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Bock Family History
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Jack Bock

The pedigree or as Jack would have called it, the 'stud book'.

John William Bock was born on 14 May 1922.  He was the fourth child of Lila May (nee Oxley) and William Albert Bock.  The eldest son was Eddy, then Hilda, Harold and then Jack.  At that stage Roy was just a twinkle in his father’s eye.

Peak Hill

The family lived at Peak Hill (about half way between Parkes and Dubbo) where his father was a sharefarmer, dam sinker and carrier of wheat and wool.  About the time Jack was born his father suffered serious injuries when he was blown off a ladder while putting a tarpaulin over a cargo of wool.  Jack’s younger brother Roy was born after this accident.  William wasn’t able to work as he had before and the family moved to the Hermidale area.  I’m told on good authority that Jack and Roy fought like blazes over who should do what job, but that Roy, being the younger, could often win with a good swift kick in the shins.

Nyngan

Before Edna

The Bocks lived on a number of properties in the Hermidale area, including Tipperary and Yan Yarrie.  Eddy had become the breadwinner in what were the years of the Great Depression while the younger children were receiving their primary education in subsidised schools.  These were schools established on properties such as Pangee and The Ranch, because the distance to towns was too great for the children to travel each day.   Eventually Jack’s parents took the younger children and they established a home in Nyngan, while Eddy bought into a property called the Pines.  Jack must have been doing ok in the bush schools because 3 months after moving to Nyngan he managed to be Dux of his new class in the Intermediate Certificate.

The Hickeys

Whether it was while he was in school at Nyngan or at one of the dances at the Collarena Hall, Jack met Edna Hickey.  The Collarena Hall is the country equivalent of the scout hall.  Built by volunteers, being in the country it’s made of rough sawn timber cut in the area and roofed and walled with corrugated iron.  It’s the social centre of the area.  Tennis courts, dances, picnic races, sports days.  It was at functions like these that Jack courted Edna.

Sydney

After he finished school Jack had various jobs including farm work, teaching in the subsidised schools, and as a porter on the railways at Burke.  Jack’s time as a teacher explains why he could always recite much of many of the better known Australian and classical poems.

World War 2 broke out in 1939 and Jack tried to enlist in the air force, but was rejected because of the lump on his forehead. He worked in Darwin during part of the war assisting in the construction of defence facilities including aerodromes.  By coincidence my own father was in Darwin at about the same time.

After the war Jack had various jobs in Sydney including working in car assembly at Dominion Motors, but all this time he had a sweet young thing from Nyngan on his mind.  So in 1946 Jack popped the question.  Now Jack must have been a bit nervous about this Hickey mob because he had a 2 year engagement and then managed to get a postponement after breaking his leg.  I guess what made him nervous was that his fiancee won second prize in the 1946 Nyngan show for Best Hand Knitted Baby’s set!  But some things are written in the fates and on 15 May 1948 Jack and Edna were married.

Mosman

For the first 3 years of their life in Sydney they lived in Mosman and it was during this time that he joined the Post Master General’s Department and trained as a telephone technician.

Concord West

Two daughters

In 1951 Jack and Edna moved to 13 Killoola Street, Concord West.

Shortly after the move Karen was born on 5 July 1951.  Narelle followed a few years later on 13 January 1954.

St Ambrose parish

Jack and Edna joined in the local community through their involvement in the local St Ambrose parish where the girls attended the local parish primary school.  This was an era before restaurants were common and entertainment centred around dinner with friends, tennis and having a few friends or family over for cards.  Jack and Edna made great friend during their 25 or so years in Concord West.  There were the Copps, Powers, McPhees, Lenards, Shirbins and many others.

It was during this time that they met a young priest who had come to the parish as a curate.  This fellow was to become a life long friend, performing the weddings of the daughters, baptising two of the grandchildren, celebrating the Mass in honour of their 40th wedding anniversary and ultimately helping us celebrate the lives of both Edna and Jack.  Thank you for all your support over the past 30 odd years, Father Mac.

The country connection

All the while Jack and Edna kept up a close relationship with their families, most of whom remained in the Nyngan area.  The family holiday was often a 10 hour drive to Nyngan and catching up with family and friends.  In the early days the girls would get out in the paddocks on bikes or be given books to entertain themselves while Jack and Edna would catch up with what was happening with Eddy and Linda, Harold and Kitty, Hilda and Bill O”Neill, the Hickeys, Holmes’, Herberts and Simpsons.  Just occasionally during a trip to town for some forgotten supplies the men folk might get waylaid at the pub or the RSL to restore the fluid balance after the long hot drive to town.

