I've always recognised the fact that to be a worker and have a job, you must
first have someone with money willing to risk it on enterprises that require
the input of others to make them succeed - and the only right a worker has to
continually be employed by this organisation is while he is willing to
do what he is required to do by his employer....... and upon the terms and
conditions he was originally engaged and agreed to. Depending again upon his
employers expertise and the workers honest input for that agreed reward,
there exists the best chance for continued company success and permanent

        "Companies are dominated by two types of people:
          Those who understand what they do not manage.
          Those who manage what they do not understand."

Not every worker I have seen comprehends this situation - soundly correct
as it obviously is. I've seen the clockwatchers, ditherers, incompetents,
blunderers and bludgers in every organisation I've worked for, holding their
hand out every Friday (or whatever day) without the slightest conscience of
their attitude and lack of action, dedication or loyalty. These people were
usually first to scream victimisation if caught out any time and were usually
very hard to work with for the rest of us, who often lost money from their
pay packet because of industrial strikes caused by them and pushed by unions
who said they were acting in their defence but plainly more concerned with
their own drum beating anyway.

Between the two of these least deserving dregs of industrial humanity, the
losses to the average worker striving to make an honest living is no small

I believe there should be none of the junkets or freebies some take for
granted as ultimately someone has to pay for those free lunches - which
intimates the gross ignorance, greed and dishonesty that some will stoop
to at the expense of others.

Nothing is free - its just when and how its paid for - and by who?

I have nothing but contempt for those who believe they can suck so hard on
a system for the little effort they put into it and have the hard bitten
audacity to expect us to swallow their story of having the best interests
of others in mind.   They are nothing but criminals.

The organisations - run for the benefit of those in power in the pretence
of acting for the good of the members who pay for their wages - along with
anything else they "grant" themselves along the way, makes them criminals
and unfit for their position of trust.   This could be any organisation
from a charity to unions to the government generally.

But who wants to read depressing stuff we already know about anyway.

So I will start this recount of my working life on a lighter note, with
the following thought provoking recount of a note that was circulated in
several firms I  worked with.........(also included in another chapter)

Before you ask your boss for a day off, consider the following statistics:

There are 365 days in the year,

You sleep eight hours a day, making 122 days,
which subtracted from 365 days leaves                           243 days.

You also have 8 hours of recreation every day,
making another 122 days and leaves a balance of                 121 days.

There are 52 Sundays that you do not work at all, leaving        69 days.

You get Saturday afternoon off. This gives 52
half-days, or 26 more days that you don't work.
This leaves a balance of                                         43 days.

You get an hour off for lunch, which when
totalled makes 16 days, leaving                                    27 days.

You get 21 days leave every year, so that leaves                   6 days.

You get 5 days sick leave during the year, which leaves only       1 day,

          *******  AND WE WONDER WHY THE BOSS SAYS NO ! *******


        I left school at the end of my second year in  high school when
        I was thirteen years and eight months old.

        I had received clearance to do so from the minister for education
        due to family hardship.

        Besides, I knew everything there was to know anyway!

            (I couldn't wait for success, so I went on without it!)

        When you are so far ahead of your mates in all the "important"
        things,(?) it seems like you're sort of malingering to cling to your
        childhood.   Besides, a "grown man"  trapped in a thirteen year
        old body had to make his move, sooner than later.   Mum couldn't
        afford my schooling so I should pay my way.  And besides, as I told
        mum, I'd be able to handle it ok - hadn't I always before? (gasp)

        What a pubescently painful, testosterone tootin', hormone hogging,
        radical ridden cocky little naive arrogant bastard I was. (Yes me!)

        The step up from learning to doing is hard enough when your peers
        are the same size and age!

        Thirteen ?  Was I heading for a rude shock. Not the work - I could
        do that OK....the people.  I thought we would at least be equals.
                   (I always liked to encourage others ! )

        I found that I wasn't just at the bottom of the pecking order.
        I was at the bottom of the FOOD CHAIN.  And there was no one
        letting me forget it either!

        I was called boy, youngster, lad, kid, young fella, hey you, oi...
        and a few other names I couldn't put here - or just whistled to,
        beckoned by finger, or pointed toward a task.
              What was I thinking of - wanting to go to work!

        Worst of all, I couldn't strike back, which had always been an
        alternative I'd been environmentally used to.

        7.30 till 4pm - 10 mins morning tea - 20 mins lunch and dont dare
        stop working till 3.57...oh... tidy up your area only then.

        5 days a week and 7.30 till noon on Saturday.  5 days sick leave
        with no doctors certificate needed for only one of them. 2 weeks
        paid holiday leave a year (no 17.5% loading then), on the spot sack
        possible if you are late no matter what your excuse, loafing, not
        having a doctors certificate for the second sickie, saying the wrong
        thing, dont dress right, cause any trouble at all or the boss just
        plain doesn't like you.   Two pounds seventeen  shillings AND
        sixpence ( $5.75 ) per week.

