enough money to buy a D2 Caterpillar tractor from the United States. My great grandfather, Bertie Peri, was proudly driving his new tractor up and down the paddock when a big black car comes driving in from Master’s Road, Toobanna towards him.
A Government Official got out and nonno Peri thought they had come to intern him to the camp as he was an Italian refugee, he said to the man, “I’m already packed, just come up and the wife will fix you a cup of tea and I’ll have a shower and get ready. The Government Official replied “Oh no Mr Peri, we’re not here for you, we have come to commander your tractor for the war effort.” Nonno Peri replied “Oh no, please take me, but not my tractor! As he started to cry.
The Officials didn’t give Nonno a piece of paper regarding the war effort, but returned a week or so later and they told him that it was going up to Papua New Guinea to flatten the forest to build air strips for our planes.
Nonno never saw his beloved tractor again, nor did he ever find out what had happened to it. It was back to using horses for quite some time. At this time, my grandmother, Beattie Aquilini, was seven and Nonno decided to sell the farm and bought a general store and bakery at Toobanna.
When my grandmother was eight, she learnt to drive the only truck they had – a 4B2 army truck that my grandmother had to drive to deliver the bread to the railway station to be bought further south.
Gosh! I love all of nanna’s Stories, she seems to have a never-ending list that she enjoys telling the world.