Like most who become fascinated with genealogy I wish I'd asked more questions. Too late now but the following is as best as I have from memory and conversations with my father. The search goes on to expand but also to determine how much of what I've remembered is right. So far all I remember my father telling me has turned out to be right but stories grow with each generation. A cabin boy on a ferry can become the captain of a Sailing Clipper as the story gets passed on to next generations.  

None of Granpa's "desertion" and subsequent adventure has been verified but the dates fit and his army papers do show he was in the 3rd and  "also" in the 6th Dragoons which fits with the amnesty bit. 

John Harry HASTINGS  
Eldest of four children of the second of three marriages (Smith, Hastings & Boston with nine children in all) Granpa apparently came from very poor beginnings and was originally apprenticed to a bootmaker. How it came about I do not know (it may well have had something to do with  the story my father told of Granpa blowing up the family stove while drying out some dynamite he and his mates had found) but he ended up at around age 14 as a boy soldier in a Garrison Artillery Unit. He must of been a skinny kid because apparently he was one of a group that were issued extra rations of a bun and a glass of milk a day. His unit was sent to South Africa and he deserted in Simonstown ( Simon’s Town ? ). He stowed away on a ship with the help of the Captain and worked as a steward as far as Sydney where he had several jobs including pantry hand at Hawkesbury Agricultural College.  

He applied  to join the Queensland. mounted police but was told they only took those with cavalry experience so he made his way back to England and enlisted in the Dragoon Guards possibly under an alias. His date of "attestation" on his Army records is 12th May 1914 and England declared war on Germany on the 4th August. Early on in World War 1 some type of general amnesty was declared and he admitted to his real name. He was transferred to another unit  His Army papers that I have copies of show that he was in the 3rd Dragoon Guards and "also 6th".  
According to Dad he was in France for the first British action of the war. I remember being told of a Cavalry charge against a machine gun post in which he was one of the survivors (The numbers I recall were that out of 22 men and horses it was either 8 men and 14 horses or 8 horses and 14 men that made it through).  

After the war Granpa stayed in the army - was in Dunbar in Scotland, Edinburgh and India (British West India approx 1919). His discharge papers show he was transferred to the Reserve 10th June 1921. He had varying success with employment his last being selling door to door the clothing made by his wife. The business was slowly expanding when his wife talked him into applying for the Group Settlement Scheme.  

The family together with Mum’s cousin, Donald Tearle,arrived in Australia at Albany Western Australia in March 1925 aboard the Aberdeen Line S.S. Demosthenes and went to Denmark where he took up land on a Group Settlement scheme. Supporting documentation to "Application for admission of Relatives or friends to Australia. Gertrude Tearle" states an acreage of 187 acres and a letter of 28th July 1927 says  

 "The Field Supervisor of the Group Settlement Branch, advises me that Mr. HASTINGS is a very satisfactory settler, and should be able to provide amply for the person referred to. He is at present living in a very comfortable four-roomed cottage. 
In response to a letter, Mr. HASTINGS informs me that he has three in family, two girls and a boy, aged respectively seven, twelve, and two years, and that he also has Donald TEARLE brother to Gertrude TEARLE now nominated by him." 

Dad was posted to Groups 58 & 111 at an annual salary of £235 ($470) at the beginning of 1932 and he boarded with them. 
Dad always said it was because of Mum's "hot blood" and Mum always said it was because Dad was the first man she saw with clean fingernails. Whatever the reason they married in 1933. 

In 1933 Granpa walked off the farm.  Work was hard to get and between 1933-1939 the main occupation for Granpa was on sustenance work 3 days a week - Canning Dam and irrigation ditches in Harvey. Enlisted in the “Old and Bold”, a sort of Militia Unit for those too old for the front lines and did most of his W.W.II service as Sgt. in Charge R.A.P (Regimental Aid Post) Karrakata and Harvey (Marrinup) P.O.W. Camp. His discharge papers show service from11th July 1940 to 22nd November 1946.