I suppose I could define my life as one of volunteering service to the community, as it was in the beginning whilst at school, door knock collecting for such organisations as Red Cross, Save the Children, or the Salvation Army; or in my late teens, the holidays that I spent taking charge of disadvantage youth for their fourteen day sea-side trip to the Melbourne Lord Mayors Camp at Portsea. Volunteering for various Country Show Societies, Horse Racing Clubs, or other sporting clubs.
I always had a special place in my heart for people with disabilities, especially those who suffered cognitive problems. In 1984, I was invited to join the Board of Directors at Yallambie Deniliquin, a special centre for people in South Western Riverina who were suffering this terrible infliction, a position I held for eight years. Unfortunately I had to resign because of my move to Lake Bolac in the Western District.
Whilst in Lake Bolac, I became a member of Lions Clubs International and am still today. Due to my moving around, I am now at my sixth Lions Club and as you know, the motto of Lions is “We Serve”.
After selling my property at Lake Bolac, I moved into Ararat, where once again an opportunity was afforded to me, in the guise of an Independent Third Person with the Victorian Office of the Public Advocate and as an Independent Person with the Victorian Council of Multiculturism and Youth. Both these positions are with the Victorian Police, who must have an Independent person present at interviews with persons with cognitive disabilities and with youth between eleven and seventeen years of age. Over the next ten to eleven years, I was required to sit in on some forty to fifty interviews per annum. My region of responsibility covered an area from Ararat to the South Australian border, in police stations such as Ararat, Stawell, St Arnaud, Horsham, Hamilton, Portland and Edenhope. However, as Ararat had a large population of people suffering from cognitive problems, following the closure of the Aradale Lunatic Asylum in 1992, most of the inmates were housed in Group Homes in Ararat or the Corella Place, a forty apartment facility connected to the Hopkins Correctional Centre, most of my activity was near home. I had volunteered for a 24/7/52 timeline, so I quite often received calls at times between midnight and six am, which was not so bad. However, if I had to get up and leave for Portland, a three-hour drive through “furry marsupial” country awaited me, which was a little daunting. However, the police did not call me out unless it was important. In ninety percent of cases it was to mentor and witness for youth.
I will not meander my life’s journey any longer, as I’ve reached my allotted 500 words and I could easily double this!
There is a Curriculum Vitae at the bottom of my “Someone who shaped me” story, on my David Lowing page: google https//u3abenalla.weebly.com/david-lowings-page , if anyone is interested.
23 May 2021