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05 May 2008

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I knew John Biltris as a kid in school - as teenagers we had a close friendship and knocked around together from during secondary school at Preston Tech.

We wagged it often and had many adventures - I always remember the first foreign language to which John and his brother introduced me - every word began with youraga or ended in urriga - we could converse in this quite well and to the confusion of listeners.

Our best business venture was finding and selling golf balls from the Yarra Bend golf course - in those days a good second golf ball was worth about ten shillings and a man's wage was only about 6 pounds.

We also had a smelting works making copies of First World War soldiers (standing about 2 inches high). We would steal the lead from the local scrapyard and melt to pour into aluminium molds then hawk them from door to door and make a few sales.

He was a great mate in those years and when my bike broke down he would dink me daily to school about 6 miles away.

On one occasion we stripped a neighbours fruit tree and ate almost every apricot from it and were thoughtful enough to leave a thankyou note afterwards.

Life was great fun in those days and we broke a few rules of that time which would seem harmless enough today.

By the age of about 16 we lost track of each other as we began to get into the work world - I bumped into John in my early twenties where we spent a bit of time catching up and he told me of his work in New Guinea and that was the last I ever saw of him but often thought of him down the years.

Thanks John for being a good mate in those fun teen years.

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