Andrew Wright

| BACK |

Andrew Wright and family

Back: Andrew, Kristie, Chrishan, Margo. Front: Julia, Kalem, Tahnee.

I promised Brett that I would write my bio on a rainy day. So no more excuses; it's a horrible day out there. But first I thought I'd check out the bios on the website. Great fun, especially the personal stories ... more than the CVs. Three hours later ... here goes.

As I said in an email to Danielle a couple of months ago, I have mixed feelings about my time at Telopea. Great school; great teachers; great times. But. I always felt like a fringe dweller - not smart enough for the intelligentsia; not sporting enough to make any teams; not cool enough. It's a shame that the sexes were segregated at that time, I would have spent my time with the girls rather than the boys. When I think hard about it, I did like the school work and did well enough to get into the ANU.
My life-changing teacher at Telopea was Miss Smith in year 9. She gave me the light bulb moment where all maths suddenly made sense to me. I even ended up studying pure maths and statistics at the ANU, along with my economics major. Surprisingly to me, my parents and others I guess, I did well at the ANU.

My career started as a research assistant in the economics department at the ANU. That didn't work. Neither did my first attempt at research with the Bureau of Agricultural Economics in 1975. But I was fortunate to stumble across the publishing area at the BAE when trying to decide on a future career path.

I started as a subeditor in 1976 and within a few years became editor then publishing manager. I stayed for 32 years, retiring in 2008. With the changes in technology in that time, my team dropped from about 25 to five.

And we handled pretty much the same volume of work at the end ... but much faster. There were many highlights, including never missing a publishing deadline, working directly to some really amazing executive directors ...
and being awarded a 'centenary of the public service' medal in 2001, along with the founding director of the BAE and a former ANU lecturer of mine, Sir John Crawford, and many former secretaries of the department. I was one of only two plebs in that pretty illustrious group.

That's the boring CV bit. The best bits of my life, like everyone else's I guess, have been my marriage and family. I was introduced to my now wife, Margo, by an old girlfriend at the Tangerine Teapot in 1967. Then, on 18 February 1968, after a drunken night in Weston Park, hooning around in Johnnie Owens's souped up morrie minor, a group of us gatecrashed the YMCA yacht club dance at Yarralumla bay. Margo tapped me on the shoulder ... and that was that. I love her as much today as I did 43 years ago.

After hitchhiking around New Zealand with Brett and then travelling with him to the UK to do the ubiquitous VW camper van holiday in 1972, I returned home early to marry Margo. In January 1973.
By 1976 we knew we couldn't have kids of our own so without hesitation started the adoption process. We had considered adopting kids from Vietnam before we found out that we couldn't have kids. After a few heart breaking failed attempts we adopted our first child, Tahnee, from Sri Lanka in June 1977. She was three months old, healthy and gorgeous. That was followed by direct applications for two more from the same catholic orphanage. Our second child, Chrishan, was a very sick little boy. He weighed just 8.5lb at nine months (I weighed 10lb 9oz at birth!). The Irish nun in charge, Sr Dympna, called him her 'miracle boy' when we returned for our third, Kalem, in 1982. He was our youngest at three weeks. We had asked for a second girl but got the call one night from the orphanage saying they had a baby boy for us. The shock wore off within the hour when we realised that one doesn't get the choice in natural childbirth.

Our kids have been nothing but joy for us. We never had any of the horrible stages that so many parents talk about. Tahnee is now 34 and is holidaying in Europe at the moment with her Greek partner. They live in Melbourne and plan to marry next year. Chrishan (now 32) married a country girl in 2007. They live on a little farm near Harden and he commutes to work in Canberra.

Kalem (29) gets married the week after the reunion. He remains an enigma to us. Very laid back but very successful as a geologist with BHP, riding high on the mining boom. So far no grandkids.

That's it about the family. Margo and I plan to continue our travels that we started when Tahnee lived in London for six years. We hope to actually live in London for a year next year. We have never lived anywhere other than Canberra.

My passions apart from family and travel are 1950s' cars and architecture. We now live in a gorgeous 1950s'modernist house backing Mt Ainslie that gives us great joy every day. The car remains a dream. I avidly read classic car magazines ... but have fought off the urge to own one (being not mechanically skilled). Stan Bakker, an old neighbour from Yarralumla and my best man, sends almost daily links to classic car websites. My poor ten-year-old laptop struggles with the 2Mb files! Clearly, we old yarradinga boys are all classic car nuts.


| BACK | TOP |