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Sid Ey Speech 31 May 2018 by Tony Piccolo MP

Tags: Tony Piccolo MP / Gawler

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  • By Light Electoral Office
  • Oct 02, 2019
Sid Ey Speech 31 May 2018 by Tony Piccolo MP

The Hon. A. PICCOLO (Light) (15:26):

Today, I rise to talk about one of my constituents who today celebrates his 102nd birthday. Sid Ey was born on 31 May 1916 to Elise Dawkins and Luis Ey.

He was one of four siblings with brother, Will, and sisters Kath and Muriel. Sidney's first home was at 4 Moore Street in Gawler, and he has lived his entire life in Gawler.

Sid was educated at Gawler Primary School and then worked with his father at the chaff mill, which was located at the site where Coles Supermarket now sits in the heart of Gawler.

It is remarkable to see how much Gawler has changed since that time. Sid remembers a time when wagons carried by horses used to travel to Gawler from surrounding areas carrying wheat and barley to be loaded onto trucks to be sent to Port Adelaide.

Sidney also remembers his grandfather's 1924 Ford Buick. Sid studied wool classing and had the opportunity, once qualified, to travel extensively across South Australia.

It is remarkable to think that Sid lived during the era of Don Bradman and Phar Lap, although he is not a gambler himself, and at a time when the town of Gawler catered for horses by providing water troughs in front of the Ward's shop as late as the 1950s. It is an era that is so long ago, yet Sid remembers it quite fondly. His recollection of his early life is truly interesting and a door into the past. He has a very vivid recollection.

At the commencement of the Second World War, Sid enlisted in the Army along with many others from the town.

Sid joined the Field Ambulance service after meeting two Army officers in Gawler who informed him that they were developing this unit. Sid, who did not know much about the Army at the time, decided this was a good fit for him. I do not think he ever had any regrets. Sidney received his early training at Wayville, was initially deployed to the Gaza Strip and later deployed to Tobruk, which went under siege.

He remembers one night in particular when he was looking after a patient with a broken leg in a hospital. Because this patient had a broken leg, he was unable to be evacuated to the air raid shelter when the siren sounded. Sid decided to stay with the patient to try to stop him in case he tried to get to the shelter. He remembers sitting with this patient during the bombing. He remembers it being an incredibly nerve-racking period but thankfully neither were hurt.

I could not imagine, and I think it would be very difficult for many of us to imagine, hiding in a building that was under attack.

The bravery that Sid displayed on this occasion is simply inspiring. Tobruk was under siege for six months until they were relieved from duty. Sidney remembers that water use was rationed and that they were only allowed one quart of water a day for drinking and shaving. It must have been incredibly difficult to live on that amount of water and have to be incredibly careful as to how it was used. Sid also served in Palestine for 12 months, in addition to Syria and Lebanon afterwards.

Sid remembers when he was in Alamein where they established a dressing station close to the coast. One night there was a bombing raid and in this instance one bomb landed in the salt marshes. The next thing he knew, a swarm of mosquitoes came through the camp. He remembers that this period was very hectic and that there were many people who were bitten, which kept him very busy that night.

Sid remained with the Army for many years serving in New Guinea where he caught dengue fever before rejoining the unit.

Sidney remembers the emotional moment when he surprised his parents on his return home. Sidney finished his military service with the rank of sergeant in the field ambulance service.

He witnessed the horrors of war from the frontline and he witnessed the loss of many good people, including many nursing and medical staff.

I think it is incredibly important to acknowledge the work of medical staff in our military as they, too, experienced the trauma and brutality of war. They played an important role in making sure that soldiers who were injured had the care that they needed and ensuring that those who did not make it home were treated with dignity and respect.

I would like to acknowledge Sidney's military service today. I would also like acknowledge the military service of those from my electorate who served in armed conflict throughout past and modern conflicts.

Sid enjoyed playing tennis and used to play in his early years when he returned from the war. He was a member of the Tod Street Tennis Club for many years. Sidney believes he was a reasonable player.

Now, 102 years later, Sidney is still with us, and I would like to acknowledge the work of the Gawler Oral History Project, particularly Mr Barry Nylon, who this year sat down with Sidney and spoke to him about his life and his connection to the local community. On behalf of this parliament and the community of Gawler, I would like to take this opportunity to wish Sidney a happy 102nd birthday and hope he has a fantastic day with family and friends.

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