For the amount of research that has gone in to this search there isn't a lot to actually tell. I've spent over six hours in total researching this soldier and the end result is one of the most satisfying I can remember.
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Len B of Dee Why. Len is a Vietnam War veteran and found in his father's effects the medals awarded to NX135958 Murray John MacAlister. Len knew Murray and was able to provide me a few details about him.
Murray is often referred to in official records as John Murray so once I had sorted that out I could follow him quite easily. He joined the Army prior to WWII and was still serving in 1963. His medals show his WWII service and his Long Service and Good Conduct Medal. After WWII Murray moved to the newly formed Australian Regular Army. His regimental number of 2712 shows he was an early member. His Long Service and Good Conduct Medal is hand engraved and has ARA after his name.
While it was easy to follow Murray's life it was very difficult to unravel his family and that is were the effort went. Murray married twice. Firstly in 1942 and then again in 1948. He did not have any children from either marriage. Murray's second wife, Jean, was also on her second marriage. Jean's first husband left her to marry one of her sisters.
It was through Jean's brother that I found a family member. There are several other family complications that don't add to the story so I'll leave it at that. I will add that I've had a wonderful email and phone conversation with Tim who is Murray's great nephew. Thanks to Len who handed me the medals when I met him at the AWM on Monday.
The returned medal tally is now 1352.