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The only thing I hated about growing up in Rainworth was growing up

I remember my time in growing up in Rainworth, up to the age of 13 years, as a time of great freedom. A lifestyle of living life to the fullest, by:

  • Running with Rusty barefooted through the bush at Mount Coot-tha

  • Riding my second hand bike all over my turf, Brisbane's Inner West

  • Racing billy karts that we built down Selby Street

  • Building cubby houses under the house or in the bush

  • Walking to the Cinema for Saturday matinees  

  • Playing tennis or cricket with my mates

We were always doing something or walking somewhere. This is probably very foreign under today’s standards where children have to be totally under supervision. School was just something that interfered with all the things we wanted to do, but allowed us to at least meet all our friends and arrange what we were going to do that afternoon or weekend.

But the real world came crashing into my life once I left Primary School and had to attend High School. For me and another two friends Robert Lingard and Garry Loseby that meant going to Brisbane State High. I never forget turning up there on my first week and finding my little protective world had been invaded. I was what you may say one of the “Leaders of the Pack” in my school. Also a great song of the time. But as my mother would say about my father when he went to Townsville in the police force as Officer in Charge of the CIB, he liked it because he was a big toad in a little puddle. That was like me at Rainworth School, but at High School and in that first week there had to be some sorting out of all these other alpha males from other primary schools around Brisbane’s Inner West. This was not for me, I had nothing to prove to anyone, and I was not wanting a bloody nose to prove that I was still the Leader of the Pack. I had bigger issues to worry about......

On graduating from primary school, in those days we had to sit and pass the Scholarship Exam which was conducted at Milton School. Now the exam prior to this exam, I had gained 82% and my parents had agreed that if I got above 85% for the scholarship exam I would receive a horse. Now where was I going to put the horse? Well, I had it all planned that there was a big block of land behind the hairdresser’s {Mr & Mrs Riordian’s house) which would just be ideal stemming from my youthful enthusiasm for great ideas. Getting the horse into the area, past the tennis court could have been a major obstacle not considered at the time. But to my great disappointment and my parent’s relief, I only achieved 69% in the Scholarship exam; I panicked as too much at stake.  But this result landed me in the notorious SJ9 class.

This was the class where all the dropouts from all the other GPS schools and all the poor performing students were aggregated together. Now this got me focussed and no longer my little free world was enough, I had to get out of this class and that meant I had to knuckle down and listen in the disruptive class and study. I had a compatriot in arms in a new found friend a Kevin Squires, whose father ran the Squires Coaching Colleges. Kevin and I had the same goal, we are getting out of SJ9. Within that year, we both had achieved that goal, from our hard work. But even more interesting, that the drive to get ourselves out of SJ9 also got us on the path of achieving much more. Kevin eventually became a Medical Doctor and I became a Veterinary Surgeon.


But now my world had changed, nothing was ever like it was in the past again. The real world was a part of my life and I had to strive to get ahead, make choices as to the best directions to take, compete against others to get the best positions, and to start building a secure future for myself and hopefully for my future family.

I had grown up, I had to face reality, but I never, ever forgot those wonderful times and feelings of freedom and of discovery of my true inner self as that free spirited child.

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