Born in 1894, Facey lived the rough frontier life of a sheep farmer, survived the gore of Gallipoli, raised a family through the Depression and spent sixty years with his beloved wife, Evelyn. Despite enduring hardships we can barely imagine today, Facey always saw his life as a 'fortunate' one
it appeared that Facey had just the opposite to a fortunate life. He was abandoned by his mother at the age of two after his father had died in the Goldfields of Western Australia. He was raised by his grandmother, and eventually they moved from Victoria to Western Australia to be with his mother. She had remarried and disowned her younger children.
Facey was not educated because of lack of money, and went to work at the age of ten. In a dramatic twist, the people he was sent to work for were cattle rustlers! He escaped from them and returned to his grandmother on foot. This was where we first see Facey's determination to go on no matter what.
One of the most chilling parts of the book is his descriptions of the landings at Gallipoli on 25th April, 1915. What gives it even greater impact, at least for me, is his earlier description of the night in Lemnos Harbour, while they were awaiting their orders. The juxtaposition of the beauty of that night followed by the destruction and terror of the next was powerful.
Facey lived through the war, got married, and then lived through the depression. Somehow he always survived. He knew when to walk away, I think. A skill not many people have.
Facey knew how to tell a tale, and the story of his life - that of a common man - is compelling. It still amazes me that he didn't learn how to read and write until he came back from World War 1. Stories of ordinary life have their place and by the end of the book, I think you'll agree with Facey that he did, indeed, have a fortunate life.
Bert Facey sees himself as an ordinary man, but his remarkable story reveals a winner against impossible odds. At eight, his 'childhood' ended and he...