Hello! Welcome to the personal website of John D’Mille, author and story writer.
John D'Mille began an exciting working life as a carpenter’s trainee and travelled through a number of very different fields of employment, partly as a consequence of falling off ladders or some such calamity. Childhood polio limited the choices but the challenges have had some positive outcomes.
It was an era when families suffered painful war losses and disabilities of returning soldiers, doctors, nurses and other profesionals were to be seen all-over the world. And some of the young schoolmates of the day had lost a father. They were specially regarded by the townsfolk.
Amongst the sad stories was that of the classmate whose father returned from north Africa bearing a disabling wound. Somebody found a job for him as a guard at the POW camp in Cowra, then a country town of modest size. The boy's Dad was killed in a prisoner breakout. Each Anzac Day, when we celebrated the military heroes and remebered the lost heroes, this pint-sized friend marched up-front in the smalest army uniform that could be found, proudly sporting his father's medals awarded for bravery. In a prison break, the soldier/prison guard had returned to the guard house to disable the Bren machine gun, thus saving the lives of a number of colleagues. He was set upon by escapees.
The prisoners were not all so hard to get on with. The boys passed on stories related by their fathers about the very congenial relationship between Italian prisoners and their Australian guards. Perhaps the most entertaining tale was that of Italian prisoners taking over the guard duties on Friday night to allow their overseers to go to town for a few drinks. That's right; marching the camp perimeter sporting rifles (unloaded we presumed.) We might also guess that they were rewarded with a bottle red from the emerging vinyards for which Cowra has since become famous. And there was another story of a dad who had fought years of the Pacific war behind the lines, in the tropical jungles, and going to extraordinary lengths to keep commanders informed of enemy movements. Of course we didn't believe him, but it was all true, and only part of an amazing real story.
So impressive were the stories of heroism and mere bravery that it was little wonder that John D'Mille lived for the day when he could join up. He did, but a humourless medical referee brought that to a disappointing end. That was how John D'Mille missed Vietnam, and was not on one of those training vessels that the Navy lost here and there. Some of his coleagues, and a cousin, were not so fortunate.
In such generous company, it would have been a very poor sport who would complain of a bout of polio. His preoccupation was to prove that the polio had never happened but nobody was convinced about that. His Dad's building industry became a new preoccupation, but that too was off limits for the a boy who made a habit of falling off ladders and scaffolds.
Teaching was the most fulfilling occupation. The abiding love of the wood-man's tools and the aromas and beauty of freshly cut timber is deeply ingrained in the DNA and teaching woodwork was a logical entre to the profession.
Books became an important adjunct to the carpenter's tools. John D'Mille studied law but it was legal theory that became the focus. He has written extensively in that area and hopes he will yet complete a contribution to legal theory that began cooperatively with Japanese friend Shu Iwanaga. Iwanaga died a very young man and the project has been on hold for a decade. Is there another Asian enthusiast for innovation in law out there?
Like so many writers, John D'Mille has an abiding interest in history. For this writer, the interest has been in the people who displayed admirable qualities in recovering from terrible crises: Europe and the Americas after the wars; Britain especially in the reign of King George VI. The world is full of writable history but so much of it is well worn and documented. One strain though remains to be explored. The children of the wars is a line of literary promise that seems to have escaped the attention of most historians. D'Mille's small novel, Poor Angelina,
e-publishe on Google, is in that mold. Then there may be stories about Wally, the boy who could not stop becoming a soldier, and Erik, the German flier who migrated to Australia and developed a love for the out-back, the way out-back, where he flew light aircraft rounding-up stock on those hundreds of square miles of cattle runs, building fences, and hunting wild dogs. Erik's real name is a mystery but he showed a deep, silent interest in John's babling about D-Day from an adjoining hospital bed, in 2005. Then Erik told the other side of his story and suddenly, all became clear. Where was Erik on D-Day 1944? Erik's tale might make a fascinating biographical story, peppered with innovations and wild guesses, but fascinating all the same.
Writing historical fiction can be animated by curious observation of the lives of historical personalities and other real people with whom we have shared our own experiences. The people in our lives do not become real characters in the stories but their personalities, their style or lack of it, and their humour are the intuitions that help design the fictional characters.
John's wife is Cecily and she does most of the work here. Greg keeps the wheel chair at high speed when his father get out in it. Greg is a down syndrome young man, a valued helper at Vinneys, where he is a volunteer.
Daughter Lisa and her husband Michael, Artist-Art Teacher and Network Manager respectively, raise the grandchildren to great heights of success and stature. Six feet five inches is the record so far. Ciaran, Shahana, Ethan and Annika, keep our lives interesting and enjoyable.
The plan behind this website is to introduce enjoyable reading and to record some ideas that might be of benefit to others. John hopes to have several other writers join the Four Seasons Writer's and Readers' club and to incorporate as a writers' and readers' home site. We hope the website and the written works introduced here will be enjoyable for you too, our visitors.
“YOU BE THE AUTHOR” is a plan that I hope to initiate in 2016. It will invite people who would like to try their hand at writing, a little or a lot, to participate in a new work. Watch these pages for developments. It might be an enjoyable game to watch, or to get involved in if you wish. I am sure that there are other teachers who are more qualified to lead the activity but they might not be as driven by the desire for humour as I am. (Americans, yes that is humor. Same thing, different time frame. Tell me what that's about!)
Where-ever you are and what-ever your stage of life, this could be something new for you, or just a bit of fun.
I am not a genealogist but I have thought that a page on 'searching for family origins' might be interesting. That will come after I have completed several writing commitments, and it might be someone else, much more experienced in the field who will write it.
I have a special page covering a new product, or a new plan that comes to light. This will change, week to week, but there will be an archive that readers can return to and contribute new information if they wish.
The editor will be one of my writing associates.
Please spread news of this website far and wide. I want it to be of interest to a lot of, people and a benefit to all. As they say at Macas when I succumb to the appeal of a 'cool' casual meal - Enjoy!