Life After War
Bull on construction site, photographer unknown, Ballarat, circa 1945-49, Allen Family Private Collection.Contributors
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Bull survived the war, though not unscathed. He was medically discharged in 1944 for “constitutional temperamental instability and emotional retardation with anxiety symptoms.” He had already experienced a bout in hospital for anxiety neurosis in Palestine in 1941, and after the action on Mount Tambu Bull started displaying volatile and erratic behaviour. He suffered psychologically from the effects of war. ‘War anxiety’ or ‘anxiety neurosis’, which was known as ‘shell shock’ in World War One, is known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, today.
By the time Bull returned home in 1944, according to Allen family legend, he was a changed man. He could not speak at all and it took him six months of recuperation to recover the power of speech.
Bull recovered to work and marry and raise a family. There were happy times. But life with, and for, Bull was often difficult.
This photograph features Bull working as a construction labourer (construction work was one of his post-war jobs) on a rooftop in Ballarat, possibly at a Ballarat Base Hospital construction site. It was taken around the time of Bull’s marriage in the late 1940s.