Born in 1946 as a “welcome home airman” baby, the first of three children, I lived for a short time in Prahran before the family moved into a new Housing Commission house in East Hampton.
I went to primary school at St Mary’s Hampton. In 1957, a few months before I was to start secondary school at De La Salle Malvern, my father, a man with a violent, alcoholic past, rewarded me by deserting us, leaving us in extreme poverty.
In 1965, I started my first job with a large Chartered Accounting firm, now known as PWC Coopers, where I worked as a Share Auditor, studying (not very conscientiously!) accountancy by night. In November of that year, I met Cheryl at the popular dance venue, 431, in St Kilda Road.
In 1968, I was called up for National Service. After a medical, which consisted mainly of a gentleman, to whom I was not the least attracted, grasping my balls and asking me to cough, something I didn’t even do in my most private moments, I boarded a bus for Puckapunyal, my home for 10 weeks. Due to a high-carb diet and a lot of physical exercise, I went from a 10 st 7lb weakling to an 11st 3lb weakling, with a high level of fitness! There, I saw a number of idiots made into men and the experience left me with a strong belief in National Service for everyone. We developed a tremendous “esprit de corps”.
I was proud to be an important part of a 4 x 400m relay-winning team.
I then moved to Balcombe for my corps training as an Operator Keyboard & Radio. I gained a typing speed of 45 wpm and could type direct from morse code to English, a skill now completely lost. There, I was part of the football team, training twice a week and playing twice a week, mid-week in a military comp and, on Saturdays, in the Nepean League, where we were beaten in the Grand Final by Red Hill, a team with a few professionals. It was my favourite sporting year.
I then moved to Simpson Barracks, Watsonia, currently in the news for several reasons. I also changed football clubs, going to my future brother in law’s club, Cheltenham Assumption. All round, this was a very enjoyable year, and not just because I broke my leg at football and was relieved from parade ground duties for over 10 weeks!
In 1970, I returned to PWC and married Cheryl. We produced four beautiful children who have each produced two children and we moved to Brandon Park. I moved into Audit and recommenced accountancy studies by night at the old Prahran CAE, eventually hauling myself over the line as a qualified accountant.
1971 was my first year of community service, joining the footy club committee. Apart from a year off, in 1972, I have been on a committee of some sort ever since.
In 1973, I moved from PWC to my brother in law’s Practice, D G Rees & Associates, in South Melbourne, where I quickly became a Partner, all in the “glory days” of the tax-deductible lunch!
In 1976, annoyed at the way football clubs ignored women, I founded a highly successful netball team within my Club, completely changing the culture of the Club for the better.
A year later, I founded the Waverley Advanced Gymnastics Club, to pick up higher level gymnasts discarded by the Community Centre. The Club has become one of the largest and most successful in Australia, producing Olympic and World Championships gymnasts, something I am very proud of, because it required a huge leap of faith and strong leadership.
In 1981, we moved to Wheelers Hill, our home for 27 years.
In 1991, I retired from football, at the age of 43, which proves you can play forever if you play at a low enough level! I continued to play cricket. In all, I played 500 games of football and 200 games of cricket, serving throughout on the respective committees.  I commenced flying lessons, the start of a 20 year love affair (with flying!) and flew my own aeroplane to such places as Lake Mungo, Broken Hill, Kangaroo Island, Flinders Ranges, Merimbula and all over Victoria and southern NSW.
Having experienced extreme poverty and family violence first hand, I had always had a desire that, when I was in a position to do so, I would give back to the community and people less fortunate than myself, so, when, in 1993 PP Garry Byrne asked me to join Rotary, it was an easy sale for him! I have been President twice and have been awarded a PHF and Sapphire, awards I value above all others. I have loved my time in Rotary. By 2022, I will have chalked up 51 years of involvement in one community organisation or another, the last 50 being continuous. It is a hackneyed phrase, but I have got out more than I have put in.
In February 1994, I parted company with my former Practice and started my own Practice in Carnegie. I was proud to be told by the ATO that my Practice was rated in the top 5% in Melbourne and I worked hard to keep up the standard.
In 2008, we moved to Sandhurst, where I jog and play golf regularly, and we love the environment and lifestyle. We have seen a fair bit of the World, my favourite countries being Norway, Scotland, SW England, the European rivers and South America.
We have also seen much of Australia, our favourites being Katherine Gorge, Kakadu, Kalbarri, Kata Juta and Litchfield, but there are many other amazing spots in our great country too.
There is much more to my life than this, but for that you will have to wait for the autobiography I am writing, with a provisional title of “A Cure For Insomnia”!