Aubrey believed that life was a game, a test to be played the best way he could. Winning was the goal, but winning in the right way, by cheating no-one including himself.
He was born in South Australia on the 3rd of May in 1910. Over a century later when he died, a nation had been built, people had endured two world wars and a depression, and society had accepted standards that he struggled to understand. Life's experience had taken him on an extraordinary journey. He had seen the first crystal sets, cars, and aeroplanes as they came into Australia. He watched the first television broadcasts. He lived from the days of riding a bike to deliver a message, to experiencing the wonders of email. After listening to shortwave radio broadcasts, the age of cyberspace totally amazed him.
His challenges were enormous and he embraced them all.
He was a moody and determined child, blessed with a quick intelligence and an inquiring mind. When he was 10 and his family moved from the city to Renmark, he was seduced by the mighty River Murray, the paddle steamers and the characters of his time.
He shouldered responsibility early after the death of his Father, but fearing failure and being intermittently moody, he needed courage and persistence to forge his own path. He faced hardship and near ruin while battling to make a living in the early development years of the wine and dried fruit industries. The daylight hours saw him working his land, but the evenings found him out playing the role of a very talented musician, with a saxophone and a pair of clarinets as his tools of trade.
Generous, witty, warm and engaging on one side, Aub could also be austere, critical and unwittingly selfish on the other. He was a strong and fascinating character who left a positive impact on many people’s lives.
He had always shared his recollections, but as a vulnerable old man he included, for the first time, the raw emotions he had always hidden. We felt the pains of his loss, the depth of the struggles that had driven him, and the sweet satisfaction of his successes. We learned too of his regret, that he had not more openly been able to show his emotion for the woman he had loved.
When the song was gone from his heart, he wanted his game to end. He had held no effort back. He was very angry that he could not make his own final choices. He didn’t consider it giving up. It was a reward earned by the toll, good and bad, of having lived for over a hundred years.
He was willing.
He wanted his reward.
This is Aubrey's story, as he told it.
Interview with Marilyn by Andrew Jobling, Accidental Author