Welcome to Listen To Older Voices, a program produced by Rob Greaves for Uniting Melba and podcast through the Toorak Times and Tagg.
Listen To Older Voices presents the stories, views and opinions of our older citizens. It is predominantly in a life & times format, with interviewees reflecting upon their lives from earliest memories. An underlying principle of the program is to promote the concept of positive ageing, reinforcing the principle that older people have & continue to make a valuable contribution to both their local & wider community.
This is the first part of a two-part program featuring the Life and Times of 87-year-old John Skrinjar. John’s story covers his earliest memories of life in Austria, which was in fact just after the Germans invaded and occupied the country as part of WWII. As a boy he was encouraged to join the Hitler Youth, which he indicates was an easy decision because of the enormous benefits it bought to his family. We need to remember like much of the world, Austria was still suffering the effects of the Great Depression, and in addition, the war was not making obtaining foods and other goods easier.
John talks about how bombs destroyed his school and how his teacher and 100 pupils had their classes in a bomb shelter with almost no books and other resources. At wars end John, who was 14 years of age, found himself poorly educated and unable to find work. There are stories of how he visited the local POW camp and swapped rabbits he had caught for chocolate with the prisoners. He eventually finds work and picks up skills he would use later in Australia. Part of his story involves how it was that eventually he came to leaveAustria, for Australia at the age of 24 to work on the Snowy Mountain Scheme.
[Listen To Older Voices receives funding from the Commonwealth Government through the Commonwealth Home Support Program Program]