ONE of Keith Miller’s sons tells of visiting his father in London while Miller snr was writing cricket for the Daily Express in the 1960s and finding that he spent the day not at the cricket ground but at a restaurant, where they had a long lunch, and at one or two pubs. Miller finally went to the ground late in the afternoon, spoke briefly to a fellow journo there, Richie Benaud, about the day’s play and, on the strength of what Benaud told him, dashed off his column for the next day’s paper.
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The son, Bill Miller, tells the story in the second part of the ABC’s two-part Australian Story about Miller, to be screened at 8pm on Monday. The first part last Monday (it’s repeated on ABC1 at 3pm today) drew an average audience of 1,007,000, which was pretty good, especially since the Miller program was up against the debut of Missing Pieces on Channel Nine, a new show the network had been promoting heavily.

All in all, the viewers’ response to the program was stronger than the ABC could have hoped for, given that it was about a cricketer who last picked up a bat in anger 50 years ago. (In an odd sequel to his career, Miller appeared in 1959 as a guest player for Nottinghamshire against Cambridge, a first-class fixture. Although he was almost 40 and had played hardly any cricket since retiring three years earlier, he hit 13 fours and two sixes while scoring 102 not out.)

The second part on Monday will deal mainly with Miller’s life after he gave up playing, which, one suspects, might have lost a lot of its old purpose. In one sense, this part of Miller’s life is the hardest to track. One puzzling question: with so much going for him, why he didn’t make it big as a TV sports broadcaster?

He certainly had all the credentials. Not only was he a former superstar who happened to be outlandishly handsome, but he was articulate, universally respected, big-spirited by nature and popular with the masses, females included. He enjoyed classical music and spoke with a fruity voice, which everyone who knew him tried to imitate.

So equipped, he should have been a hit on TV but wasn’t. During a patchy TV career, Miller never really clicked with viewers. Why? His long-time friend and fellow broadcaster Norman May, who shared with him the nickname "Nugget", has an interesting explanation for this. May told Square Eyes this week that however debonair Miller might have seemed to cricket fans during his playing days, he was rather introverted by nature.

"He was actually a self-conscious sort of fellow," May said. "When the TV cameras were on him he was a bit shy … he wasn’t able to project his personality. You have to be a bit of a ham to succeed on TV, and Keith wasn’t that. He wasn’t a showman."

May knows of another handsome former superstar who didn’t make it big on TV for much the same reason – rugby league’s great ball runner, Reg Gasnier.

"Reg would talk you blind on the subject of rugby league if you were with him in a pub," May said. "On TV he never had much to say. I think he was a bit overawed by the medium."

Miller, a World War II fighter pilot, might seem an ideal focus for today’s Anzac Day remembrances, but he probably would not have welcomed this himself. May said: "I knew him for the best part of 50 years, but I did not ever hear him say a word about the war. Not one word."

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ANZAC DAY. A day we remember those who fell in wartime and honour those who served and survived. Plenty of eligible men didn’t serve, of course, one of whom was Australia’s longest-serving prime minister, Sir Robert Menzies. When, on the eve of World War II he was attacked for that fact – with the leader of the Country Party, Earle Page, saying in Parliament that Menzies was unfit to lead Australia on those grounds – a very dignified Menzies refused to be drawn on why he had not served in WWI, even though fit. He said only, quietly, that the reasons related "to a man’s intimate, personal and family affairs", and for which no answer could "be made on the public platform". And fair enough, too. All of which leads me, oddly enough, to the Roosters. I repeat: while today is a day when we honour those who served, that does not mean those who didn’t serve were dishonourable. But I just don’t get why the Roosters today don the blue jersey worn by their "1945 wartime premiership heroes", as reported by the Tele . Surely, that team was made up predominantly of men who didn’t go to war, for their own reasons, so what is their connection to Anzac Day? (And, yes, I know that some, like Roosters fullback Dick Dunn, who kicked five goals in the grand final, was given two days’ leave from his Army duties to play the game.) I know I am missing something, and expect blistering emails – which I will duly report – but at the moment I dinkum don’t get it. Walker still kickin’
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How old is Andrew Walker? So old, that TFF once played with him. As a matter of fact, funny you mention it, it was 17 years ago today that I played my last game with him – for NSW against someone or other, from memory – for that night he and Scott Gourley signed to go over to rugby league. And yet, Walker is still out there, still going strong. I received a lovely letter this week detailing how, playing for Easts in the Brisbane rugby union comp against GPS last weekend, Walker was given the potential match-winning kick from the sidelines, right in front of the GPS crowd. As Andrew stood over the ball to begin his steps back there was a fairly respectful silence when out came the comment, "Old Man, you’re an old man," from one of the lads, and heard right down the sideline by a fairly sizeable crowd, who all had small laugh. Andrew slowly raised his head and looked towards the marquee from where the comment came. A slow, lazy, teeth-baring grin came across his face. He again addressed the ball, raised his head again then had a good chuckle to everyone’s delight. What happened next? He calmly took the required steps back, ran in and slotted a perfect conversion from the sideline. Running back for the kick-off, he gave a big grin and a wave back to the marquee, and the whole sideline, in appreciation of the moment, clapped him all the way back. A great moment . . . One out of the box

