By GISELA HORNER | VOLUNTEER WITH FRIENDS OF BELLA VISTA FARM
Geoff Clark was born just after World War Two. At 20, in 1966, his name was pulled out of the barrel to “do his duty for the country”. Farmer Joe father had died three years earlier, so his mother, brothers and sister were there to farewell him to an unknown future.
Geoff had never left home, never flown in a plane, never been out of Australia. It was a daunting prospect: living with a bunch of unknown blokes, being part of a war that was far away. He faced up to the challenge and served for two years with the Australian Defence Force in various Units.
His initial training commenced at Puckapunyal in Central Victoria, then moved to Singleton for infantry training in handling weapons, radio communications and field training then back to Holsworthy Barracks before being airlifted to Saigon to the Australian Camp at Nui Dat.
He served in the jungle for 10 months conducting patrols and reconnaissance, providing security for Artillery Corps and protection for military road convoys in the Nui Dat Province.
They were fighting a war in hellish conditions with drenching monsoonal rains, mosquito plagues and raging malaria.
Geoff had never experienced anything like this before. The war left an unforgettable impression on Geoff but once demobbed in Queensland two years later, he was able to return to normal life and studied mechanical engineering and design of factory machinery.
He loved his work in the factory and moved into management which he found was the best of both worlds – combining engineering and management.
Whilst studying, Geoff met his wife Marilyn at an end-of-year celebration. She needed a lift home and from then they dated and married in 1972. They have two daughters, Lisa and Filipa and a son Anthony, all of whom are doing well in their careers. Geoff loves to golf, walking, cycling and particularly likes travel.
This month, Marilyn and Geoff set off on a long caravan trip heading to Queensland and Northern Territory, exploring old country towns. Geoff considers himself a lucky man.
Although he saw action during the Vietnam War, he retains a quiet composure and enjoys life. One of his main outlets is coming to Bella Vista Farm. He carries out handyman tasks, has helped restore the old cow bales and does any work requiring mechanical know-how.
The farm holds great attraction for him. It is near home and once he gets there it is like being on a farm in the country with the old buildings and sheep grazing. “I just like being Farmer Joe”.
Bella Vista Farm is open the 1 st Sunday of every month from 0900-1400. Entry is free. QR code applies. Devonshire Teas are available ($5 cash only), house and garden tours conducted (a gold coin donation), a Trash and Treasure stall with quality bric-a-brac and the Hills Shire Symphony Orchestra performs during the day.
The Farm is located on the corner of Elizabeth Macarthur Drive and Norwest Boulevard, Bella Vista. More information about Bella Vista Farm can be found at www.thehills.nsw.gov.au
If you are interested in becoming a member and would like to contribute to the Farm, please email: [email protected]
Farmer Joe, Farmer Joe, Farmer Joe, Farmer Joe