Steve Hills

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Steve Hills

Life after Telopea ....

1969 - 73  ANU Canberra B.A. on a teacher's college scholarship with majors in geography and psychology. Mrs Bergin will see the irony in the choice of subjects. Only two memories from those years...
1. Michael Guppy and John Craig competing to see who could go longest without wearing shoes. Both seemed to manage at least 12 months and walked to lec's through snow and ice in bare feet.
2. Trying to dissect out cranial nerve 5 from a dogfish in Zoology. Next week when a king prawn sat neatly on our dissecting boards, some of us just ate them.

1974   CCAE  for Dip Ed. Joined the "Jug for Lunch Bunch" early on and remember feeling miffed that they actually expected us to do some work to earn the Dip Ed.

1975   appointed to teach Geography at Orara High School in Coffs Harbour where we had an agreement with the students that when we each wagged school we would not surf at the same beach. Regretted not working harder at my Dip Ed.

1976   travelled overseas to the Big Apple, hitched around the Great Lakes, did the UK and then found myself the only male passenger on a bus tour through Spain, Portugal and Morocco. Contrary to what you are thinking, this was a situation not to be recommended. Fortunately the driver was a male and we spent most nights extracting hopeful male intruders from female tents.

1977 - 80  Housemaster and Geography Master at Kinross-Wolaroi School, Orange. This was a co-ed boarding school where life after the pubs shut on Friday nights, took on a remarkable similarity to being the only male passenger on the bus trip in Morocco. Can't work out if it was harder keeping the intruders off the property or the students on the property.

1981   sailed a 10mt yacht to Vanuatu with 2 mates. Some would call us ill-prepared. I couldn't argue with that. Lots of disasters. In the days before electronic navigation aids we spent a lot of time trying to avoid hitting islands and almost succeeded at that. Sent out a may-day call one night about 400kms from land as the boys were hand bucketing water out of the boat when it reached bunk level. Had to invent a call sign as the radio had not been registered (a smart tactic to save some money). Finally got someone in Perth but they thought it was a hoax call because of the dodgy call sign that I'd made up. Eventually we managed to avert a long tread water and ended up exploring some great remote areas around the Lifou islands, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.

1981 - 87  lived in Port Vila, Vanuatu after teaming up with Nautilus Dive Shop. Started a scuba school, logged 5000 dives, married the British High Commissioner's cordon bleu cook and ate freshly caught crayfish whenever the cupboards were empty. Lots of underwater memories of WW2 wrecks, bottomless drop-offs and pristine corals. With new born son Thomas to consider and having been through a couple of destructive cyclones it was time to de-camp.

1988 - 2004  established Pro Dive in Brisbane and continued a career underwater. Spent years on risk management constantly trying to prevent customers discovering new ways to almost kill themselves underwater. 

2005   sold the business and packed up for Italy, France, US and UK with wife Dorothy and 10 year old daughter Georgie.

2006   bought a farm in Maleny (Sunshine Coast hinterland just south of Noosa) growing cows, macadamias, avo's and coffee. Never worked so hard for no pay, so moved into town.

Nowadays    ride my road bike most days. Each year a bunch of us undertake a major cycling trip (John O'Groats to Land's End in UK 2012, 4500kms from Sicily through Italy across the Alps into Switzerland and France 2011, planning for Corsica and Sardinia 2013). 
Son Tom is 25 years old, half way through a law degree and working for Apple. Georgie is 17 and a talented classical ballet dancer. Dorothy is away walking across Spain with a girlfriend (don't they have buses, I asked?).

Great memories from TPHS of John Walsh, Ian Cook, David Frencham, Lindsay Crisp, John Bourchier, Michael Cassin, Howard Duffy, Jeff Pollard, Derek Weise... who have I missed? 
Remember playing rugby for Easts, Aussie rules for Manuka and hockey for Barton. Having my sporting ambitions mixed up with my capabilities! Being scared of Mr Macpherson, Mr Marsh and Mr Barbour.  The day it snowed hard in 1964 and they let us play longer before ringing the bell. The dividing line down the middle of the playground - boys one side, girls the other. Michael Cassin's mum cheering him on walking the very edge of the Manuka pool. "6 and out" rule while batting in the school cricket nets. Sneaking out of school early to hot wire Simon Downie's car and hide it. Being shot in the bum by Lindsay Crisp's air rifle.

Best teacher by far, Mrs Thompson for English. Coolest teacher, Mr Rogers for agriculture. Most liked, Chris Bergin for geography. Biggest waste of time -  4 years of Latin.

Best TPHS moment since leaving school... 1976 and due to fly home to Oz from London that night. Lost my wallet, passport and ticket home. Sitting penniless in the crowded tube wondering what to do when recognised by 2 or 3 ex TPHS girls from a year or two below us (sorry, have forgotten names). They kindly put me up in their flat in S London while I reorganised my life. What's the odds?

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