           And I learned how to do a "real" 8 hours work in one day!

        So I discovered life at the bottom of the " chain" wasn't for me
        and I'd have to find some way to elevate myself.


       * My first job was in a fabric import store near Haymarket in Sydney.
        LA Stamper & Co. My wages were two pounds seventeen shillings and
        sixpence ($5.75) per week. I was "wrapt" to be an 'adult '(?fourteen
        years old) entrusted with the very important duties of cleaning the
        store, measuring out and cutting yards (metres) of material, running
        errands, getting lunches and making tea and coffee. I remember that
        Mr. Stamper was  OK to me but the lady in the office gave me a hard

        I dont remember why I left but I suspect the office lady may have
        had some influence on me leaving.
        Next step in my carefully planned career path was at Lamson Engineering 
        in Queen Street Chippendale - roughly 200 metres from our house. Though
        I couldn't rely on broken down cars or heavy traffic problems for my 
        excuses, I was often late by a few minutes in the mornings and my boss
        would always just point at the clock as I arrived and smile at me. He
        always made me wash his car after knock off time to make up for it.

        My mind blowing super important duties were procesessing threaded holes 
        into brass castings among many other things of equal importance. Boring.
        When I got the job I was required to join a Workers Union first. Them 
        was the rules... for getting jobs in many places then. After a few weeks,
        a workers meeting was called and this huge pot bellied man from that
        Union stood (menacingly) before us and boasted how the Union had just 
        donated a few thousand pounds to the Labor Party - and everyone clapped,
        including me, until I realised what he had just said.  Growing up in a
        Liberal voting household and always being told to be portionally fair 
        in everything, I just couldn't keep my big naive mouth shut.

        I raised my hand and asked "Sir (anyone in adjudged authority was always
        addressed as "sir") as is proven at election time, the population is 
        split roughly evenly between Labor and Liberal voters... and it would 
        follow that fees paid to the union would come from a similar source. How 
        much money was donated to the Liberal Party then?"  
       There was a long moment of pause as the Union man looked me up and down
       like I was a side salad he hadn't ordered, before he blew up at me. "Who
       the bloody hell do you think you are you sliver of pigs tripe" (Why he
       asked me who I was then told me...) "You (unmentionable) I should plant 
       my boot right up youre arse till your nose bleeds. You'r a f...*ing scab
       and we wont have idiots like you upsetting our workers meetings".

       That afternoon my boss called me into his office and apologised for having
       to finish me up. He went on how much the unions were hated by most but he
       couldn't risk the big loss they'd cause him if he displeased them. Being 
       there for nearly 3 months did not qualify me for long service leave, but
       I left there on good terms with the bloke who sacked me - seems he used to
       buy papers off me when I was a kid. (see... I thought I was grown up at 14)  
          First time I'd been sacked. I never joined a Union again.       


       * Next I got a job at Allparts Belton's in Goulbourn Street.   The
        owner was Harry Belton (Mr. to me)  The man who gave me the job
        was a Mr Beale.  He was very firm but I could call him "Charlie".

        I was employed as a trainee motorcycle mechanic (for about
        the same money).  I seemed to get along with everyone OK - Jim the
        head mechanic - Arthur who worked in the side room - Theo who was
        upstairs... and half a dozen others.

        Now anyone who has ever spent their early employment years assisting
        so called "professional" tradesmen will understand that these are
        merely big people with a repressed teenagers brain and a moronic
        sense of humour that delights in testing the trust of innocents (like
        me then).

        I was immediately given many dubious of which was
        procurement officer for "those I was about to learn from".

        Among the many mythical "items" I was gleefully sent out in search
        of were:
                    Dehydrated Water
                    A bucket of compressed air
                    A bucket of steam
                    A long stand
                    A short stand
                    A chain stretcher
                    A long weight (long wait)
                    A short weight
                    Short circuits
                    Lightning bolts
                    A piston return spring
                    A left handed wrench, hammer, razor...
                    Sparkplugs for a diesel engine

        It was a pretty dirty job for me, and I always showered after work,
        because if I didn't, they would have thrown me off the tram and I'd 
        have had to walk the 3 kilometres home. The shower was a cubicle 
        and the door opened inward. Several times after a shower I had 
        pulled the door open and someone had stood the very oily workshop 
        mop head up against the outside. All nicely scrubbed and cleaned.
        I was attacked by the head of it and had to re scrub myself, which
        caused me to miss my tram and walk home anyway. Sometimes they 
        would toss me parts that were heated up and you only knew when they
        near burned a hole in your hand. There was lots more, but at that
        time, most apprentices and trainees were treated the same at first.

        I suspected several times that I was being set up but wasn't game to
        say anything because one time I had been sent out for a "bastard
        file" and refused to go.....the big boss grabbed me by the ear and
        just about dragged me next door to the  supply shop and asked for
        one bastard file....rammed it into my hand....and told me in no
        uncertain manner I was to do what I was told....and what size his
        boot was!