Love this – from David Lord this week: "The first testicular guard was used in cricket in 1874, and the first helmet was used in 1974. It took 100 years for men to realise that the brain is also important c" Small things amuse c

With thanks to New Zealand’s Martin Devlin: "HA HA HA HA-de-HA HA HA HA HA. Wanna hear a really, really good joke? One that’ll have you laughing over and over again, guffawing each and every time it’s ever brought up? OK then, try this: Australia dropped to third in the world one-day rankings, their lowest spot EVER! Now tell me why that’s not on the Comedy Channel every night from now ’til it changes huh?" Stop it, Martin, you’re killing us! This week’s quiz question

What is the one sport where often neither the spectators nor the participants know the score or the leader until the contest ends? (Answer at the end) Most annoying sounds II

And now, back by popular demand, the Most Annoying Sounds in Sport II, as voted in by readers.

– Announcers and commentators referring to the Qantas Wallabies, after they were previously the bloody Vodafone Wallabies . Are they representing Australia, or a corporation? And we all know the New Zealanders would never have the adidas All Blacks , because they are way too proud for that. The question is, why aren’t we?

– The moron who yells "Get in the hole!" every time a stroke is played.

*Answer: Boxing Team of the week

Brett Kirk. The likeable midfielder – a credit to his parents, if one can say that of a 32-year-old – plays his 200th game for the Swans today.

The Brumbies. Scored an inspirational one-point win over the Bulls and have installed themselves as Australia’s best chance to make the Super 14 finals.

Western Force. Had their first win over NSW and completed the Australian grand slam – defeating all three Australian sides.

Mark Webber. That strangely blue moon you saw this week? It was in honour of Webber’s completing the Chinese Grand Prix and finishing second to boot!!

Scott Strange. Journeyman Australian golfer, right, won the China Open last weekend.

The Manly Savers Rugby Club. Celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. The Savers now play in the Meldrum Cup.

Essendon/Collingwood. Play in the traditional Anzac Day blockbuster today. I’ll be doing the Channel Ten broadcast from 12-2pm – don’t miss it!

Alstonville High School water polo team. Its third successive victory last week in the NSW CHS water polo championships – this one was in the open, after previous wins in the under-15 division – is an extraordinary effort for lads from a small country high school.

The Stampeders. A good bunch of Australian blokes, and an even better Canadian woman, make up as good a team as any to sponsor in the coming Oxfam walk. You can back them by going to www.stockland stampede南京夜網 or sponsor any other team on www.oxfam南京夜網.au . What they said

Chanell Seven AFL commentator Dennis Cometti during the Melbourne v Richmond match: "Richo criticising his forwards is like Michael accusing the rest of the Jackson 5 of being erratic."

Cometti, again, as the camera panned onto the embattled Richmond coach in his box, morosely surveying the carnage: "Terry Wallace is looking through the window of a P76 …" Brilliant. (Younger readers, ask your parents for an explanation.)

Stan Dajka on the funeral of his son Jobie: "Yes, I am bitter, my son. My heart will never forgive them for taking your life’s dreams away from you. They tore out your heart, put you in a heap and closed the door. I hope the guilt torments them forever, as it has done to us. You never fulfilled your lifelong dream of going to the Olympics."

Carlton coach Brett Ratten on their inability to win at the SCG since 1993: "The posts looked similar, the grass looked similar and the ball’s pretty similar, and I know the players brought their boots up."

Arthur Beetson not happy with the powers that be: "What they’re doing to our game is a joke. If they think the game’s healthy, they’re deluding themselves." Does anyone know precisely what the great man is so narky about?

Parramatta star Feleti Mateo on the "commitment" of the Eels players: "I know when I look around I see 16 or 17 other players there that are willing to die for the jersey." Geez, you’d hate to know what the scoreline would be if they weren’t ready to die for it.

Adam MacDougall gets the last laugh on Wendell Sailor: "I saw him sitting on the bench, I thought he might have gone to the kiosk to get a pie. His big backside apparently got some cramps. He’s a great footballer but I’m serious, they should change the colour of his jersey, it’s not doing his backside any favours." I mean it, dinkum. Stop the presses. A footballer with a real personality and creative quotes!

Sailor on MacDougall: "I did go looking for him once or twice just to let him know that the fat boy scored."

Just another day in the life of the Fremantle Dockers – development coach Steve Malaxos said some Fremantle players dressed up as Klan members and raided each other’s houses as a "prank": "There’s a reasonable amount of pranks going on all the time. Sometimes they raid each other’s houses in, sort of, Ku Klux Klan outfits. That’s one of the other pranks." Why are so many footballers such embarrassing juveniles? Discuss.

Celtic manager Gordon Strachan responds to a female journalist, who asked why his side had just lost: "Explaining it to you is impossible. It would be like you explaining childbirth to me." Exactly! And why wasn’t that female journo back in the kitchen, anyway?

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In absolute silence, two men stood beside the Wollondilly River. It was barely light. The grazier touched his distinguished guest's shoulder and pointed. “On the surface of the murky water I saw only a narrow, black, moving line,” wrote the Archduke Franz Ferdinand. With the “greatest joy” he then fulfilled his “burning desire” to shoot a platypus.
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West of Moss Vale with killing on his mind was the man whose assassination was to provoke World War I. Since leaving home in a mighty warship to tour the globe in late 1892, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary had shot his way across India, Ceylon and Java before turning the attention of his guns on New South Wales.

In the cavalcade of royal tours in the late 19th century, this one is forgotten: a 10-day visit by the man who had unexpectedly become heir to an empire on the suicide of his cousin at Mayerling. He was a hunter and collector. As he waited for his one big moment in history, he was living by the gun.

“With an utter absence of all ostentatious display,” reported The Daily Telegraph, “and with the unassuming quietness of a simple gentleman, his Imperial and Royal Highness Franz Ferdinand Charles Louis Joseph Marie d'Este, Archduke of Austria” – there followed a string of titles, ranks, regiments – “landed in Sydney yesterday.”

Not quite without display. His ship had come up the harbour with guns blazing in a ceremonial salute. The Lieutenant-Governor and the Lord Mayor had quickly come on board to grovel. But as no one had a clue what the 30-year-old archduke looked like – dead eyes, upturned moustache – he was able to get ashore unrecognised and tootle round the town with friends in a couple of hansom cabs. He spoke no English.

After a visit to the Australian Museum to inspect the marsupials he was about to slaughter, the archduke left by special train for Narromine. The killing began early. “Immediately after breakfast the party set out with 20 horsemen to drive the game,” this newspaper reported. “At the first drive his Imperial Highness succeeded in shooting, with great rapidity, five kangaroos, so that he very soon established himself in the estimation of those present as being a first class marksman.”

The carnage over the next few days in Narromine and Mullengudgery was terrible: more kangaroo, wallaby, duck, pelican, ibis, cranes, eagles, bush turkey – plentiful but shy – emu and several “lovely” parrots. The archduke was “absolutely delighted” to bag a pair of black swans. Travelling with the party was the royal taxidermist and photographer. “Specimen skins of all the animals and birds shot are preserved,” noted this paper, “with a view to their being ultimately stuffed.”

Franz Ferdinand was planning to publish his diary. The Australian chapters of My Journey Round The World record many pleasures and a few disappointments. Not all the horses were up to scratch. The habit of ringbarking trees was producing “desolate vistas”. His host at Narromine, Frank Mack, scared the pelicans. He deplored the hunting time wasted by the British habit of stopping for lunch.

It wasn't as bad as in India. “There was no Champagne or silver cutlery, nor a set table, but only an open fire on a grate and roasted mutton half raw, half burnt to eat. I used the time these culinary preparations required, to shoot some examples of bird species new to me.”

After touching homage from a poorly dressed young Austrian who appeared out of the crowd at Narromine station, the archduke returned to Sydney, endured a 2½ hour mass at St Mary's, inspected a meat works at Auburn – and found the product delicious – then headed to Moss Vale for more sport. Newspapers were complaining. “The archduke is giving Sydney the cold shoulder,” wrote the Illustrated Sydney News. “He seems to prefer the country and the kangaroos to the metropolis and the maids.”