 And it was the same the other way too.  I would go to visit the Bock’s at Concord West and there would frequently be Akubra’s on the hall stand, and these cars in the backyard often with roo bars and always the same red colour, at least until they washed the Nygan dirt off.  And sometimes the men folk might have to pop down to the shops for something that might be needed for the evening dinner, and then they’d get to yarning over a few beers, telling a few lies and having a generally good time.  Just occasionally this meant that those veges or what it was that was needed for dinner that night might not make it home in time.

Both Jack and Edna also had family in Sydney:  The Withers, Nixons, Moreys, Raymond Herbert & later Dorrie, and Jack’s brother Roy and his wife Marcie and their family were all a major part of Jack’s and Edna’s lives.

 And over the years the girls grew up, and Jack and Edna saw them through OLMC at Epping and then years 11 and 12 at OLMC Parramatta.  Karen did her teaching at Macquarie and Narelle did her nursing at St Vincents.   And it during these years they forged what was to be a long friendship with the Amundsons, Parsons, Lyons, Northwoods and Suttons.

Working at the Cross

During most of these years Jack was working at the Cross.  Now you meet some interesting characters in and around the Cross.  Jack had good mates at work including Denzil Fogarty, Tony Stephens and Tony Borg - and they managed to enjoy themselves without getting into too much trouble.  They worked in an area where they were exposed to what you might call “interesting people”.  Now one of Jack’s great strengths was that he was equally at home talking to a Supreme court judge, or a businessman or the brother of a reputed Mr Big.  Jack could make anybody feel at ease and be at ease with anyone.

Sons in law

Now this quality of Jack’s was eventually going to get him into trouble.  Two daughters, boys calling, Jack making them feel welcome and, always being willing to give a hand if it was needed.  Jack and Edna made both John and I feel very welcome in their home and ultimately this led to Jack being parted from large sums of money for weddings.

 About this time Edna had a hole in her heart repaired, and while it was major surgery and was a stressful time for all the family she made a full recovery and life went on well.  She was able to continue her involvement in bowls at the Concord Ladies Bowling Club.

 On 6 December, 1972 Karen married John Carroll.  Then came the grandchildren.  Fiona in September, 1973 and Lisa in September 1974.  John was working in civil engineering and his career was taking Karen, John and this new set of girls to Wollongong, Tathra and later to Perth.

 In 1975 Narelle and I were married but Karen and John kept Jack and Edna happy with the birth of Michelle in June 1977 so Relle and I were able to lead the good life for quite a while.  The Bocks are a close family so Relle and I bought a house at Rhodes.  Now I don’t know if it was something we said or did or just the fear of constant freeloaders, but within a month of us announcing our purchase a mile up the road in 1976, Jack and Edna had sold Concord West and were off to Dundas where they bought a unit.  This freed Jack up from lawn mowing and all those other tiresome tasks and made life easier for both of them.

Dundas

After Michelle was born Jack and Edna visited Perth to stay with Karen & John and the grandaughters.  Later they had trips to New Zealand and on the Murray River and to South Australia.  It was great to see them spreading their wings and enjoying their retirement.

21 Station Street

After they moved Jack and Edna kept up their old friendships but again made new friends at Dundas, particularly Bill Summers, Lil Almond and Rita

Rydalmere Parish

Jack and Edna were involved in the Rydalmere parish where once again Fr John McCaffrey appears on the scene.

Retirement

Jack had had to retire after having complications with his first hip replacement.  He had learnt bowls but as his hip got worse found it too hard and had to give it away, but still stayed involved in the social side of the club.  Jack had time at Lottie Stewart in rehabilitation for his hip and Edna got very involved in the auxiliary there.

Getting harder

While they were at Dundas there were two more grandchildren to dote on and spoil.  Amy was born in 1984 and Robert, the only grandson in 1986.  Jack and Edna were a great support, particularly to Relle and I, helping us out with babysitting.  Even moving away hadn’t saved them.  Distance was nothing, they had even had Fiona to stay from Perth.  Things were starting to get a bit harder for both Jack and Edna as they got older, but they remained very involved with the lives of their growing family, following the progress of the grandchildren as they too progressed through their schooling and Fiona (and Narelle) graduated from Uni in 1985.   Jack and Edna had the bittersweet pleasure of seeing their eldest grandchild Fiona go overseas when she and Matt went to the UK to live and work.   As it became harder for Edna and Jack to host family functions Karen and John took over that role frequently sharing these happy occasions with John’s parents, Jack and Dymphna Carroll and their family.