        My duties gradually progressed to boiling the corks to soften
        them so I could squeeze them into these flat plates with holes
        around the perimeter, and when they cooled, putting them in a lathe
        and machining them back to a certain thickness. These plates were
        for motor bike clutch packs. Other duties = sweeping, lunches,
        cleaning down - why, I became quite an expert!

        I was also entrusted with machining pistons and grooves and fitting
        rings to pistons and cylinders, lapping valves, assembling heads and
        later full motors.  I was sent to the Ultimo Technical College where
        I was taught mechanics.  Unfortunately there was no  tech. course
        for motorcycle mechanics. So by day I worked on motorcycles and at
        tech. I tried to understand motor cars.

        Gave that away as soon as I saw the emerging futility of it all.

        I bought a CZ  125cc motor bike while there and reconditioned it
        with quite a bit of instruction from my older work mates who were
        really good to me once they had tired of playing their pranks.


        * Then I started with Consolidated Plastics at the corner of Regent
        St. and Cleveland Street as a junior something or other (clicker).

        Really funny. It was the first place I had ever had to fill a form
        in for a job and I was real nervous. The man took the form from me
        and said " your birthday hasn't been filled in - what is it" to
        which I replied "the 6th of March".    He said "OK.... which year"
        I replied "Oh, every year".  (I got the job anyway)

        I rose to the position of head junior - when the other junior left!

        They made all sorts of plastic covers & inflatables, mostly toys.

        My job was to make sure we had enough rolls of the different quality
        and colour plastics for whatever the factory run required and I
        was also trained to be a clicker which involved pattern cutting
        multiple layers of plastic with as little waste as possible......

        There was this mad driver there who used to let me drive the van
        at times and it was a fun time for a young guy. No prospects - but
        fun anyway.

        For the life of me I cant remember a name from there.

        The place went belly up and we were all put off I think


 *      Then my most exciting job came next - at Broadway Motors opposite
        Grace Bros. in Broadway, as car wash boy. This was my first taste of
        a high profile sales oriented business and I ended  as pumped up as
        my young mind could get. I was 16. Big flash cars, big flash prices,
        big flash stories - boy was I impressed.

        I was one of 3 yard boys and our one aim was to progress to driver
        and maybe one day the glamour of.......SALESMAN, and earn maybe 30
        pounds ($60) a week.   Wow.....that was BIG money then.

        One day I was talking to the gun salesman (Laurie), who I honestly
        thought knew everything.  He told me how to get my driving licence
        and who to see at the licensing office at Burwood and even arranged
        a car for me.

        I was told how to put thirty shillings in an envelope and how to drop
        it on the seat for the testing officer to pick up "accidentally".

        It worked and I had a driving license showing me as two years older
        than I was.

        I was too frightened to drive through Burwood for ages after for fear
        the policeman who gave me my license test would get me, because
        the envelope I gave him was empty !

        Thirty shillings was a lot of money to me then...... Anyhow,  an
        empty envelope wasn't dishonest like a bribe - was it!!!

        So I became driver but it wasn't the big buzz I expected so I left.

       * My first delivery job was with American Dry Cleaners in Abercrombie
        St. Chippendale. The owner, Sam, had that shop when I started, but
        branched out while I was there to have several shops and eventually
        set up his own factory at Ashfield. I was delivery driver then for
        runs between his shops and agencies.

        I drove a fairly new (then) FJ Holden panel van with 3 speed column
        change gears.   Very 'spiffy at the time.

        I left there before my work load - and what I considered bad
        organisation made things impossible for me.

                        But I left on good terms with Sam.


        * Armed (and dangerous) with my licence, I landed a job with Marvel
        Laundry at Surry Hills as delivery driver. The head driver Ken, was
        truly 'wild' and I got on very well with him.   Marvel had several
        VW Kombi vans and Ken drove them like Masseratti racers. He was a
        likeable larrikin too.

        I had a pretty big run which involved pick up and delivery to quite
        a few hotels, units and restaurants around Kings Cross, Potts Point,
        Rushcutters Bay and as far as Coogee and Maroubra beaches.

        At times I would do 'specials' to some of the poshest restaurants
        and night clubs around Sydney and Kings Cross.

        I learned first hand what I HADN'T been missing by not eating at
        them. I saw bigger cockroaches than they had at the brewery in some.

        I dont remember why I left but I know I was asked to stay.


       * I applied for and got a job at Hercules Motors in MacQuarrie street
        in the spare parts. My duties were picking orders. I learned to play
        table tennis here but not much else. They were Daimler, Bentley  and
        Bradford dealers. I think my competitiveness at table tennis at the
        social club, led to my downfall there because no one told me I
        wasn't supposed to try.

                It was a pretty unexciting place to work anyway.


