Spotlight On:
Arthur Donald FREE


What is a Spotlight On: “With this page I hope to be able to encourage family members and friends to submit comments, stories and pictures to help shape an outline of a person’s life. If you would like to contribute to the information after reading over the brief below, please email, post comments or submit a worksheet or photo for inclusion. All information no matter how small will help build a personal biography that will be included in the family tree to give more history of this person.”


Arthur Donald FREE
28 September 1923 – 27 December 2003

Pop FREE to me and many other… Arthur Donald “Mick” Free was born on 28 September 1923 in Byford, Western Australia, Australia (Peel Estate as the second child of Alfred Free and Eunice Schmitt). He had two siblings, namely: Elsie Eunice, and Violet Gertrude and four half siblings from his father’s first marriage. Emma Louisa, Alice Elisa, May Victoria and Charles William Alfred Free.  When he was 26, he married Elizabeth Jane “Betty” Shackleton on 29 December 1949 in Mundijong, Western Australia, Australia. He died on 27 December 2003 in Nedlands, Western Australia, Australia.

Educated at Boomerang (Group 39), Hopeland, Mundijong, Wellard (Richardson’s Swamp) between 1931–1935.
I am wanting info on his childhood, other school life, early working life.

He was employed as a Cardup Brick Works in 1939.


Served in the military between 14 September 1942–17 June 1946 (World War 2 – #WX32731 – POE-Northam – Private – 2/48 Australian Infantry Battalion) and between 4 April 1947–20 September 1948 (World War 2 – #WX501143 – POE – Karrakatta WA). Then between 21 September 1948–21 September 1951 (World War 2 – #? – , POE – Hiro, Japan – Occupation: Trucker).

See his page on the tree for more pictures

Wanting any info related to his military service.

He was also employed at the Western Australian Rail Co. between 1951–1988.

Wanting any info on where he lived and rail lines he was involved in.


The Cheese Tale

I remember a story of Pop and I getting in lots of trouble when he looked after us kids at home in Alexander Heights, when I was about nine. Not sure who was home at the time, but I know my step-father wasn’t because Pop was rummaging through the fridge looking for something to eat, when he stumbled on Dad’s block of cheese.

Now this was no ordinary block of cheese. Based on what I was told as a child, the shops only ever aged the cheese to half way… this left lots of aging to be done before it was ready to eat…. And then you would cut off the outer layer and presto, better cheese underneath.


Well, Pop took one look at the cheese and, knowing that that much mould was wrong, he ditched the whole block in the bin. He then looked at me and said “You can’t eat that!”

I then told Pop all about the life of cheese and that Dad would not be throwing that away.
“Maybe we should rescue it and put it back!” I said.

“No. No. No, don’t you worry about it. I know what’s good and what’s not” said Pop

A few hours later Mum and Dad came home and it wasn’t long before the missing cheese was being talked about again. “Where’s my bloody cheese? Darryl have you seen my cheese… DARRYL!”

I knew what was going to happen if I showed myself so I stayed put in my room. From the distance I could hear Pop giving Dad his version on what happened to the cheese…  “Rod, I have to tell you that Darryl came and asked me if the cheese was good and I told him that it seemed a little out of date and maybe he should throw it away… Now you can’t be telling him off . I told him to”

So now Dad was really looking for me, as far as he knew, I had tossed his best cheese and this was not going to end well. Finding me in my room he summoned me to the kitchen and asked me to retrieve the block of cheese from the bin. Then he asked me to cut off the outer layer.

“Now is that, or is that not good cheese?” He asked. “In your room, I will deal with you later”

At this point Pop knew I was in trouble and he caved in… “Rod! Don’t send the boy to his room. It was me that binned your cheese. It’s off and all mouldy”

Dad held up the trimmed off mould, now fresh block of cheese. “Mick there is nothing wrong with this cheese. Do you want some?”

I was allowed to live another day, Dad had his fine cheese and Pop vowed to never eat cheese at our place ever again…

Do you have a story about Mick?


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6 thoughts on “Spotlight On:
Arthur Donald FREE”

  1. Arthur Donald “Mick” FREE

    Bet. 28 March–7 April 1945
    Embarked Cairns, Queensland per “MV Van Heutz” to Morotai Island, Indonesia

    23 April 1945
    Embarked Morotai Island per “HMAS Manoora” to Tarakan Island, Borneo

    Bet. 10–13 December 1945
    Embarked Tarakan Island per “HMAS Kanimbla” to Morotai Island, Indonesia

    Added ship pictures to

  2. Hi Darryl , I was talking to my brother Norm and he told me that uncle Mick worked on the Nullarbor Rail. He was also living in Koorda at one time. They also lived in Wungong.

  3. Hello Darryl,
    I remember Mick, Betty and children in Koorda, back in the middle to late 60’s. Cannot add any information about them. I did think Mick was on the railways. I still live in Koorda I have been there since 1962.

    Regards Marlene Gray

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