Allan Roy Legro born 1897 died 1982, My adoptive father.
A lot has been said recently about truth and facts. facts are actual hard copy records. With my father the fact was he was born in 1897 and died in 1982. A fact is he was married on 20 December 1939and that he , along with his wife adopted me on 14 April 1950. A fact that can be verified was that he was a shepherd on the farm where he lived, Tullochgorum, Tasmania. He was born there and apart from two trips to hospital, lived there all his life.
Now the truth about my adopting father as i see it. he was a kind man who worked hard all his life up at dawn and finished usually at dusk and loved his work as a shepherd. What he did not know about Merino sheep was not worth knowing. he was giving lambs mouth to mouth resuscitation long before it was acceptable and approved practise. he would often swim flooded rivers on his horse to save flocks during the flood seasons. in his holidays he would head bush for two weeks and come home with heap of wallaby and possum carcass's which he skinned and sold the pelts to the local pelt trader. This was how he earned the money to put us through high school which was over 60 miles away. he was a good honest hardworking provider who ensured we never went hungry and ensured we had a schooling.
My father never got married until he was 42. Apparently he was engaged a few times but never got to the alter. he told me he left school at 13 which would have been in 1910 and continued to work on the same property until his cataracts were so bad he could not see when he was 80. Apparently he used to get his working dogs to guide so no one knew of his condition. When he retired he continued to live in the house where he and us were raised until his passing. Despite his educational limitations, he was a learned man i that he would read incessantly and was a lover of history, particularly Roman and Greek. he was very much aware of world events and was a lifetime member of the Australian workers union and was also a member of the Liberal Party of Australia (which in Australia is the conservative party). For much of his life i should imagine he considered himself to be a British subject which was how our forebears saw themselves even after federation in 1900. Sad to say he was also a person of his period in that he was a racist who believed in the white Australia policy and really did not look kindly upon our indigenous brothers and sisters. He would after and frequently tell how a small tribe of koori's were ambushed at a place called Pepper Hill and many were killed. but as i said he was a man of that period so it is no surprise that he adopted.
The father i knew was a kindly man, who left the raising of the children to our adopting mother. I remember him gruffly saying " sort those bloody kids out woman". The only time I ever saw him get angry with me was when i was preteen and we were out rabbiting and i showed my younger brother how to do a rabbit killer literally . dropped him like a school bag. Dad grabbed a stick and chased me but could not catch me. mother got e that night when i came home for dinner. He would reign supreme over the dinner table though telling the same old stories and same old jokes, something many think i have got from him. but really there is not much to say on the relationship. I would go rabbiting with him as i loved doing that but much of the time there was no meaningful interaction. And i believe his age (he was 52 going on 53 when they adopted me) was a factor in this.
Do I think my father wanted to adopt. I think he felt he may have had to because our mother wanted children. Do i think he actually look upon me as his son. I am not too sure. I would like to think so. Did he care for us. Yes he did and also provided for us. did he love us. in his own way i think he did but again i am not too sure. Was he proud of me. That is a vexed question. I am sure in my early teens he would have received some flak because of my mischievous nature. my older brother (also adopted) was the quiet dutiful type and i am sure most of the townsfolk thought he was the ideal adoptee whereas i was looked on as Trouble. but i think that changed when i joined the air force. I sent a silver tray from the unit i was doing my basic training at and he used to get it out,so i have been told, and show it to the locals as if to say "see you were wrong". so some pride must have been there for me.
Why my father apparently broke laws ,in relation to the fact he was too old to be legally accepted as an adoptive parent, I don't know but it appears he did. do i condemn him for it. no i don't but it adds to the complexity of the situation. do i condemn him for not telling me i was adopted. Again no i don't but the damage that created has been lifelong for me. it proves that the road to hell can be strewn with good intentions.
In retrospect I consider my adoptive father a good man, but to this day i don't really know whether he looked upon me as a son or someone who needed to be raised. And that uncertainty will stay with me forever.