Along the new front, casualties were high: “About 300 head including bears, rock wallabies, kangaroos, hares, duck, pademelons and platypus etc,” this paper's correspondent telegraphed to Sydney. “His Highness is an excellent shot, having with a bullet potted a magpie at about a hundred yards distance whilst standing in his carriage.”

Unreported was the koala shot on the way down to the river on that dawn platypus hunt. Koalas disappointed the archduke. He thought them like sloths: pathetic and lazy. They didn't flee. He shot several. The shooting went on before breakfast and after dinner. Following a “sumptuous” banquet in the bush to celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday, the archduke led a party to hunt possums for three hours by moonlight.

The killing had to end. After inspecting the Art Gallery of NSW, shopping for skins and specimens, watching demonstrations of shearing and boomerang throwing, holding a most successful afternoon dance on his warship and attending Randwick races and Fitzgerald's circus, the royal visitor steamed out of the harbour and the memory of NSW.

Franz Ferdinand had a long wait. Twenty years after his trip around the world, he was still doing the things heirs do when they're waiting for their mother or father or uncle to die. Shooting and touring. That took him on a goodwill visit to the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo on June 28, 1914.

Seven Serbian suicide terrorists were waiting. But only a single bomb was thrown at the archduke's motorcade, injuring one military aide. After an uneasy reception at the town hall, Franz Ferdinand decided to visit the injured man in hospital.

What followed was the most crucial accident in modern European history. No one had briefed the chauffeurs. After taking a wrong turn into the old city, they were ordered to stop. Standing by chance on the narrow footpath beside the open car was one of the terrorists who had lost his nerve earlier that morning. Gavril Princip leant forward and shot the royal couple with a Browning pistol.

A month later the world was at war. On memorials in Narromine and Moss Vale are recorded those districts' contribution to the 15 million slaughtered in the bloodiest and most pointless conflict in history.

With translations by Geesche Jacobsen

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TODAY, like every Anzac Day for the past 15 years, Ken Pedler will be battling to avoid a return to “the kids, the victims and the rapes”. He will be trying not to recall the smells and the bodies – and his helplessness as he stood by and watched the unfolding of the worst of the world's crimes.
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It is a battle in – and with – his own mind. And it is a battle he almost always loses.

Before his deployment to Rwanda, Pedler, then a 21-year-old private, had never seen a corpse (he saw the casket of a dead uncle, but it was closed). By the end of his six-month tour, he had seen headless bodies, been offered children to rape and stepped inside a church so clogged with corpses that he could not reach the pulpit.

All that time – the worst memory of all – there was nothing he could do to intervene.

“I would just stand around and watch things happen,” he says. “We deployed to Rwanda and within a day or two we were coming across decapitations, bodies piled up. It was straight from the word go. It took a while to get into your head what was happening.

“After a while your brain closes into a knot and you just don't care. I just thought everything was a joke. It was surreal … I just got callous and I turned evil. I was not the only one. We got to a point where we stopped caring for life … If you're surrounded by evil, you become evil.”

For many of the 630 Australians who served in Rwanda from August 1994 to August 1995 – part of a United Nations mission to end genocide of an estimated 800,000 people – the service has left unmendable scars.

“It is the kids, the victims and the rapes,” Pedler says. “That is what keeps popping in your head. I have a four-year-old daughter. I think about how I saw kids over there and I did nothing. The soldiers would rape them and offer to me – that's what gets me now … That is one of the things I have to live with … You just stepped over bodies … Everyone who I know suffers from it or was discharged from it.”

More than 220 of the 630 veterans from Rwanda have made successful disability claims, and 889 separate claims have been lodged, figures from the Department of Veterans' Affairs show.

Twenty-six per cent of Rwanda veterans have been assessed with post-traumatic stress disorder so far, compared with 35 per cent of Vietnam War veterans, 10 per cent of East Timor veterans and 4 per cent Gulf War veterans.

Forty-eight veterans have been assessed with alcohol abuse and 39 with depressive disorder. A Defence official involved in assessing the impact told the Herald up to 85 per cent of the Rwanda veterans suffered mental health problems.

Pedler says a counsellor consulted the soldiers in Rwanda but “we all said we're fine and went back to watching TV”. At home he received a psychological screening form – a “pick-and-flick paper” – in the mail. Otherwise “we got nearly no help”.

The Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Alan Griffin, blames the high rates of trauma on the rules of engagement and exposure to atrocities. A series of reviews has been ordered by the Government to assess the psychological screening and treatment of soldiers and veterans.

“You talk to people who were there and they tell you it was hell on earth,” he says. “There is no doubt it had a significant impact on the people who served there … Now we need to make sure the problems are dealt with.”

