Thursday, May 02, 2013

Letter from Australia- Ray Hall- 1947-50

Ray Hall with his wife Eileen in Australia

“I was one of those “Children of Craig-y-nos and as I type this email to you the tears are falling down my eyes, sorry.”

This email arrived the other day from Ray Hall in Australia.

He emigrated there as a young man in 1969 after spending three years as a plaster bed patient in Craig-y-nos.

He goes on to say that it was a friend who alerted him to the Internet site with this blog.

His memories of those years in the sanatorium are hazy except that he went in as a four year old and was made to lie in a plaster cast for years and that he was wheeled outdoors in all weathers for the “fresh air treatment”.

While he went on to become a successful civil engineer in Australia, married with children and grandchildren the memory of those early years, years which he had locked away, can still bring tears to his eyes.

But how about this for a coincidence? When he emigrated to Australia in 1969 he stayed at the same hotel as the touring Welsh rugby team and he got the autograph of Clive Rowland, their coach.
Only now, through the blog, does he learn that they were both in Craig-y-nos at the same time!

Every two years he returns to the UK:

“I have personally been back to visit Craig-y-nos a few times and I find it very difficult.”

Everyone does Ray. You are not alone there. That’s why our reunions have been so beneficial – they have helped people to come together to share their experiences, heal and get a sense of closure.
Ray Hall in a plaster cast out on the verandah of Craig-y-nos

Ray left school at 15 with no qualifications, and little prospects.

"My first job was tea boy with Sir Robert McAlpine at the Abbey Works, Port
At age 17, the company gives me an opportunity to work as a draughtsman in
their design office, subject to me going to Bridgend Tech once a week and
passing the necessary exams.
Glamorgan County Council awarded me a scholarship when I was 21 to attend a
full time course in Civil Engineering. I graduated in 1967 and went to work
full time with Sir Robert McApine as a civil engineer.
In 1969 my wife and I, emigrated to Australia where I took up a position
With New South Wales Government.
I worked for the NSW Government for 26 years mainly on water and wastewater
Projects initially as a construction engineer then promoted to Project
Manager with Senior Executive status.
In 1967 I was one of the founding partners of the engineering consultancy
firm Ellis Karm & Associates.

I am now retired and spend most of my time planning my next overseas trip to
South East Asia, Europe and UK.
 We have 3 boys and 5 grandchildren, suffice to say they are all Aussies and they do not share my
thick South Wales accent.”

He adds:
“ Notwithstanding the hardship I must have gone through when I was a young
child, I
 made it" as you have rightly stated and I am proud of my achievements.
I trust that we can continue this conversation and you never know I may well
make a visit to meet you personally when I am next in UK.”

Please do.

Raymond Hall born 7/9/42
Ex Port Talbot and Craig-y-nos
Now living
Koolewong NSW

No comments: