Bert Facey sees himself as an ordinary man, but his remarkable story reveals a winner against impossible odds. At eight, his childhood ended and he went out to work clearing, ploughing, fencing, droving, sinking dams, boxing with a travelling troupe. He survived Gallipoli to become a farmer, but was forced to leave the land during the Depression.
Our group had an interesting discussion on the life and times of A.B. Facey this month. We were generally agreed that he was a special man who took what life handed him and did the best he could with it. Things were not easy back then and we all acknowledged that the general mentality of taking responsibility for oneself was common, but Facey had a remarkable ability to ride through the hard times with a positive attitude. Whether this was an individual trait he was born with or a result of early childhood experiences, we were not able to discern.
In any case, we were all impressed with his writing skills, considering his late education, and believe he did a more than admiral job of recording his memories. This all led to a great discussion on the huge differences to today’s generation of young people … those who have seen little or no tough times and how they perceive their world and their place in it, role models, class conscience and in ‘the less you have, the better you are’ theory. All very interesting and stimulating!
The publishing date of A Fortunate Life was a surprise to most of us, believing it to be around the ‘60s or ‘70s when in fact it was not published until 1982, just a year before Facey’s death. This made his memory and ability to recall so much of his life even more remarkable in our eyes, and places it firmly in the list of must reads … for all generations.