Pedler served in the first tour to Rwanda. Arguably, the second Australian tour, in early 1995, was worse. In late April 32 Australian soldiers and medical staff watched as 4000 civilians were hacked and shot to death at a refugee camp. Some soldiers were forced to quit – on medical grounds – within weeks of returning to Australia.

“In Rwanda our hands were tied,” Pedler says. “We knew who the militia were in the refugee camps but we were not allowed to touch them. We were not allowed to do anything. Unless they shot at you, we could not return fire. Sometimes we did what we could to get them to that stage.”

Defence says it reviewed the rules of engagement after the Rwanda mission and was “satisfied” – though the rules were heavily criticised in subsequent UN reviews. The mission was only classified as “warlike” – which has implications for entitlements and medals – in 2006, after a review by Defence and the Federal Government.

Six years after his time in Rwanda, Pedler, who lives in south-eastern Queensland with his wife and daughter, served in East Timor, where he hoped to “do some good” and try to recover from his Rwanda experience. He says the rules there were “nothing like Rwanda”; soldiers were allowed to defend themselves and others.

But in 2004, then a corporal, he was discharged from the army with post-traumatic stress disorder. He was 31 and has not worked since.

“I think about it nearly every day. It is just something you carry with you. At night you can't get to sleep. Thoughts hop into your head. Then it gets in your dreams … A lot of anger comes out of you on Anzac Day. You think about it more. I don't really go out. I go to dawn service and that's that.”

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IN A quiet moment before the start of the inquest into her son's death, Maryanne Iredale leaned in towards her husband and patted him on the shoulder.
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“It will be all right,” she whispered. “It will have to be.”

Those words reveal Mrs Iredale's hope that through the inquest, the loss of their 17-year-old son, David, who died after becoming severely dehydrated during a three-day bushwalk in the Blue Mountains in December 2006, would not be in vain.

It could not be. The couple had already endured so much.

The Iredales were at their home in Pymble on December 19 when they learned that the body of the eldest of their three sons had been found off the Mount Solitary track, close to the Kedumba River and the water he so desperately needed. Mrs Iredale spoke to David just hours before he died, when he called home to wish his younger brother a happy birthday. He asked her if she had any mango ice-cream left. Hours later, he made desperate phone calls to triple-0 before dying alone in the bush.

As David's dentist, Dr Iredale had the heartbreaking task of providing his son's dental records for formal identification.

Added to the couple's grief are admissions of serious misconduct by emergency call operators from the Ambulance Service, who responded to David's cries for help with sarcasm and failed to pass on vital information to police which could have saved his life.

There is also uncertainty about whether a teacher at David's school, Sydney Grammar School, could have prevented David and two of his friends from embarking on the walk, which they believed would count towards their Duke of Edinburgh Award qualifications.

Over the past two weeks at the inquest Dr Iredale, 59, who has a dental practice near the family home in Pymble, has kept his emotions in check, madly scribbling notes from the evidence on a pad marked “things to do”.

In contrast, Mrs Iredale, 45, could not hide her feelings. Her tears flowing freely as four members of the ambulance call centre apologised for their performance while taking David's calls.

She also cried as Phillip Chan and Kostas Brooks, David's two walking companions and the last to see him alive, revealed details of her son's final hours. Their presence at the inquest – Mr Chan is studying science and law at university and Mr Brooks is studying to be a doctor – was undoubtedly a painful reminder of the bright future that David so tragically missed out on.

Mrs Iredale could not endure listening to the heartbreaking tapes of David's phone calls to emergency services.

The parents had already heard two of the calls during the search to confirm that the desperate voice on the other end of the line was in fact their son.

On Thursday Mrs Iredale attended the inquest without her husband, who it is believed had work commitments.

She could not face listening to crucial evidence from a survival expert, Dr Paul Luckin, who calculated that David would not have survived more than one hour after his final phone call to triple-0, having lost about 7.5 litres of water during the summer heat.

Nor could she bear to hear Dr Luckin tell the court David had likely been “at the point of no return” when he made the triple-0 calls, or that he would have been dizzy, confused and light-headed before he lost consciousness for the last time.

She was not in court to hear Dr Luckin's assessment that David's death would have been “relatively peaceful”.

But Mrs Iredale later privately met Dr Luckin, who it is understood repeated those consoling words.

While the inquest is due to conclude soon, no findings will be able to bring David Iredale back. But they may provide some comfort to his family that such a tragedy may not happen again.

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