       * My next job was assistant storeman at Smith Copeland, Regent Street.

        My duties were in the stores (they carried all camping gear and
        made a lot of tents, canvas water bottles, beach umbrellas, car
        covers , tarpaulins etc.).

        Frank was the head storeman and we got on well.

        Sometimes I was called upon to help in despatch.  Frank left
        and I was promoted to head storeman ( 17 year old ).  It was the
        first time I had been given real responsibility and I made good

        I also learned to play darts from this very good player who worked
        there called Harry Stopford. I gave notice because with all that 
        was expected of me, I was still paid less than outside ordinary 
        store staff and I didn't think it fair.

        When I gave notice they offered me more money but I had already
        arranged another job to start.

        I only realised years later that the reference they gave me stated
        that I was "assistant storeman" and I guessed it was their way of
        getting back at me for not accepting their request for me to stay.


       * I started with Bayer McDonald and Day as storeman and ended up as
        just about everything to do with stores, dispatch, traded in machine
        reconditioner and general left hand man.   Mr Cec Rushton  started
        me and later when he left, my new boss was Mr Col Robinson - the best
        boss I'd ever had and the nicest bloke you could wish to meet.

        I attained the most trusted position I had had to date and the best
        paid too.

        I left only because mum and dad moved from Chippendale to Milperra
        and the travel wore me down after many months. When Col Robinson
        left there, I did at the same time.

        I always wondered what happened to Col.

       * A man who used to deal with Bayer McDonald & Day By the name of
        Harry (I think that was his name) had a business called Monarch
        Refrigeration at Leichhardt and asked me if I would like to learn 
        the game.  My dad was desperate for me to learn a trade... and 
        with this in mind, I took the job and learned quite a bit about 
        refrigeration. But the travel from Milperra got me down after 
        about 10 months, so I left there too.

  ***** We had previously moved to Milperra Bridge in 1957 - the same year
        they renamed the suburb of Herne Bay to Riverwood (?).

       * I took the first local job I could find then to save the travel.
        It was as a dock hand at a milk depot on Canterbury Road, Bankstown.

        I think it was Dairy Farmers. It was shift work. We started at one
        minute past midnight so they could dodge the award that said if your
        shift went from one day to the next you were entitled to a penalty
        rate of an extra couple of shillings.

        We worked off a ramp, loading the area milk deliverers from the cold

        First thing on a shift, we would unload the semi trailers from the
        city into the stores. Then we would clean up & hose down the ramps &
        concrete areas. If we got through this quickly, we could have a rest
        (it was heavy work) and just what I wanted for fitness.

        About 3.30am the milko's would start arriving and we would fill
        their orders and help load them up to keep them moving.

        You could drink all the milk you wanted but it soon turned you off
        milk and I reckon that's how it works in most food places.. We would
        "try" any new products, but on a share basis, as we couldn't usually
        stomach even a whole small carton without feeling like throwing up.

        I only did 7 months there because my social life was thrown out and
        it was seven days of rotating shifts.

        Football suffered too.  I still can remember the cold nights, the
        colder rooms and crates, and the loud din of the rattling steel and
        bottles mingled with the screech of the metal on metal, as the
        stacked crates were dragged around the floors and ramps.

        I remember I was tired all the time because I often went to work
        after a night out or went straight from work to football .

       *next (yep...I'm still searching for the "right" job)
        I started work with Steve Koltai....who was my local service station a truck driver.  A complicated set up for my earnings
        here made it my first commission only job.  I did well at this and
        was quite happy until the work dried up (1961 downturn).


       * Next I took a job with Powerplus at Bankstown, as stores controller.

        Fancy name for the job - which consisted simply of maintaining stock
        levels, dispatch of orders and getting together with the factory
        manager to work out my guess of what was needed over the next week
        to maintain the flow, so he could make it for me.

        It was a lot more responsible than I saw it as at the time and
        although I didn't get too excited about the job, I was treated
        with great respect from management down.

        When I left after about 8 months, I was amazed they asked me to
        stay on with more money and even arranged a farewell dinner with
        all the staff, the night I left.

           Funny how you dont see things the way they are sometimes.

       * I wanted a job in the open, so I could improve my fitness and get a
        tan, as working inside all the time wouldn't do either. So I took a
        job as temporary groundsman with Civil Aviation at Bankstown Airport.

        The tan was achievable  OK,  but when I first started, I was told
        by the other "permanent" groundsman I had to slow down, because if
        I was seen working at that pace, they might have to as well.   The
        funny part was I started out half pace - intending to work my speed
        up slowly.

        Well I looked fitter anyway.

        I stayed there until I suffered a back injury and was finally
        dismissed as unfit for the heavy (!!!) work of a groundsman.

              In those days you didn't automatically get a fistful
              of dollars because of injury at work or wrongful
              dismissal. And you had to prove your injury was done
              while engaging in 'proper work practices'. There was
              no chance in my case and there were so many known
              "malingerers" around, I didn't want to cop that label.

              Besides, there was no doubt in my mind I could still
              work and get another job anyway - so on I went.

       * I figured I had no choice but to go back "inside".
         I landed a job with W&J Farm Equipment at Milperra.

        My boss was Jack, a stickler for being addressed as 'Mr.'- which
        didn't sit well with me. Obviously he thought me brash and worthy
        of being shown who was boss - which he did, but I still liked it

        The crew were good to work with and the money was OK.

        My duties were Parts Interpreter, but I also got regular overtime
        running the afternoon orders in the company Ute to Central Railway
        and Mascot Airport.

        I think we put up with each other a lot longer than we should have,
        Jack and I.     He should have sacked me or I should have left.

        One Christmas,  Jack didn't keep a promise he'd made to me the year
        before.  Two years running......on the days of the work Xmas party,
        I had been sent off for the town run, which meant I missed the party.

        I pointed this out to Jack the second time and he promised that next
        Christmas he would get someone else to go, so I could come to the
        party.  When the time came he told me he didn't promise.  I told him
        I would do it, but to make up my pay for when I got back, because
        I wouldn't work for someone who couldn't keep their word.

        When I got back Jack was gone and only my Xmas pay was there.

        The first day after the holiday break, I rang and asked all my
        holiday and severance monies be delivered to my home.

        Jack told me not to be silly but I insisted, so he  sent the money
        to me, but refused me a reference because he was so mad at me.

        I think it was because he had to do the town run for the next week
        until he found someone else and then he had to show them the "ropes"
        for awhile - and that was seemingly beneath him.

        ........."Sorry that didn't slow me Jack!       The next person I
        applied to for  a job  said they knew you well and gave me the job
        mainly because I had put up with you for nearly 3 years!"


       * That started me with Conquip at Parramatta Rd. Auburn. My boss was
        Alan Behn. His brother John was his right hand man. Ed was a local
        and there was Barry also, who I got along with very well.

        My duties were parts interpreting and procurement officer.

        The parts interpreting was familiar enough - the procurement part
        consisted of ensuring that any parts not available and urgently
        needed, were quickly duplicated so that as little time as possible
        was lost with expensive "down time" to all our clients. Imported
        parts took a long time to come from overseas and were very expensive
        if flown in.

        I got this down to a fine art and loved the procurement as it was
        a big challenge not only to achieve, but to do it within the cost
        frame,  so the client paid no more (usually) and my firm could
        still maintain reasonable profit margins.

        Pretty soon I was updating store records with as many alternatives
        as possible.  Many of my contacts & suppliers were given orders to
        to manufacture parts on a fairly regular basis, as they were far
        cheaper than our own factory costs or imports of the same item.

        Big challenge and very interesting and enjoyable - but the base pay
        wasn't that great and I started to realise it, because by this time
        my wife Eleanor was expecting (Raeleen) and I figured I'd better
        start looking for a job with a better income and start showing
        some responsibility, instead of just working at what I liked.

        I got another job and gave notice.

        I remember Alan asking me to stay, then I was called to the general
        managers office (Wilf if I remember correctly) and was offered more
        money to stay, but they didn't match the new job and I preferred to
        move on once I'd started to anyway.

       * East Coast Transport was my next job.

        I saw their ad for the "newly created" position of company purchasing
        officer and stores controller.

        The ad said fully qualified and holding a college certificate for
        purchasing. I could do that I thought but I dont have the required

        Well the money was nearly twice as much as Conquip, so it was worth
        a push.

        When I was interviewed I seemed to get on OK with the 2 men
        questioning me but they were a little put off that I didn't have a

        I had to influence them, so I told them I 'knew' the work but
        if they needed a slip of paper to sway their judgement then I
        apologised for wasting their time.

        It seemed to work  because they agreed that they  thought  much
        expertise went unrecognised in the face of diploma pressure, but
        they said they had other people to interview and would get back to
        me when they  reached a decision.

        And I thought - Oh yeah....heard that one before.

        I found out later they had several certificated men apply but they
        chose me because I seemed the best to set it all up and I was the
        one with the most confidence and experience.

        I did set it all up and cut a lot of costs. I put in a lot of time
        and got paid very well for doing my job. It was while working here
        that our first daughter was born and also we bought our first house
        at 87 Fenwick Street Bankstown. I got our house loan from the same
        bank as the company, only because of my status with East Coast

        Problem was I didn't know the first thing about mortgages, costs,
        legals or stamp duties........ and several weeks after signing the
        house contract, we got a bill for over $1150.oo which had to be
        paid within 6 weeks or we lost the house.  Seeing as the average
        wage was about $60.oo per week and we had to eat and pay our rent
        ....saving $1150 in the next 6 weeks seemed out of the question.

        I was advised to forget the house by a few people.....but the look
        of absolute disappointment on my wife Eleanore's face prompted my
        determination to continue with it.

        From that time forward I guess, whatever my family wanted I took
        as my job to get.

        I worked daily Monday to Friday as purchasing officer, on the
        weekends I mowed lawns....repaired fences, concreted, washed cabs
        and was bouncer at a dance hall. Through the week after work I
        cleaned offices, washed more cabs, worked 2 nights  at the local
        pub and even  did a small milk run one night......but could hardly
        hold my eyes open the next day so I quit.

        I got the extra 1150 dollars....... and promised Eleanor the first
        free weekend that I had we would celebrate,  but I went to bed on
        the Saturday morning and didn't wake up till Sunday afternoon.....
        When I woke I found Eleanor had called a Doctor to me because she 
        couldn't wake me Saturday evening. When he heard what I'd been 
        doing for quite a few weeks he'd told El to let me sleep as I was
        just suffering exhaustion - we celebrated when I woke.........

        I made a few enemies over the three and a half year period I was
        with East Coast Transport and I only learned how treacherous it
        could get after I'd been "ambushed".

        Being in charge of the stores and purchasing AND being a sticker
        for security, I was put under pressure many times for "favours" by
        several people who I considered less than deserving of the position
        they held.

        I drew this to the attention of my immediate superiors without
        mentioning any names, and was told I was dealing correctly with
        the situation and to continue in that direction.

        I should have wondered why they didn't demand names.

        The pressure came to a head a little later when my bosses were
        away in Tasmania attending a Mayne Nickless (parent co.) meeting.

        The person left in charge of the depot, happened to be one of those
        putting pressure on me for a long time and together with another
        "less than worthy" to bolster his courage, approached me late on
        that Friday, when my superiors were in transit and couldn't be
        contacted............... and sacked me on the spot.

        I went home and stewed on it over the weekend and decided we'd sell
        our house and move to Queensland.

        On the following Wednesday, when my bosses returned from Tasmania,
        I rang to speak to them, but I was told they were not there and
        they would be given my message.  The next day I rang again and asked
        the girl (Laureen) had they got the message I'd left and she said
        yes they had. I guess she had to go along with them... it was her job.

        So I realised my sacking had been orchestrated from the top and they
        were not likely to return my call and never did. I also realised that
        several approaches made to me for organising "creative paperwork"
        that I'd refused had probably had a great deal to do with it all.
        Another of life's lessons learned, though I'm still amazed by my naivety 
        with each lesson!
                And that was that.   Queensland was all go.

                        The best way to appreciate your job
                         is to imagine yourself without one.

        It took a great deal longer to settle our house than it did to
         sell it.  Nearly six months in fact.

        I figured I'd better get a job until it settled then.

        So one Monday I made 4 appointments for job interviews through
        that week. By the end of the week I'd had 3 of the jobs offered
        to me.

        One was stores controller at Honeywell Computers at Auburn, one
        with Lane and Bowler at Guildford as Stock Controller and one as
        car salesman with Parnell Motors at Bankstown. 

        I was offered all three!

        I declined the first two because they were key positions and I
        would have let them down by having to leave after a few months
        with our planned move to Queensland.

        I took the car sales job as it was just down the road from where
        we lived and I couldn't see a car salesman leaving later causing
        much drama in a company, as they changed jobs pretty often as it


       * Purnell Motors - working as a car salesman was fulfilment of a dream
        (sort of) from when I was a boy washing cars.

        I knew I could try it out and not particularly cause any disruption
        when I had to leave.

        The people I went to work with were worlds apart from those I had
        been used to working with.  These people were driven entirely by
        ego and a great desire for money and I doubt most would have ever
        contemplated the meaning of career, honesty or principles.

        I found their pace, though frantic, achieved little and they were
        genuinely exhausted at the end of the day.

        I was there three weeks before the end of the month came. My sales
        put me in second place (out of six salesmen), for the number of sales
        made and fourth on commissions made, as I gave more away to buyers get deals.    It came out of my commission mostly but the
        people were happy they bought from me and they sent others to me as

        The boss was quite happy and so was I with the money I had earned.

        The next month I was top salesman by a long shot and top money earner
        to boot. I was quite pleased with myself.  (More than usual anyway.)

        Then the "boss" ( by title only I thought afterwards) called me into
        his office and told me there had been complaints that I was selling
        all the best vehicles and not leaving any good ones for the other
        salesmen to sell - and that's how I was getting the sales!

        He must have asked the others why they were being outsold by an
        amateur.   And this was their excuse...?

        The question was too dumb to dignify with an answer and seeing time
        was near to move to Queensland, I just gave notice and finished on
        the spot.

        I had to call in to pick up some outstanding sales commissions after
        I'd left and each time I went in, the less than worthy manager asked
        me would I come back.  I said I had accepted another job.

        How could I have worked under such a poor manager - even if I
        wasn't moving away from the area?.


