Patrick Britten

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Patrick Britten

Patrick Britten – Timeline- “A slice of life” since 1965

In October 1965, I said goodbye to TPHS after the completion of the “Intermediate Certificate”.  Commenced work as an apprentice “Sign-writer” with JB Youngs, based at the Queanbeyan outlet.

Eventually the lure of “Big Dollars” had me leave the Sign-writing to work with Alan Bacon (TPHS student 1963-65) at the Manuka Post office as a Telegram Boy, pushing a bicycle all over Southern Canberra. This eventually led to both Alan & I being trained as telegraph operators.

Again, I followed the dollar signs to work in the Building and Construction Industry and started with Monier Roof Tiles and again worked with some ex-TPHS students such as “Nocker” Kirby, Gary Mundy and others.  Stuart Darville, John Isoniemi, Urus Svansfeld & Cynthia Margules were other ex-staff I spent time with socially.

After a while I moved to Leighton Contractors as a “Powder Monkeys” driller, lugging around the 80kg + pneumatic drills. Again, some more ex TPHS students came into my work area as their Father was the senior mechanic at Leighton Contractors, this was Phillip and Keith Bates (Yarralumla boys).  This was a really hard, back-breaking but fun work and an exciting time for a young guy with heaps of work in and around the new suburb of Aranda.

During the period between 1967-68, as you do, I met a girl and was married soon after in August 1968.  Just after this I received in the mail a letter that could have change my life, however a reprieve was offered to me as I was already married and had a family.  My number had come up in the draft for National Service!

My life changed again when a job opportunity was offered at Canberra Airport with Ansett-ANA in September of 1969.  This opportunity led to a fulfilling career of 31 years in the Airline Industry that (I believe) would make a great subject for a book one day.  The following is a shortened version of events from 1969 until 2011.

1969-1971: Ramp Operations area at Canberra Airport.
1971-1977:  Ansett Airfreight (City Supervisor).
During 1976 went through a divorce from my wife of 8 years, and had to part with my two sons.
1977- 1980  Ansett Traffic staff and Holiday Travel.
During this period I met (at work) and married my wife of 30 years, Kaye.

Again, I was soon to meet more ex-TPHS students in the form of Ron Griffiths and Eddie Stachow when I answered an advertisement for “Baseball” players. We formed the original Canberra “Warriguls” Baseball Club in 1976.

Baseball and Softball was to become a major passion in my life from 1976 onwards through the local competition and a multitude of “Masters Games”.  The Masters Games has seen my teams play in most Australian Capitol Cities, where I also expanded into the world of Athletics, particularly the throwing events – Javelin, Shot-put, Hammer & Discus) a World Master’s (Fastpitch Softball) in Edmonton, Canada 2005 with another due in Italy in 2013. I am still ‘rolling’ around the diamonds now and still enjoying my sport.

1980- 1982  Promoted to Supervisor of International Travel Office.
Again, met an ex-TPHS student- Rick Burns, Rick was the Pan Am Airline Manager for the area. We shared office space at 33 Ainslie Avenue for about a year and also shared a passion for Baseball as our sons who were now playing in junior teams.

1982 –1994 Promoted to Manager, Ansett International Travel, Canberra.
Purchased a house in Gowrie and still happily residing there today.

In 1982 I commenced my Manager role with one office and 3 staff with a turn-over of $1M pa.  By the time I moved from Retail Travel in 1994 this had increased to 35-40 staff with eight offices and a turn-over of $164M +/-pa.
This period of my life had a significant amount of International travel to all corners of the Globe for both work and private. Work took me all over the Pacific, Asia, Europe and the America’s. Private travel entitled me to a huge discount on most carriers to all parts of the world including a couple of complete circumnavigations of the globe during the kid’s school holidays.

In this period of time I handled the Canberra Raiders and Canberra Royals Rugby Club travel, both domestic and International.  Memorable trips were to the Rugby League “State of Origin” in Longbeach, California and also on the Argentina, Chile & Brazil tour with Royals Rugby Club.

Again I met another ex-TPHS student in Brian Wallis who worked at the British High Commission who was one of many of our Diplomatic clients.

In 1994 I was asked to “Head-up” the new Ansett Sports office at the AIS (Australian Institute of Sport) which again meant copious amounts of travel all around Australia with the added advantage of being able to attend most Major sporting events.

Around this time I was selected as a candidate for some “Mature Aged Education” studying for a “Diploma of Business Management” through Ansett Australia and the Southern Cross University, Lismore NSW.  Taking up study full-time while still working was a major headache, but I was able to hang on and complete my Diploma in 2 years.

During this period of time Australia won the Olympic bid for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games with the President of the IOC declaring SID-EN-NY as the winner…………………………..
Following on the heels of this announcement my Employer, in partnership with other Airlines (TG, SQ, NZ, UA), won the travel rights for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.  I received a call that again was to change my life, with an offer to take the position of “Olympic Travel Manager” based in Sydney.  I accepted the offer and commenced five years of daily travel to and from Sydney leaving home at around 5:00am and returning late evenings.  I had that rare pleasure of being able to travel in the aircraft cockpit of those morning and evening flights and calculated that I had approximately 1500 cockpit rides in those five years.

A Senior Management role as “Olympic Operations & Process Manager” was offered and taken up in 1996. A bonus for this role was a “Golden-Wing” membership and Executive Pass allowing me unlimited domestic and International travel.

A memorable trip during the “Olympic Quadrenium” was to Nagano, Japan for the 1998 Winter Games as part of the SOCOG Team evaluating all aspects of the Nagano Winter Games, the Games venues, Travel, Facilities and Security measures.  All those aspects we studied we would have to manage for the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

Part of my daily work was to “Program Manage” the Sponsor and Company Security program, Airport preparation for Athlete arrival and departures, Media Centre Darling Harbour, Soccer Travel offices and athlete travel. My personal project was to setup Travel Offices in the SOCOG Office on Broadway, Sydney, the Media Centre in Darling Harbour, The IBC (International Broadcast Centre) Homebush, the MPC (Media Press Centre) Homebush, and the Athletes Village Newington.
During the Games my VIP Operations Pass enable me to attend all events in any VIP or general admission areas.  This was a bonus as I attended all evening Baseball Games at Sydney Olympic Park as well as many of the other sport disciplines.

My role also included the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games which followed 10 days after the closure of the Sydney Games.

Kaye & I were able to attend both of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for both Games and meet some distinguished sporting personalities such as Mark Spitz (Mexico Olympics) who we hosted at our VIP Lounge at the Opening Ceremony of the Games.

Once Homebush and the other Sydney venues closed down my task was to remove and make-good on all properties we had utilised during the Games. On December 21st, 2000 I returned from Sydney for the last time in my “Olympic” role and handed in my ID, mobile phone, pager, camera and received an early retirement card at just 50 years old.  This Retirement card included Travel Benefits for life, however the collapse of Ansett Australia soon after cancelled that benefit.

After a year off, a new career change saw me working for Bunnings at Tuggeranong.  This career change was not what I was really looking for so I headed back into the travel business consulting for some friends at an Agency in Red Hill. A couple of years of this was enjoyable, however this was also more of what I had done previously so I took an option to start with Qantas Defence Service at Fairbairn where I am currently employed as the “Operations Scheduler” for the Australian Government VIP Fleet.  It’s hard to believe that you could be so lucky in life to have a second chance with a fantastic job.

At this time my two boys (42 and 39 years) who live on the sunshine Coast are not married, so no Grand children.  The younger guy has been working on the “American Survivor” Show in Samoa, Nicaragua and other places.

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