Beecroft-Cheltenham History Group

Whilst the lives of those in uniform have been well documented by the War Memorial Canberra and local historians, it is important to recall the effort contributed by others, particularly the girls and women left behind. Over sixty years have past, and yet, for those *involved in the 'home front', the memories of those war years remain clear. The women who have been interviewed for this article were in their twenties when war broke out. Plans for the future had to be put on hold as sons, brothers , husbands and boyfriends went off to fight.

A Beecroft family’s experiences in World War II 

In 1940 Norman and Edna Goldberg and their two children, John, aged just 9, and Sari, aged 5, moved from Rose Bay to Beecroft. They rented ‘Highwick’ at 4 Copeland Street from long established Beecroft residents, Harold Holcombe and his wife. “Highwick” was the name of their former home in Devonshire, England. The Beecroft house was a substantial brick home with stone foundations, built in 1913. It had the advantage of closeness to Beecroft railway station and village. Beecroft Primary School was opposite. Norman travelled by train to the city where he was a partner in a legal practice.

As the war news became grimmer for Australians, Norman applied to join the Air Force, although at 39 he was too old for aircrew, which he preferred. In 1942 he was accepted for service with no.4 Army Co-operation Squadron and sent to Point Cook in Victoria for officer training. He became adjutant to the Commanding Officer. The squadron was moved to Bundaberg in Queensland after the Australians recaptured Milne Bay from the Japanese and then the squadron was posted to Port Moresby and other airfields in New Guinea for the remainder of the war. They flew Wirraways on reconnaissance duties, spotting Japanese emplacements and radioing information back to base. Flying Officer (equivalent to Lieutenant) Norman Goldberg was involved in cipher and intelligence operations.

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