Alright!... I am 85 years old; I am healthy; I have come to grips with my own mortality; I am content! I have a wonderful supportive wife; 4 top children; and 10 loving grandchildren.
In a life, which, at times, has been daunting, I have succeeded!
I have learned that every person has good points: that one should accept everyone at face value: and one should be wary of the “holier than thou” person as there are, too often, undertones of hypocrisy.
In my writings for this group, I have, possibly, stressed too much, that my mother died when I was 4 years old, and, perhaps, understated my father’s alcoholism which caused him to lose his farm , and to his own employee, at that.
After Mum’s death I did not live with my father and consequently, at school became a “loner”. Once I commenced work, I was, for a number of years, a beer drinking “lost soul”. I followed a career with a stock and station agency business in three different country branches for 16 years. I had no confidence in myself, or fondness for my job.
I had little, or no, contact with my siblings. They had all married very young and, spread around the countryside, had their own families to care for, and lives to live.
After my adolescent years had passed I became a self taught mature age student and eventually obtained two accounting degrees and then a fellowship. I went into a business accounting partnership in Benalla until retirement in 1998. My wife and I operated the Benalla Coin Laundrette for seventeen years, and I have been a senior member of a land development corporation for over thirty years. Before breakfast each morning I do a series of exercises at the Benalla Hydrotherapy Pool.
Over a lifetime I have found myself involved in many community service organisations, from the Lions Club to Rotary, Ballandella to the Cemetry Trust, U3A to two Probus Clubs, the Bowls Club to Cooinda, and so on; approximately thirty organisations in total. I have held executive positions in all.
My sporting interests have been confined to table tennis (in my youth) and to lawn bowls for sixty years. In my early days I was recognised as a relatively good lawn bowler, but age caught up and my standard lessened, to the extent that my pride now dictates that I retire.
I believe that, despite a slow start, I have defied the odds and led a very fulfilling life. I have succeeded in family life; in business life; and in community life. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants, a Life Member of the Benalla Bowls Club, a Paul Harris Fellow in Rotary, and, above all, an Order of Australia Medalist.
As a motherless child, and the son of an alcoholic, and being somebody who ‘never belonged’, I believe that in the words of the late Teddy Whitten, I have ‘stuck it right up ‘em’.
October 24, 2017 .