Up close and personal

Gosh - where do I start? At the very beginning I suppose, but first, a quick low-down on now.

I'm married to Dianne and have two adult sons, four grandsons and one granddaughter. I also have three adult stepchildren and four stepgrandchildren. We live in Sunbury, Victoria, Australia. I've lived here in Sunbury since 1978 and Di has lived here for the past 19 years after moving from Adelaide.

Di is retired massage therapist. She is Australasian event manager for champagne educator Champagne Jayne, Company Secretary of a charitable organisation Honorary Secretary of the Wine Service Guild Victoria.

Back to the beginning

I was born in March, 1951 in the Melbourne suburb of Preston. My parents Sylvia and Raymond were living with my maternal grandparents at the time. Several years later they bought their own home in Reservoir. I remember that we had no phone, no fridge, a wood stove and an outdoor toilet. Television didn't come to Australia until 1956, the same year as the Melbourne Olympic Games. I remember sitting with a huge crowd in the workshop at the local Ampol service station watching the athletics on a small, probably 21", black and white television. Very few people in Reservoir could afford to buy a television in 1956.
That's me on the left with glasses in the photo, aged about 5, with Mum, Dad and my younger brother Bruce.

Moving around

On Melbourne Cup Day 1958 Mum Dad, Bruce, 8 month old Trevor and I moved from Melbourne to Canberra. That was the beginning of just over 7 years of moving from house to house, state to state and school to school. For me it meant a total of 10 different schools in 7 years. It's probably worth listing those schools.

Newlands Primary School, Coburg, Victoria: Grades 1 & 2. I missed my 'prep' year because in the days of baby boomers there was no room for me.

North Ainslie Primary School, Australian Capital Territory. The last six weeks of Grade 2 in the national capital Canberra.

Lyneham Primary School: Grade 3. The first year of a brand new school in the growing suburbs of Canberra. I still remember my teacher that year, Miss Breeze, who sang on ABC radio one time.

Princes Street Primary School, Sandy Bay, a suburb of Hobart, Tasmania: The first few months of Grade 4.

Bowen Road Primary School,  Moonah, a suburb of Hobart. The rest of grade 4 and all but the last month of Grade 5.

Mitcham Demonstration School, Adelaide. The last few weeks of Grade 5 (I think) and about half of Grade 6.

Seaton Park Primary School, Adelaide. The rest of Grade 6 and all of Grade 7. I'll never forget my Grade 6 teacher Mr Sinclair, who was the first to foster my enjoyment of writing. And my Grade 7 teacher Mr Munro, who somehow made the subject of English Grammar reasonably interesting.

Findon High School, Adelaide. My first year and a third of High School, year 8 and the first term of year 9. My English and Latin teachers had a great influence on me. My year 8 English teacher was Tony Shinkfield, who later became Principal of Adelaide's prestigious St. Peter's College. My Latin teacher, Mr Zaborowski, instilled fear into us all, most of us excelling in the language to avoid a terrifying tongue-lashing.

Moreland High School, Melbourne. I was forced to go back to year 8 due to poor reports from my previous school, and rejected by the 'more academic' Coburg High School for the same reason. By the end of the year I was finally beginning to come to grips with mathematics, which set the stage for my eventual direction in later years and University.

Niddrie High School, Melbourne. Years 9 -12. WOW! Four years in one school. Once again I was fortunate enough to have exceptionally good English teachers, especially Bev White in year 10, who, despite my general direction being in mathematics and science, instilled in me a love of creative writing. 

An interesting observation. Having experienced 7 years of continually moving house and the purchase of a home in Tullamarine, 47 years later my parents are still in that house. My two youngest brothers, born in 1965 and 1968, grew up in only one house and attended only one primary school and one high school.

University days

Having completed high school I embarked on a Science Education degree at the University of Melbourne with a view to becoming a secondary school teacher. Despite spending much of my first three years playing cards and snooker, participating in protests about conscription and the war in Vietnam and singing/playing in a rock band (more about that later), I managed to complete the degree in the minimum four years with a major in Physics.

During my early years at Uni I was very fortunate to meet some wonderful and exceptionally capable and talented people who have become lifelong friends. We all entered the teaching profession around the same time and had plenty to talk about. Quite a few of those friends were my role models - and still are.

I was also very fortunate to have some fantastic lecturers, tutors and demonstrators in my first year - especially in Physics. Because of the education component in the Science Education degree, first year lectures were conducted by the staff at the Secondary Teachers' College, who unlike their University colleagues, were trained and experienced teachers - and gosh - it was so obvious. From second year we joined the 'pure' Science students at the University, with lecturers who were clearly there for their research skills rather than their teaching skills. Thankfully, there were a few exceptions. 

