Allan Russell – Celebrating 100 years

  • 10 October 2023
  • Sari England

This Sunday October 15th parishioner Allan Russell will be celebrating his 100th Birthday.

And what an action packed, adventurous, exciting and fulfilling 100 years it has been. Anyone who knows Allan, also knows he is full of amusing and amazing stories that never seek to big note himself.  He always has a keen audience to hear stories of a time most of us have never known, and experiences that simply could not be repeated today …

Allan started his life on a Soldier Settlement block that his father was granted as a World War 1 veteran. The farm was called ‘Narrabundah’ The issue was that it was on land that was designated to become the nation’s capital – so if Narrabundah sounds like a Canberra suburb you are correct.

After the land was reclaimed the family of five then moved to a farm outside of Geraldton in Western Australia. At age 10 he attended formal schooling for the first time, travelling down to Perth. After a family move to Melbourne, and after finishing school there he enlisted immediately to serve in WW2. Eventually he found himself as part of the Z Force – the forerunner of the Commandos, where he fought behind the enemy lines, often on his own. Miraculously he returned to Melbourne, where he met his future wife, Tony Kirkpatrick.

Allan was keen to have a career that would allow him to travel – so he decided to become a geologist – and travel he did. He explored areas where no white man had ever been seen. In fact, they thought he might be a god, as his skin was so white and his hair so red. From the jungles of New Guinea to the icy tundra of Alaska he would disappear for 6 months at a time ‘on survey’. Tony and Allan lived in New Guinea, Canada, New Zealand, Sicily, America and eventually London before returning to Sydney in 1968 so that Tanya and Sari would have a place to call home.

In 1973 Allan started, what was to become a very successful sand and gravel quarry but his appetite for adventure and exploration never waned. Despite Allan’s many achievements there is no doubt that was he has valued most has been his family and his great sadness in the past few years has been the death of his wife of 70 years, Tony. His children – Tanya and Sari, his grandchildren Anthony, Imogen, Anthea and Evan and his great grandchildren Bobby, Frank, Anna, and Gilbert, along with the congregations of SHAP wish Allan a spectacular birthday!!