        Christmas 1972........... I moved to our new Queensland house
        I drove to Queensland with a loaded trailer and our Labrador dog
        "Scrap" meet the furniture truck and to pave the way for
        Eleanor and make it all as easy as possible for
        them to come to.  Eleanor stayed with her mum and dad at Revesby
        and I remember she would plead with me when I rang her to hurry
        up so she could "escape" her mother, because she was driving her
        mad and she sounded miserable. I was anxious too because not only
        did I miss my family......I missed a good meal too!!!!

        I worked quite a bit on our new house to get it established and did
        nothing else for several months. I noticed the that cars in Qld.
        were a lot dearer than in Sydney.   I'd heard that people were
        bringing cars up and making a profit, so I thought I'd give it a
        go to see how it went until I got a permanent job.

        I flew to Sydney once and caught a bus each other time, brought
        cars back and I sold them in Brisbane.

        I lost on the first one (that "bomb" never made it out of Sydney) 
        but I made money on all the others, but decided I couldn't see this 
        as any sort of a career to pursue, so I went looking hard for a job.


       * J A Graham & Co
        The only position I had seen advertised for a purchasing officer was
        on the northside of Brisbane, at Geebung - a long way to travel by
        local standards but for me it didn't seem so, because I had been
        used to long travel in more congested Sydney - so I applied.

        When I got there for the interview I found that the general manager
        used to work with W&J Farm Equipment as a branch manager at Inverell
        in NSW and although we hadn't met in person, we were quite chummy
        over the phone when I was working at the W&J Farm Equipment spare
        parts store at Milperra.

        I'd given him good service then and especially when it was urgent,
        and I'd make special trips to the rail to help him out. His name
        was Geoff Marshall and he was a very competent and pleasant person.

        We'd got on well and I carried out all his instructions plus done
        much local procurement to the agenda, which speeded up parts
        availability considerably and lowered their costings and repair
        downtimes in most cases.

        After ten months or so our depot was moved to Bellwood St. Darra,
        near the Darra Cement Works.

        I enjoyed my time with Geoff (I think that's how he spelled it) and
        the others I worked with.

        JA  Graham was owned by TJ Watkins Constructions and suffered much
        interference from them.  Thies Bros seemed to have some input as
        well, but the worst was from the team of hired big named advisers,
        who caused great turmoil to the everyday operations of JA Graham.

        I could see the politics of the parent company (Watkins Ltd) being
        very similar to those of East Coast Transport which was owned by
        Mayne Nickless and I resolved not to let them affect me the same
        way as back then.  So I gave notice.

        Quite a few of us left at the same time, including Geoff Marshall.

       * I was approached by a guy I had come to know, from a real estate
        office (Slacks Creek Realty owned by Ted Norton a local identity) 
        to try selling real estate. I thought he was trying to befriend me 
        but as usual, my taking people on face value failed me miserably.

        He told me of the big money that was earned by salesmen last year.

        What he didn't tell me was that there had been a big downturn and
        salesmen were leaving the industry in droves because it was hard
        to survive on commission only.

        So the "friendly" guy was not what he appeared to be.

        Well I thought I'd give it a go. It was February 1974 - just after
        the big Brisbane floods.  So I started. Ted Nortons head office was
        just down the road at the Argonaut Shopping centre, on Kingston Road.

        Our manager was a man by the name of Max, a very hard man to work
        out where you stood with.   Here I met another salesman I was to
        become good friends with.......Gino Giovannangelo.

        With a name like that you're probably asking did he speak English.
        "Better than most people I have met."   And when I met his mum and
        dad (who had real accents) I could see why he spoke such good and
        correct English. His parents were true blue dinki di's and pretty
        well insisted he do everything he could to fit in.

        Great advice for Gino - who was a good ad for their efforts and
        a genuine nice guy.

        I worked hard and "smart" to start with, because I knew this was
        the only way to survive - as many were walking away.

        Max got sick and left. Ted Norton asked me who I thought would make
        a good manager because he knew I'd been in management in the past.

        I told him that I thought this other "friendly guy" was a very good
        salesman and would make a good manager - also I could work under
        him without any problem, but as he'd been there a lot longer than
        me, his nose could be out of joint and he would probably leave if
        he had to work under me.

        He was made manager and immediately became another person.

        He seemed to expect our attitude to him to reflect great respect.
        We treated him with the same respect we'd shown the last manager
        but it didn't seem enough for him. So he got really obnoxious and
        ran to Ted Norton with all sorts of stories about us, some I admit
        were true of us, but mostly it was because of his attitude and his

        We wouldn't cop his moodiness or bad attitude and we certainly
        wouldn't agree to calling him mister when no one else was in the

        The last straw for me was when he told Ted Norton that I must be
        doing deals outside the office on industrial leasings because I put
        so much time into them for so few sales.

