I’ve been writing a lot in this space about Alf Conlon’s seminal contribution to the establishment of ASOPA and whingeing about my inability to find an image of him, any image. I would usually expect to be able to locate a pic of some kind somewhere on the internet. Well I didn’t.
So (on the web) I searched the second hand book stores and eventually found what I was looking for. A short (68 page) work entitled ‘Alfred Conlon: 1908 – 1961’ produced in 1963 for his colleagues to memorialise him (a tradition which seems to have faded over the years), and which contains just two photographs.
So here is Alf Conlon’s portrait. I am proud to put the first picture of ASOPA’s founder on the web. Here it will remain.
The memorial is an unusual book and already I love it. In its 68 pages are short, anecdotal tributes from nearly 40 authors. People with names you will recognise. John Kerr, Charles Rowley, Vic Parkinson, James McAuley, JK Murray, James Plimsoll, HC Coombs, Sir Marcus Oliphant, Sid Deamer, Angus Maude. There are many others. All eminent people of the era.
From time to time, therefore, I will dig into this remarkable little book and offer some nuggets from Coombs and the odd gleamer from Deamer. For starters, here’s an extract from Charles Rowley’s contribution.
“Alf was a born manipulator, but the thing I don’t remember is Alf Conlon manipulating something in order to bring him personally a distinct material advantage… Among officers, none of whom knew him, Alf was probably the most unpopular man in the army. Many people, for instance who’d been in the Middle east, felt that Alf’s method of getting privates with special qualifications and making them majors or colonels in a day wasn’t the right thing to do at all. There was a feeling that here was fellow who was manipulating the sacred edifice of the army for his own purposes.”
More from this goldmine of reminiscence as the mood strikes me in the future. Meanwhile tomorrow I’m often to Brisbane briefly and Noosa at greater length. Contributions to ASOPA PEOPLE therefore may not be as frequent, but I’ll do my best. Anyway, who cares, we’ve got our Conlon pic.