It was the early 70s and the core physics subjects were Quantum Mechanics and Nuclear Physics. Fortunately I was able to do some more interesting stuff including Atomic & Molecular Physics, Thermal Physics, Oceanography & Upper Atmosphere Physics. It was the early days of holograms and I recall spending hours and hours setting up for a hologram (still) of a model sailing ship that could only be viewed with a laser beam. How things have changed. I also recall working for a few hours in the Nuclear Physics lab before I saw the 'Beware of Radiation' sign and realised that I'd been too close to the radiation. I wondered if I had inadvertently become sterile. It was a strange time.

The greatest memoriesof those four years?
  • Breaking the world record pram pushing record in 1970 only to have our record broken before the Guiness Book of Records for that year was published.
  • Participating in a siege of the Union Building for about 48 hours. It was either 1971 or 1972. We were protecting four conscientious objectors. It ended at about 5am one morning with a raid by the federal police, who had surrounded the building in the dark and crashed their way through doors with axes etc. Most of the doors were, in fact, unlocked. When the police reached the third floor they were confronted by hundreds of us, sitting on the floor blocking the way and singing John Lennon's 'Power to the People'. They pushed and kicked us out of the way, but failed to find the four people we were protecting. They had been concealed in a recess in the ceiling. Their hiding places were shown on the TV news that night. It was a major victory for the anti-conscription movement. 
  • The annual tricycle race from Portsea to Melbourne - about 60 kilometres. We didn't finish the race one year. Our tricycle fell apart - strangely outside a hotel in Mordialloc - about halfway. But we had a good day nevertheless.
  • Numerous free concerts: Axiom, Billy Thorpe (many times), Mother Goose, Spectrum - and many more.
  • Having lunch with the members of the English band, The Searchers, after a lunchtime concert in the North Court of the Union Building.

Live concerts

Thinking about the very best live concerts/performances I've seen, either in person or on TV, video or DVD.

In person
The Twilights, Melbourne Velodrome, 1967, the day Harold Holt disappeared
The Who, The Small Faces, Doug Parkinson, Festival Hall, 1968
Axiom, University of Melbourne, 1970
Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs, Melbourne University & other venues, numerous times 1970 - 2006,
Tully, TFM Ballroom, Fitzroy, approx. 1970
Spectrum, Secondary Teachers' College, approx. 1971
Daddy Cool, San Remo Ballroom, approx, 1971
Mother Goose (NZ), Secondary Teachers' College, approx. 1972
Chicago, Festival Hall, 1972
The Searchers (UK), University of Melbourne, approx. 1973
LRB, Dallas Brooks Hall, Melbourne, approx. 1978
LRB, Red Rocks, Colorado, 1983
Dire Straits, Rod Laver Arena, mid '90s
Billy Joel, Rod Laver Arena, with my then 11 yo son Aaron, approx 1992
The Presidents of the United States of America, Monash University, with my then 12 yo son Dean, approx 1997
Billy Joel & Elton John, MCG?, late '90s
AC/DC, Rod Laver Arena, approx. 2001

TV, Video, DVD
Eagles, Hell Freezes Over and Melbourne, Farewell I tour
Sting Live in Berlin
Birtles, Shorrock & Goble, Forum Theatre, early 2000s
Billy Joel Live at Shea Stadium
Elvis, Aloha from Hawaii, early '70s
Metallica S & M
Queen Live at Wembley Stadium
Roy Orbison, Black and White
Simon & Garfunkle, Old Friends
Dire Straits, On the Night

Most disappointing
Paul McCartney & Wings, MCG early '90s

To put it in context
To put this list in context, it's probably useful to list as many other bands and acts that I've seen live (in person) that I can remember. I'm sure I will have missed quite a few.

On tour: Peter, Paul & Mary, Sammy Davis Jnr, Dudley Moore, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Manfred Mann Band, Blood Sweat & Tears, Free, Santana, Alice Cooper,

Australian/New Zealand: Cole Joye, The Atlantics, Dinah Lee, Normie Rowe, Ronnie Burns, Bobby & Laurie,The Stevie Wright Band, The Groop, The Groove, Chain,  Friends, The Delltones, Lobby Lloyd's Coloured Balls, The Wild Cherries, The Town Criers, Crowded House, Zoot, The Masters Apprentices, Hush, Kush, Autumn, Jimmy Barnes, Max Merrit & the Meteors, Kate Ceberano, Mississipi, John Farnham, Daryl Braithwaite

To be continued . . . 


  1. Congratulations on a wonderful career Graeme. You're one product that Tullamarine can be proud of!

  2. The Portsea to Melbourne Trike race was not 60 kms it was well over 100 kms. I did Olivers Hill twice.

  3. I remember Mr Zaborowski: “For those who failed the vocab test, there will be another vocab test after school today. Of course, this is completely voluntary….BUT I WOULD’NT LIKE TO MISS ANYBODY!!!!”