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 small 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.
I was privileged to meet Aub in the latter years of his life so it was very interesting to learn of the struggles, hardships and good times he and your family experienced. So much of his story is parallel to my growing up on a sheep and wheat farm in the Tatiara. It was the way of life for most.
Fortunately and unfortunately our grandchildren and future generations will never know how difficult life was but also how rewarding and character building.
A beautiful tribute to Aub, an amazing character, and his wonderful wife Val -- the women were the unsung heroes and the glue that held everything together.
An absorbing read.
J A. BliBli.
The detail you have at your disposal is wonderful, and you have painted a delightfully clear and consistent picture of Aub’s strength of character and personality. He does come to life in the book, and the historical perspective is fascinating.
Shan's Mum has finished reading your book, Marilyn, and she absolutely loved it. Shan is half-way through her copy and is thoroughly enjoying it too. It really is an absorbing and enjoyable read, and I'm sure you're getting a great deal of positive feedback. We’ll be happy to make recommendations to friends.
C B. Luxemburg.
Congratulations on the book, it is fantastic and fascinating - I love it. You manage to “flesh out” and bring to vivid life the boy and man in Aub (and his world). I recognise shades of quite a few of Aub’s attitudes, ethics, values, role-of-husband/wife, manliness, love of the Murray River, physical fitness, etc in my dad – they were obviously generational traits brought about by the particular (environmental, economic and social) circumstances of their time and their upbringing. It is a treasure that your dad obviously shared so much of his inner feelings and experiences with you, and that you were able to articulate his story in such depth and rich historical context. A story well worth the telling and well told.
N H. Ballarat.
I have just this minute finished your book, I didn’t want it to finish. One very appreciative customer!!
C S. Hamilton.
Just wanted to let you know how very much I enjoyed the book. Couldn't put it down. It brought back many memories of 2 short but adventure-filled years in the Riverland in the late 1980s. But mostly I was acutely reminded of my late father, a share farmer on Yorke Peninsula and a similar age to Aub. They shared many of the same virtues and shortcomings.
L G . Mt Gambier.
Just finished Aubrey's Game and thought that I'd let you know that I really enjoyed it: quite a life your Dad had! And the book was also a very interesting potted history of South Australia's Riverland during the 20th century...and of the people who opened it up. I bought the book on the recommendation of a friend....very glad I did.
Just finished reading your book. I enjoyed it so much. It made me laugh and made me appreciate what we have. Congratulations on a great read.
L L. Port Noarlunga.
CONGRAULATIONS!! I absolutely loved it.
H C. Renmark.
Interview with Marilyn by Andrew Jobling, Accidental Author