Most of my primary education was gained in a small public school built on the edge of a bush town called Appin located in New South Wales, Australia. We had moved to this remote area due to my father picking up a position with the state Water Board and, as a result, my mother, my sister and I consequently found ourselves living in a place called Cataract Dam, not far from Appin. To say it was a culture shock would be an understatement. We had travelled from the seaside resort of Manly to, what seemed to me, as a child, half way around the world. On arrival at the tiny school on my first day I found that each class from Grade I to Grade 6 was housed together in one small room. I was to also find my presence actually doubled the population of Grade 2. Over the next few years as my fellow female classmate and I progressed through the ensuing grades we each competed hard to be top of the class.
Just as I was about to commence High School dad picked up a promotion enabling us to move to the nearby town of Campbelltown. Following three years of secondary education I managed to graduate from the local High with the equivalent of today's School Certificate, the Intermediate Certificate. My leaving school at this time was entirely dependent upon an agreement with my father that I gain a trade. He was very strongly of the opinion that I continue with my education however, I resisted with all the obstinacy that comes with being a teenager.
Following dad's passing just a short time later I honoured my promise and went on to complete a five year apprenticeship and became a licensed electrician. I continued in the trade for a number of years however I eventually reached a point where I began to become bored and restless. That's when I became a prison officer. For reasons that still escape me I decided to leave a well paid position working with people that I liked and respected to start at the very bottom of an industry to manage some of society's worse misfits. It proved to be the right move; I would remain with the NSW Department of Corrective Services for 30 years and, during that time, I would meet many individuals on both sides of the bars that were remarkable in their own right.
Today my wife and I live in northern NSW and, whenever we get a chance, we pack our bags to enjoy an overseas cruise. In the last few years we have visited some fantastic places, met some fabulous people and experienced many diverse and interesting traditions and cultures. All part of the bucket list!