Happy to share his creativity
“HAPPY Jack” Bingham has found a place in the prestigious John Oxley Library in Brisbane.
The 95-year-old Burma Railway survivor, who has lived in Hervey Bay for 36 years, has been asked to donate a copy of his memoir My Life, published last year, an earlier book, My Life and Thoughts to Share with my Friends, and two of his oil landscapes.
“I feel so honoured by this,” Mr Bingham said yesterday.
“It’s something very special in my life.
“I have loved writing my books and get a real thrill out of painting. I do some of each every day.”
John Oxley library staff member Dianne Byrne came to the Fraser Coast three weeks ago to meet Mr Bingham and discuss his donating the book and paintings.
“He is a wonderful man and we are delighted to be able to put his works into our collection,” Ms Byrne said yesterday.
“Jack Bingham is very deserving of some sort of official recognition; a medal would be wonderful for him.”
Mr Bingham has been painting for 30 years, turning out hundreds of landscapes in his back yard garage.
“Most of them I give away. It gives me terrific pleasure to see people take them home and hang them up.”
John Bingham served with the RAAF during World War II and was captured by the Japanese in Batavia in the Dutch East Indies.
He was imprisoned in Changi and sent to work on the Burma Railway. The story of his time as a POW and his courageous escape is recounted in My Life.
“John’s paintings are full of the great charm, good spirits and love of life of the extraordinary man who made them,” Ms Byrne said.
Yesterday Mr Bingham, who friends call Happy Jack because of his infectious sense of humour and positive outlook, was back to work painting in his garage – in between preparing to make his next batch of eminently drinkable home brew.