I was born in Auckland in August 1946. I attended
Ardmore primary a one teacher school and eleven other students.
After primary, I went to Papakura High School, Moto Suma Pete.
Sir Edmund Hillary had grown up in Papakura and in 1953, Ed
and Tenzig Norgay climbed to the top of Mt Everest without
While at Papakura my favourite subjects were maths and science.
During school holidays I worked for the Auckland Regional
Authority at the Hunua reafforestation nursery growing pinus
radiata and native seedlings.
During this time I learnt to fly at Ardmore
airport. It is a wonderful feeling when going Solo, Pete Smith
my Instructor said park over there, he hopped out and I went
for my first flight with me only in the aeroplane.
Coming over to Australia
Feb 1966 a school mate said how would you like to go to Australia
on a working holiday. Where was Australia?
We set sail on the Oriental Queen which during WW2 was a troop
Kanimbla arriving in Sydney on the 8th March
1966. We were two green kiwis in a huge city.
Because Alan’s father had Rotary contacts
in Queensland we took the train up to Brisbane. Bought a second
hand VW Kombie van from Stones Corner VWs and drove up to
Gayndah for the first Rotary stop.
While there we visited the orange farms and I met a young
bloke who I saw again two years later in Nui Dat Vietnam driving
Our next Rotary stop was Rockhampton. It was
from here that we took a job at the Mount Morgan Gold and
copper mine, Alan worked on the Furnaces and I became a puncher
on the Converter. That is a story in itself. Our next job
was with Queensland Rail with a relay gang at Edungalba. That
is a story in itself too. After 16 weeks of hard labour we
headed up to Mourilyn Sugar Mill and worked a season. You
don't want to know what goes into the carrier at the mill.
At the end of the season we took a trip up
the Atherton Table lands, Dantree and Cook Town and drove
back to Rockhampton for Christmas.
We had lost our sense of adventure so we both took a more
permanent job. I became a chainman at Garnet Lincoln &
Associates Surveyors and Alan took a job at Kianga mine driving
a tractor on a sheep farm.
I had started studying Engineering Survey
when I was called to front up to the Customs House for a kangaroo
Neither of us had registered for National Service because
we were not Ordinarily Resident in Australia, however, being
a British Subject they said that if I passed the medical,
I was going to Brisbane to start training.
Dr Cave was the RMO and I passed the medical.
I had my 21st Birthday in August and on the 3rd October 1967
I was on the train to Brisbane and heading to Singleton to
start Basic Training. Ten weeks of bastardisation, but it
did mould us into a reliable item of use to the Australian
Army. We learnt to march, run as a group, polish boots, make
beds, salute, how to shoot the military way. When I was at
home in NZ I grew up on a farm had my own rifle and went shooting
On passing out day we departed in smaller
groups to various locations in Australia to start our Corps
training. I was posted to Signals and our initial training
was at the Marconi School Of Signals in Eastern Hills Sydney.
From there to Balcombe School of Signals on the Mornington
Peninsular in the middle of winter. We learnt morse code and
had to pass 25 words a minute send receive with no errors.
There was also lots of other Signals training about antennas
and batteries and how to set up a net and have a net controller.
Because it was so cold our hands would start to cramp and
it was “Great coats on” and in 3 ranks run down
to Mount Martha Beach, along the sand and back up to the morse
Tyabb was just down the road and I took three mates for a
fly in a Cessna 172. Tyabb was grass and it was wet. We watched
a tiger moth do some circuits and I decided it was good enough
for the 172. There was 4 of us for a start, but after an attempt
on taking off we drew straws and one stayed on the ground.
Two of us in the front and one in the middle at the back and
away we went. Jeff Mullins said he could have grabbed a pine
cone as we went over the trees. We had a look at Balcombe
from the air and flew past the Naval Base and back to Tyabb.
I told the boys it would be a slow, full flap decent and we
cant use the brakes because the grass is wet. We all got back
From there I was posted to 139 Sig Sqn in
Brisbane for a short time. After attending an exercise in
Rockhampton based at Pink Lilly our next port of call was
Cunungra Jungle Training School. 21 days of running, if you
got caught walking you had press-ups to do. I was there at
the same time as Normie Row. We left that base in tip top
fitness and battle ready and went back to Brisbane to get
ready for a flight to Sydney and a few days later over to
Saigon in Vietnam.
Vietnam Nov 1968 to Sept 1969
Of my eleven months in Vietnam I spent just
under 2 months in Nui Dat based with the Royal Australian
Engineers looking after their communications base. The rest
of the time I was an Operator Radio attached to Fire Support
Base (FSB) Duster with the Big Red 1 US Marines, Bearcat working
in DTOC Tactical Operation Command working for the Royal Thai
Army Voluntary Forces, Trang Bom with the US Advisory Unit,
VC Hill in Vungtau looking after a ReTrans radio link between
the Delta and Nuidat. So an interesting 11 months and we returned
to Sydney and I was discharged on the 3rd October 1969.
