Friday, 6 April 2012


06/07/1946 - 06/04/2012
Ernst Robert Dammasch

Born and brought up in post war Germany, my Dad came to Australia permanently as a young man. By the time he left Germany, he had completed an apprenticeship as fitter and turner. Here in Australia he met and married my Mum. That was a little over 36 years ago.

I only turned up on the scene much later. By the time I was born, they had celebrated their eleventh wedding anniversary. And I was the fourth, in a family of five. By the time I was ten, Dad was working very long hours as a truck driver, trying to make ends meet, and support his family. But there are definitely a few happy memories with my dad from those days...

At the time, dad used to ride a motorbike to work and back, and usually only came home on weekends (He often worked 60+ hours a week, and we lived a long way out in the country). Every Friday afternoon, we (My younger brother Henry and I), used to run outside at the sound of his bike coming up our street, racing each other to make it to the gate first. It was hardly a fair race, because I was 6 years older than Henry, and at least 12 inches taller, but it was unusual for Dad to get to the gate before we did. Why that was so special, I don't even know, but it is.

Dad drove a truck almost identical to this one for ten years...
Then occasionally I would get to go for a ride with him in the truck. Sometimes he would even drive up our street. Somehow it made me proud to see the big semi trailer parked there. Maybe it was just because I was a little kid, and big trucks were impressive, but in any case, I was proud of that truck. I even remember the number plate of the truck! (He usually drove the same prime mover, and they just hooked different trailers on it depending on what he was delivering)... Usually he delivered for Woolworths. Sometimes I went with him for long rides. On Sundays he would often go from Brisbane to Kingaroy, several hours drive, and I'd love going with him. He'd tell me about his work, about the problems of driving a truck, of some of the impossibly difficult places he'd had to reverse a truck into, etc. I was with him when his front passenger side tire got a puncture. To this day I can remember the sound. A brief rattle as whatever did the damage got flung out of the tire again, and then the sound of a tire going quickly flat. We sat on the side of the road for an hour waiting for a repair truck. One day we arrived at the destination to find a badly stacked pallet had collapsed. Whoever had done it, had stacked heavy things on top of tissue paper rolls and delicate things, and it just collapsed.

One weekend, Dad and I went camping together. Just the two of us. We went to Gympie, saw the big pineapple, and camped next a lake there. I remember riding up there with him on his bike (A big touring bike). We put our drinks in the lake to chill them, and warmed up our food over a campfire.

When I was in my late teens, Dad had to stop trucking for a living for health reasons. He had done over ten years of full time truck driving for Linfox. Ten years of work in which he occasionally would have worked less than 50 hours a week. A year or two later he worked on the farm with me for a few months.

Anyway, if I was going to keep reciting, I could keep going forever. There were unhappy times too, but why bother with those? I'll always remember the good times. Happy times.

There are regrets too. But they are pointless now. Sometimes I wish I had gotten to spend more time with him. Then I wish I had called him more often in the last year or so while I have been away from home. I guess you don't really miss someone till they are really gone.

So this is goodbye to my Dad. I hope to see him soon.


  1. Beautiful, yes - my dear. Think about the excellent times. Thinking about you. Xx

  2. Oh, I am so very sorry to hear of your loss.
    Our family joins in prayer with you and with yours. Oh what a grievous loss. I'm so very sorry. Praying for you and for yours.
    Your post is definitely a loving tribute to your dad. I pray the Lord Jesus blesses and comforts you and your lovely wife, and all of your family.
    in Him,

  3. This was both an interesting story of your father and a beautiful tribute. Almost made me feel like crying.
    Thanks for sharing your heart in this post.