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I joined the Public Service in early 1969 after year 6 at Telopea, working initially in Endeavour House at Manuka, above what is now Howard Duffy's Manuka store. I spent 37 years in various departments all here in Canberra including 10 years in Immigration. In 2006 I became the Government Sales Manager for the Virgin Blue group of Airlines. Having ticked that box of fascinating things to do, I changed careers again in 2010 and re-entered the public service, this time at the Australian Communications and Media Authority in Belconnen. I worked in the same office in 1981 in the then Department of Communications.
I met country NSW girl Lesley in the early 70s and we married in 1975 in Canberra. We built our first home in Spence and then moved to Bruce in 1987. Anthony was born in 1982 and Angela in 1984. We divorced in 2001.
My parents, Arthur and Esther, ran Freeman's radio shop in the Lawns at Manuka. Dad started the business in 1929, a brave time to start a business. Mum joined him at the shop after their marriage in 1947. He sold the shop in 1962, but Jim Douglas continued the business until 1967. Dad changed careers when he sold the shop and serviced all the 2 way radios for all Canberra taxis and Department of Works utes and trucks from the workshop in the backyard at home in Griffith until he finally retired in 1977. There was taxi in the yard most days after school. I moved back to the family home here in Griffith in 2001 and the old shed has now gone and is replaced with a garage in my 2011 renovations.
Both children Anthony and Angela live in Canberra. Anthony loves the outdoors and is a scientific field officer with a utility company. Angela works for a local company that treats sleep disorders. She is a keen hockey player and spent a season in Belgium in 2009/10 playing in Antwerp, north of Brussels.
Val Emerton's local book on the history of the Kingston area (Past Images, Present Voices - Kingston and therabouts through a box brownie) includes a chapter on my grandparents, Arthur and Ruth and the six children, Arthur (my Dad), Mabel, Nellie, Ernie, Bert and Ted. They came to Canberra in 1921, from Murwillumbah, via Sydney, Goulburn and Bungendore, living firstly at the Causeway and then at 33 Murray Crescent, Griffith. Dad and Ernie were the first boys enrolled by headmaster Cecil Henry at Telopea in 1923, and sisters Mabel and Nellie were the first girls enrolled. Schooling had been at Narrabundah school before that - this was at what then became the Forrest Fire station, across the road from where Howard Duffy lived I think when we were at school. Dad recalled helping carry the books from the old to the new school.
Dad passed in July 2001, at 91, and mum in October 2002, at 87. The last of that Freeman generation, Bert, died 23 June 2011, at 91. Ernie died in New Guinea in 1943. My Mum's younger brother Cyril Taylor had served at RAAF base Fairbairn during the war and my parents met in 1945. He was an instrument maker and so serviced the RAAF war planes. He had a jewellers shop in Sandringham in Melbourne for years and still builds clocks as one of his hobbies at 94 (in 2011).
I see some of the guys from time to time including Peter Olliffe and Stan Bakker, and Stewart Darville who lives in the same street. I catch up with John and Judi Walsh when they are in Canberra and not in Alice Springs with Judi's work with Royal Flying Doctor Service, or in London. I had a chat last week with Bruce Bullock at Bert's funeral.