Lutanda

In June 1996 Jack had his second hip replacement operation and from then on things got tougher as he had more troubles with his other hip dislocating more frequently , causing him great pain, and requiring him to go to hospital to have it put back in.  In December 1996, after a lot of time resisting the idea, Jack and Edna sold Dundas and moved into the lodge at Lutanda.

Settling in

In spite of their initial misgivings they were made very welcome by their new neighbours and the staff and settled in well.  Jack went onto the residents’ committee and again they made new and good friends.  The card skills were sharpened up again.

Lutanda was a godsend for Edna, Jack and all of the family.  It is a great place with wonderful facilities and tremendous people.

Edna’s illness

Unfortunately Edna’s heart trouble resurfaced and she passed away in July, 1997, only a bit more than a week after she and Jack went to Michelle and Shane’s engagement party at the Nolan’s.  It was a great loss to all of us, but particularly for Jack to lose his wife of almost 50 years.  Jack put on a good front and everyone was very kind to him.  Jack didn’t complain but his health kept deteriorating.  He had had to use half crutches after the second hip replacement, but got a new lease of life with a walker.  Jack had the pleasure of seeing Fiona and Matt married in November 1997, having Lisa graduate from her university studies earlier this year , Michelle finish her university studies this semester and of hearing the tales of Amy’s sailing and rowing and Roberts’ soccer, rugby and sailing.

In June this year while Jack was having a hip dislocation fixed, the x-rays for the anaesthetic showed he had cancer in one of his lungs and he underwent surgery to have it removed.  He had a pretty tough time of it in the early post-operative days but on one occasion when he suggested to Karen that he had had enough she told him Father Mac was too busy watching Wimbledon and he’d better hang in there.  He did and continued to make a slow but good recovery and was thrilled to attend Shane and Michelle’s wedding reception in late July.  The photo on the front cover of our mass books today was taken at their reception.

Jack really appreciated the people at Lutanda. Only a week ago he wrote to the Melbourne-based company which manages it to tell them of his appreciation of all that the management and staff had done for him.

It makes you believe in premonition.  Not only had he written his letter of appreciation, he had rung a number of people to have a yarn and tell them he wouldn’t be sending Christmas cards this year, and he’d got his tax return finalised after a bit of a delay.

 On Wednesday Jack didn’t feel to well.  About dinner time he was uncomfortable enough to leave the table early. But at 8.10pm when Relle phoned he made no mention of feeling unwell but indicated he was watching “The Titanic” and would chat over lunch the next day.  By 11.30 he was in hospital and by 3 am Thursday he had passed away.  In spite of all his troubles with his hip his passing was a shock and a great loss to all of us.

 The quote on the desk calendar for Thursday was from Abraham Lincoln:
 “I do the best I know how - the very best I can; and I mean to keep on doing it until the end.”

In summary

Loved a beer and a poem almost equally

Could mix with anyone from people on the fringes of the underworld to supreme court judges

Worked to provide the day to day needs of his family

He was both a gentleman and a gentle man.

THANK YOU

Thank you to everyone who cared for Jack along the way, to the great staff at Lutanda who made such a difference in the last two years and to everyone here today.  Karen and Narelle and their families invite you to join them at 11 Orchard Road, Beecroft (the address is on the booklet) following Northern Suburbs.

 Notes 

14/5/22 born

1938 School in Nyngan

Farm work, Teaching in the subsidised schools, Porter on the railways at Burke

Rejected when he tried to enlist in the airforce because of the lump on his forehead.

Worked in Darwin during part of WW2 assisting in the construction of defence facilities including aerodromes.  By coincidence my own father was in Darwin at about the same time.

Various jobs in Sydney after the war including working in car assembly at Dominion Motors

1946 engaged to Edna

15/5/48 married (after the wedding had been postponed because of a broken leg)

48-51 lived at Mosman

Joined Post Master General’s Department and trained as a telephone technician

51 Moved to 13 Killoola Street Concord West

5/7/51 Karen born

13/1/54 Narelle born

6/12/72 Karen married John Carrol

14/9/73 Fiona Carroll born, the first grandchild

15/9/74 Lisa Carroll born

7/5/75 Narelle married Paul Hanly

18/8/77 Michelle Carroll born

Paul and Narelle buy at Rhodes

Moved to 1/21 Station Street Dundas

Hip done in 1983

Retired in 83

3/2/84 Amy Hanly born

30/10/86 Robert Hanly born

4/95 Relle and Fiona Graduate

Fiona and Matt go to UK

6/96 second hip done - multiple dislocations

12/96 Lutanda

7/97 Edna died

11/97 Fiona and Matt married

98 Lisa graduated

6/98 Lung operation

7/98 Michelle and Shane married

Contributed by Paul Hanly.




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