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Noel Tunny

Noel Tunny, a retired consulting engineer, was born in Mareeba in 1930 and educated at Mount Carmel College, Charters Towers, and the University of Queensland (B.E. Civil).

His father, William Henry “Harry” Tunny, a railway station master, died in 1936. Harry’s father was Patrick “Paddy” Tunny from Roscommon, Ireland, who started work in Australia as a labourer on the railway line west of Charters Towers and retired as a publican with the Mansfield hotel in Townsville.

Noel’s mother was Gladys Mather, the granddaughter of Thomas Close, the son of a soldier from Wisconsin, USA. Tom Close came to Australia as a gymnast in an equestrian circus. He worked as a miner at Eureka and drove Cobb and Co coaches before settling in Mitchell as a publican. He retired after operating a mine and crushing plant at Woolgar, 80 miles north of Richmond.

Gladys’ father was Thomas Mather, in 1891 a shearer and later a dam sinker, fencer and wool carrying contractor with two German wagons. His grandfather, also Thomas Mather, was a cotton spinner from Manchester who came with his family under contract to David McConnell on Cressbrook, Esk, where he learnt to shear sheep. At the end of his contract in 1845, he bought land in Grey Street, Brisbane where his wife and sons ran a hostel. Thomas worked in the country as a shearer until he was speared and mutilated near Woodenbong when walking to a shearing job on the Richmond River.

From 1942, Noel served as a cadet, as a corporal and as a cadet lieutenant with training at Sellheim and Enoggera Army camps. With the University Squadron in the RAAF General Duties flight he trained as a pilot at Archerfield and trained at Amberley before two years with the RAAF Reserve.

Author's Books
An Essential Ally

Why was the ABDA Command created to defend Java? Were the losses of people and planes justified?Why were the United States’ largesse, leadership and luck alone not enough to win the war against Japan?Where and when was this war won and how did luck make this possible?What was it like living in Aus...

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