In the lead up to celebration of Willie Kee's 80th birthday, we will share a series of "This is your life" stories, written by us for him and maybe even some written by him.
It was Christmas Eve.
Darwin, Northern Territory, Australia.
The week before everyone had been on watch and alert.
But just like the boy who cries wolf, the moment of concern had passed.
People were jovial, celebrating Christmas Eve and their safety.
"I woke up to the sky, pinching myself to know if I was awake or if it was a dream,"
"The ceiling had completely disappeared, there was glass everywhere,"
"I shared a house with others who slowly but surely woke to the same picture as me,"
"I couldnt find my shoes, so my friend piggybacked me until we were able to find safe ground,"
"It was surreal, it was like waking up to a nightmare,"
"We just hadnt seen anything like it and to cope, of course all we could do is joke with one another,"
"But what I will remember and never forget, is how we all rallied together somehow,"
"I witnessed people, with their families, some who had lost someone,"
"So much helplessness and not knowing where to start,"
"I travelled by car down to see my family in Sydney, all along the way help was forthcoming,"
"That was my personal experience of the Aussie spirit, everyone wanted to give and to help in their own way and its what sustained me,"
"It was unexpected, I was amazed at people's kindness and generosity,"
"Being with family helped me imnensely, soon after I returned to Darwin, vowing to help with the reconstruction,"
"I was an electrician,"
Did you know 60 percent of the original population never returned?
"Im glad I went back, it ws good to be part of rebuilding the entire city,"
And in the following years, Willie went on to meet Mie mie, get married, have and raise three children in Darwin.
In 2003 they packed up, sold their house and began an adventure in Brisbane.
"This was definitely one of the moments in my life where I began to realise my mortality,"
"I vowed to make the most of every single moment of my life, to experience all life has to offer, to have fun, to spend my time doing the things I love and being with the people I love,"
"To this day, I dont take things too seriously, I think laughter lightens the load,"
Willie Kee turns 80, Sunday, 7th February 2021.
We are a family of shopkeepers. We share our journey with the world, right from where we are. If we were to plot on a map where our family hails from, of course, the majority are from China and Indonesia, and now Australia, however we are still discovering the facts of our heritage so much is still unknown. We were raised in Darwin, Northern Territory, and when our ancestors arrived to Darwin, unfortunately, after the tropical cyclones Darwin is renowned for, a lot of our records disappeared. This journey we share is about documenting our lives now, for our next generations and also for providing the difference we want to make right now.