Work after Vietnam
After Vietnam I worked for Brian Thomas cleaning
up around new houses, the Hillman Motors as a workshop rouse
about and finally I started with CREB in November 1969 as
a Chainman with Les Gordon and we surveyed new power lines.
Les found out that I knew how to work a theodolite and he
arranged a team for me and my team and I surveyed many very
interesting lines including the feeder along Norman Road.
Meeting Helen, my wife
I met Helen Bull as a blind Date at the Kalka
Hotel, then we all went down to the beach to launch our 23Foot
In Sept 1973 we were married and had
a wonderful life together. In 1984 we adopted a baby boy 6
weeks old, he is now married and we all have two wonderful
grand kids. In 2015 she started having accute back pain which
was diagnosed as pancreatic cancer. She lost her fight on
the 1st June 2016
Chronic Asthma and problems arising from
Service in Vietnam put a stop to working in the bush. The
Board kept me on and I started working for Civil Works Surveying
and recording where all the underground electrical cables
and feeders are in the city and the Boards total area.
Designing Alma Street CEB
Civil Works engineers and a few of us Technical Officers started
gathering data ready to design the new building on the corner
of Alma and Fitzroy Streets. The over all building design
was done by an Architect and it was built by JM Kelly under
supervision of Civil Works Melvern Crook.
The Architect had installed a dodgy security system which
failed just after we moved in. Because I was looking after
the building management I could see small errors and failures
in the system so I started gathering information for replacing
the system. The Building locked up on the 31st Dec and the
existing system failed. I had keyed the main doors just in
case and I was able to take a submission to the Board for
a new much more reliable sophisticated system from James Hardie
Building Systems MIL Technologies.
Brent Phillips from Rockhampton Alarms and
I installed and converted the whole building to the MIL system.
Then one Friday I delivered electronic card keys to all the
staff and said it will work, if you are not programmed to
open a door it will not open.
ORDER OF AUSTRALIA
In 2006 I was awarded an OAM for services
to the Veteran community through the Vietnan Veterasns Associationc
and 30 years service with the QSES and other community organisations.
It came as a huge surprise because I enjoy what I do and dont
look for acknowledgements. I consider it as a very special
The Managment of the Building also required
me to oganise Fire Drills and train the Fire Wardens. About
5 minutes before the Drill I called the Safety Officer and
the Fire Brigade to say it was a Drill and then opened a break
glass. I didn;t stay to see how it all went, I evacuated too.
We Had one Engineer that wouldn't go so the fire brigade boys
escorted him out. If you are not out of the building in 3
minuites you are dead. A deBrief is held with the Fire Wardens
and cmyself then we all went over to Glenmore to carry out
extinguisher training on live fires
My Last 2 years
In my last two years at the Board I worked
for the IT Dept decommissioning computers and other electronic
items and got them ready for an auction. By this time My PTSD
was a problem and after doing a live in 6 week course with
Cohort 7 at Strathpine Hospital under the care of several
psychiatrists I was deemed to not work any more than 16 hours
a week. So the Board kept me there and I used up my 18 months
of sick leave and finally resigned on medical terms in August
1999. Three months short of 30 years service.
My GP Doctor was concerned about what I would
do because my last job was so intense. I wrote him a list
and still haven’t completed them all.
The start of Web Design
One day while visiting Richard Tosen from
Compusound he said the Aero Club was to hold an airshow and
he thought I’d be the person to make a webpage. He gave
me a copy of Microsoft Front Page that was released in 1995.
I don’t know the year of the air show, but the website
was a great success for both the public and the pilots participating.
A little later Jono Elson was attending TAFE
with a Chinese cooking class and said the TAFE was holding
an open day and he thought I might be interested in some of
the subjects on offer.
Before you could study Cert 3 & 4 you
had to complete 1 & 2, so I said that if I could prove
my skill and knowledge would they let me in.
When 30 of us gathered at TAFE for Multimedia Cert 3 the first
4 nights every thing just went straight over our heads, but
the teacher said something and I tried it and the whole jigsaw
puzzle come together. The boy and girl sitting beside me were
amazed as to what was on my screen. So I said “do this
and don't listen to the teacher” I haven’t looked
back. I then did Cert 4 Multimedia learning how to create
GIF files and very short interactive movies, It is amazing
what can be created within graphics.
So since them the art of Web design has improved but I still
use my old TAFE Program Dream Weaver MX. I create everything
I don't copy and paste anyone elses creations into a page.
My other hobbies are Photography, Voluntary computer Tech
work, Amateur Radio, cooking, Gardening and looking out for
War Veterans in need