Because one of my aunts, on my father’s side, was one of the hierarchy of nuns at the Mercy Convent in Ballarat, I was to be accommodated at its subsidiary boys’ boarding school ”Villa Maria” also at Ballarat East.
Other students were the sons of solicitors , doctors, accountants, publicans, and farmers whose properties were too far from schools. (There were no school buses in those days). I was “the odd one out”.
At Easter, all the kids went home for holidays – all except me and my brother, who was 2 years older than me. We were “the odd ones out”.
On finishing primary school I was awarded a scholarship which entitled me to tutorial and accommodation at St.Patrick’s College also in Ballarat.
At St.Pat’s I found that, because I was such a small child, ( at age 14, I was 5 stone in weight) I played football with kids much younger than me. Again “the odd one out”! To make matters worse, unlike the others, I wore a football guernsey knitted by my aunt. You may well imagine that this differed significantly from the “bought” guernseys the other kids wore. I was a stand out in the field, not because of my ability but because of that damned Guernsey.
On leaving school, I obtained a job in Benalla and, as a youth, I was very shy in the company of girls. While many of my mates had girl friends, I was a loner. Again. The “odd one out”.
Much later in my life, after being married at age 34, (an “odd one out”) I commenced studying and found myself as a “mature aged student” studying with , at one stage, teenagers, and later with 20 year olds. There was a notable difference in our attitudes to study.
As a young man I commenced playing lawn bowls at Wodonga. I was aged 26 years, while the other bowlers were men in their sixties, seventees and over. This was an education for which I am very grateful. As a result of this venture I have now been playing bowls for nearly sixty years, and am in receipt of a certificate to indicate my fifty years bowling. “Odd one out”.
After many years as a member of the Benalla bowls club I received a “life membership”. ”Odd one out”.
Over a lifetime I have been deeply involved in community affairs and in the Queen’s birthday awards of 2013 I received an Order of Australia Medal. ”Odd one Out”.
In summary, being the Odd One Out in my childhood certainly had its drawbacks, but as life went on there were compensations.
29 July 2017