In late 1971 Bob received a medical notice and was prosecuted for not attending a medical. He was sentenced to 7 days in Pentridge. His birthdate had been pulled from the barrel in 1967 but had been deferred whilst he completed his University degree. Then in March 1972 after receiving a call at work about a Commonwealth Police arrest of an acquaintance Bob went on the ‘run’ staying at many houses, sleeping by day, walking at night and in between attending meetings to spread the word.
I spent most of 1972 underground, right up until the date of the Federal Election moving from place to place and across states.
I was looking for places to stay and wanted to move every two weeks because if I stayed too long there was a danger the cops would pick me up. It was all word of mouth, someone would take me to the safe houses, and I would stay then move to the next.
Jean McLean offered me her house at Dromana but I didn’t go because I wanted to stay with the girl I was living with in Prahran. Dave Ruebins and his new partner, who was a friend of mine, said I could stay at their house in Ivanhoe. From March to December 1972 I never went outside during daylight hours.
It was all word of mouth; I stayed with young couple in small flat in Hampton and they owned land in the Castlemaine area where I stayed for a while.
Then it was with an English couple in Albert Park who were pacifists and had been in UK during World War Two, I remember that Ray was first name. The Albert Park stay was cut short because I had bought a car but had not transferred the registration. I would travel around at night and park all day it the street. Eventually the car was noticed and the neighbours contacted the Police who then contacted the name on the registration, the previous owner who gave my name. The previous owner then got word to friend who contacted me.
Another place I stayed was with Peter Nicholson in North Melbourne for just two weeks, I had met him in some artists group and he said if you ever need a place to stay contact me.
I stayed with Bill Ipsen and wife, he was a proud of the Communist Party member and had a copy of Power without Glory signed by Frank Hardy. During my stay there Mrs Ipsen said “I have washed your clothes and hung them in the middle so neighbours won’t see strange clothing”.
By that time I was sleeping during the day and going for a walk at night but I would make sure I was up when they came home from work. I stayed at four or five places in Williamstown and Newport. One was with Don and Patti Gunn who had a flat in Williamstown, Don took me to the football at Western Oval. I also stayed with Alan Ritter, he was from the Metals union, and his wife and another time with a couple in Nth Fitzroy they were in their twenties, recently married and happy to help out.
Over several months I stayed in ten to twelve places and like the others I was careful not to go outside during daylight hours. Then in August 1972 I decided to go to Adelaide for a bit of variety and friend came with me. Another Draft Resister had arranged for me to stay in Adelaide with a member of the Wobblies from WW1 who were anti-conscription then. I could move more freely in Adelaide and was there for about a month.
Another couple that I stayed with was Tip Mc Donald and husband Hec who had a big house in a leafy suburb and small cottage on the property so I could come and go as I wanted. I joined them for dinner each night and would stay and watch TV. Tip took me to meet friends and to meetings.
As the December election loomed I was a bit more careful and stayed with Michael and Fran in a house rented by friends of them. Then to a beach house in Rye and by that time we were hanging out waiting for the election. By November 1972 I was back in Williamstown in a house but the neighbours twigged who I was. Back to staying in houses by weeks, sometimes with other Draft Resisters in big houses. Some of us stayed at a holiday house in Rosebud belonging to a Draft Resisters parents. I don’t think that the cops were trying very hard to catch us.
I had some money in the bank but didn’t use much of it because people provided meals, for them it was a privilege to do it. I still had money by the end but had lost a years salary.