News & Events

Chasing stories

February 19, 2017

Vale Kenelm Creighton
Kenelm, a much loved and respected member of the Rushall Park community, died on May 26 2017.

Kenelm and Janet Creighton have zig-zagged the world in pursuit of stories and adventures. And along the way they have made their own life story and at times it’s been a wild ride. Kenelm can regale you with tales of war, dodging bullets, hair raising helicopter rides during the Vietnam War and witnessing peace agreements, as he followed his career as a foreign correspondent for various international publications.  It was a long and fascinating career that spanned decades, at least two wars and took him to hot spots most of us would run from. It also put him in the path of a gregarious schoolteacher from Australia who was teaching in Hong Kong in1968, where he was a correspondent for the London Daily Mail.

 

“It was love at first sight,” Janet said. She recognised in Kenelm a kindred spirit who wanted to travel, experience the world and all it had to offer. They married and had a daughter Venetia, who now has two children of her own, Celeste and Max.

 

These days the Creightons stay closer to home – their unit at OCAV’s Rushall Park where they have lived for more than two years. Settling in Victoria after years overseas and then in NSW and Queensland brought Janet, who was born and raised in Victoria, full circle. For Kenelm, the English-born son of a decorated British Naval Officer, who had been around the world by the time he was 19 years old, home is where he is today. His health makes travelling difficult these days, but the pair still talks about the places they would love to go and speak fondly of the countries they visited.

 

Before becoming a correspondent Kenelm, like his father, served in the British Navy and on vessels that travelled the globe. Along the way he became fluent in French, German and Italian, making him the perfect correspondent and travelling companion for Janet in later years! He left the Navy in 1951 and pursued his yearning to be a journalist, serving as a cadet on the Evening Chronicle in Manchester.

 

His father, Kenelm Snr rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the Navy before retiring and Kenelm also carved himself an impressive career in a short time. One of his clearest memories was in Tokyo Bay in September 1945, witnessing the Japanese signing of the Instrument of Surrender, which brought an end to World War II.

 

“The American battleship Missouri was to starboard. A small green gunboat crept through the morning mist and made for the Missouri. I was on the air defence position eyes in the sponge rubber eye pieces of our biggest binoculars. Waiting on the quarterdeck was General MacArthur and a group of officers. A table was set out and the signing took place,” Kenelm wrote in a magazine article in 1977.

 

Much of their travelling days were spent around Asia where Kenelm worked for a variety of news outlets including the London Daily Mail and the Hong Kong Standard.  The couple also came back to Australia for stints where Kenelm worked as an editor on various magazines. Janet also moved away from teaching and became involved in the advertising industry for a few years.

 

“We really have been so lucky,” Kenelm said. “We have seen some amazing places during some extraordinary times in history. We were heading home to

Australia and were in Vietnam and then in Cambodia, just before Cambodia became involved in the war. We saw the beauty of the country before the years of Pol Pot.”

 

It was while working in South Vietnam during the war, embedded with US troops that Kenelm didn’t manage to dodge a bullet and ended up with shrapnel in his ankle, where it has remained. Working as a correspondent in Vietnam was challenging, witnessing the tragedy of war unfold and the price paid by all those involved. Telling the story of death and destruction of human lives is never easy.

 

Kenelm is still writing and hopes to complete his memoir this year. Rushall Park is the perfect setting with its beauty and peaceful environment. The couple enjoys their life and closeness to the city where they can easily access the galleries, concerts and cinemas.

 

 

I love the ‘magimix’ of people who make up the community and that it is a safe and happy place to live. - Jo Portlock

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