12 June 2018


By John Ollis


I was born on 8th September 1941 in Melbourne Australia. Both my parents had migrated from England, My father with his parents, my mother with her grandmother and other members of the family. They both came from the same town in Birmingham England, they actually attended the same school and church, but as my father was almost 14 years older than my mother they had never met. Each year my parents celebrated their wedding anniversary but it was only when Margaret and I applied for British passports did I find out my parents had never married, and that the “British government does not give passports to illegitimate children of British citizens” They lived in a de-facto relationship all their married lives.
My father had decided to move to New Zealand, he met a N.Z. lady and married her, soon after their first child was born, he walked away and returned to Australia. As I wrote in a recent blog, that child my half sister who is 85 years old will be visiting Australia very soon with her daughter and we will meet for the first time. My father then met my mother and simply moved in with her.
As my father was well into his forties when I was born, and then was on military service in Darwin until the end of the war and the fact that both my parents became alcoholics plus my great grandmother lived with us well until my teens, I had a very unhappy childhood and did not (could not) get close to my parents.
Until I was around 11years old we lived in a house that was not much more than a shack, this was a constant embarrassment to me, as my great grandmother was in extremely poor health we were eventually offered a lovely new Housing Commission home in another suburb.
Prior to my tenth birthday, callers came to the door one day, and invited me to attend Sunday School which I began to attend, for some reason I cannot remember I soon became very uncomfortable attending that church (whatever it was) so stopped attending. I then found out about The Salvation Army which met in the next suburb. Without invitation (from memory) I started walking the couple of miles each Sunday to attend their Sunday School.
It has been said that¬†“Hindsight is 20/20 vision”¬†I look back now and can see the hand of God on my life it may have been there earlier but nothing stands out in my mind. The decision to begin walking each Sunday to the Salvation Army Sunday School, was the start of a spiritual journey that continues to this day, nearly 67 years later.
In the next blog I will share about what caused the spiritual journey to begin, and the life changing effects it had on my life.