The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918
When F.R. was 13 years old, his father took him to Normanton to see the annual races. It was then that he felt the spur of wanderlust, and one evening he was missing: he had stowed away on a steamer which had left Normanton earlier in the day. A week later, when the vessel was nearing Thursday Island pier, believing that his father would have telegraphed the police to search the boat, young Reid dived overboard at dusk and swam ashore. Next morning he was one of the crew of a pearling lugger.
During the next two years Reid followed many occupations, such as pearling, trepang fishing, and beachcombing on the islands in Torres Straits. Then he returned to his father's roof. He was promptly sent to a school in Brisbane, where he won first prize two years in succession in a class of 660 pupils. In spare time he also won several swimming races in the Booroodabin Baths. Then the coral strands and palm-fringed beaches lured him again, and he signed up on a South Sea trader as cook's assistant. Deserting the trader at the Friendly Islands, he worked amongst copra for a time.
Later on Reid returned to Brisbane, where he worked up his first ms.—several paragraphs—and mailed it to "The Bulletin". The editor put the pars in the waste-paper basket and told Reid to try hard work. So he crossed over to New Guinea, and got a job Cutting pine for building purposes, at Port Moresby. But malaria gripped him and he
nearly took the count. Six months later, broken in health, he was once more in Brisbane, where he tackled presswork. His earlier wanderings provided him with much original copy. In Sydney, he chummed up with Jack London, and decided to try short story work in U.S.A. Soon afterwards the war began, and Reid joined the infantry. He has taken an active part in most of the fighting on Gallipoli, in the Libyan Desert, Sinai and Palestine. Last year he contracted malaria at Gaza, and spent several weeks in hospital. When discharged as "B Class" he was sent to Moascar, and while there he got in touch with W.O. David Barker, of "Anzac Book" fame, who had just returned from Mesopotamia. As the result of several conversations, it was decided to approach A. I. F. Headquarters and suggest the starting of an official magazine. "The Kia Ora Coo-ee" is the result.
Reid's stories and articles have appeared in many Australian publications, notably "The Bulletin". At present he his making a book out of his own war experiences. He has also been a contributor to the "Egyptian Mail" in the past three years. Like most other journalists, Frank Reid has a nom-de-plume, and some of his best work has appeared over the signature, "Bill Bowyang". He is now Field Editor of the "K.O.C" and recently went to Palestine, where he will visit each unit of the A.I.F. and N.Z.E.F. in quest of "copy".