Henk shares his story

Henk Boer with a manuscript of his new autobiography. Picture: JED LANYON

Yarra Junction resident Henk Boer is publishing an autobiography that will be launched at Milwarra Primary School hall on Saturday 22 June at 2pm.

Mr Boer’s family arrived in Australia from Netherlands 69 years ago from May seeking a new life away from post-WWII Europe.

Mr Boer’s book details his life story, which includes growing up in the 1930s and 1940s in Sappemeer, a small town 30 kilometres away from Nazi Germany’s border.

“I started by looking at the history of the town where I lived called Sappemeer, which translates to swamp lake,” he said.

“My very early personal recollections are from the world wide depression and the second world war, which made a very big impact on me … I had very little schooling as a result.”

Mr Boer said that his family witnessed the realities and horrors of the bloodiest war in the history of mankind.

His school sat alongside a railway line that was used to transport thousands of Jews to concentration camps.

Despite Netherlands being liberated in 1945, the country faced difficulties rebuilding, while the potential threat of a Soviet invasion was enough for the Boer family to travel by boat to Australia.

Mr Boer landed in Fremantle five weeks later, where he found work in a bakery just one day after landing in the new country.

His family eventually settled in Wandin where he met his wife Gwen and went on to own Warburton’s first takeaway food store, a fish and chip shop called Boer Bros Food Wholesalers.

Mr Boer welcomes those interested to come along to his book launch in Millgrove, which he said will feature many elements of Dutch culture.

He hopes that readers can walk away with a strong sense of family values.

Yarra Ranges Councillor Jim Child will be in attendance to launch the book and Andy Bennett will be the MC for the day.

His autobiography features over 600 historical photographs which will be available on a DVD included with each purchase of the book.

For more information on how to purchase a copy of ‘The Autobiography of Hendrik Boer: A Lifetime of Experiences and Memories’, contact henkboer54@gmail.com