        And I did put a lot of time in for a few sales of industrial because
        I was trying to establish our office as a force in that direction,
        especially since we were next door to the industrial estate.

        All up, I was still selling well and the funny thing was -  that
        at the time - I had no idea what "outside dealing" was and the only
        reason I made so few sales of industrial was that I was more keen
        than competent in that field at the time.

        Ted walked straight in and sacked me on the strength of the
        "friendly guy's" story.

        I was shocked. I asked him to call the "friendly guy" in and to get
        him to repeat these allegations but he said he was down at the
        other office (Ted's) doing some work for him.

        I went straight to the other office and fronted the "friendly guy",
        but all I could get from him was "dont hit me or I'll call the
        police" at first........ but I got the apology that I demanded.

        He later left Ted Norton and I heard that he somehow did the "dirty"
        on Ted.  Ted told me years later at one of his office's parties that
        he invited me to, how he was sorry for what he did to me and how the 
        "friendly guy" he'd trusted so much had done the dirty on him.

        I reminded Ted how much damage he had done to me when he sacked me
        on the word of this same bloke. I guess I was less than accepting of
        his noted repentance and apology because of that.

        I was glad to hear Ted's apology though - it was made in front of 
        several people.


       * I went to work with Ron Dunlop at Dunlop Realty - Daisy Hill.

        This was a much smoother and dignified operation and in a more
        upmarket area.

        I did well - by this time we lived at Tanah Merah at 46 Leslie Pde.

        While I was there I refined my approach to the real estate industry.

        Many of the policies I implemented later in my own offices were
        adopted from or modified from those I worked under at Ron Dunlop's.

        I became quite relaxed there and this could have contributed greatly
        to my later good results.

        I observed the methods used by Ron and was particularly impressed by
        his father, who had probably been a big influence on the younger Ron.

        I had many long talks with "Daddy Dunlop" on the odd time he dropped
        in for a visit and he was always willing to pass on any tips.

        One day he just happened to make a passing comment that stuck with
        me from then on. " You don't make fortunes selling real estate,
        only by grasping the opportunities it presents to you."

        So I got into investment opportunities in earnest. I also invested in
        a Bobcat and truck for my wife's brother to operate. This was started 
        while working with Ron Dunlop and my builders contacts ensured
        ongoing work for it. 

        I had been asked several times by a builder to come and work for
        him  as his sales manager selling his new homes and it seemed
        the thing to do going forward at the time. 


       * The Bobcat Business -  My brother in law moved up from Sydney and
        was looking for a house as cheaply as he could get.  A highset
        brick/tiled house came on the market at Loganholme that was very
        cheap (under $20,000) and on half an acre. I got the house and
        the loan for him but I fell out with a salesman I worked with at
        Dunlop Realty, because he had tried to buy it out from under me
        and I made sure I got in first for my wife's brother.

        My brother in law didn't have a job, so having some spare cash, I
        bought an old bobcat and then an old truck and he operated it .

        I knew quite a few builders and pretty soon the bobcat business
        was flying along and I often drove it to give my  brother-in-law
        a rest.

        He was happy which made my wife happy and best of all - I was left
        in peace to carry on with other investment activities .


       * And so I went to work for Merv Costello Homes as sales manager.

        I not only earned good money there, but I had a lot of freedom.

        I also got brother-in-law more work than he could handle with the

        And when he'd had enough of the bobcat, I got him a job with the
        company as supply driver, on a pretty good income and allowances.

        When I started  with Merv Costello Homes they were building one
        house every two weeks and the target for me to  achieve was set at
        one per week within 12 to 18 months.

        I reached my target within 7 months.  Merv was a very clever person
        with a builders license and a diploma in business, so he knew how to
        achieve - ON PAPER.  I noticed that supply was stretching badly and
        clients that I had confidently predicted completion to (as had
        been done before) were being let down and I drew this to Merv's

        Despite Merv's brilliance in business, he wasn't up with human
        nature and put too much store in what people said. In fact, Merv's
        poor judgement of people was nearly as bad as I know mine is.

        Merv said he would fix it and told me I was to shoot for 2 per week
        in sales within the next six months, but nothing got better - in
        fact it seemed to slow even more.

        I told Merv of a block of land at Marsden in a prominent position
        that we should buy and build two offices, real estate for me and a
        builders office.  I could run the real estate and use the manpower
        to man the builders office and make the sales from both.

        He said go ahead and buy it and he would come into the deal with
        me later because his money was "locked in " at the moment.

        That being Mervs usual way of operating, I went ahead and bought
        the land and got plans approved (it wasn't THAT simple, but that's
        what I basically  did).   After I was committed to the project,
        I found out Merv wasn't coming in to the deal, so I was alone and
        short of funds.

        So I borrowed and completed the project myself. I left Merv first.

        Even then he never paid me some money he owed me - and although I
        won a court decision, I never did recover it because he went out
        of business. Not because he wasn't capable - mainly because he was
        too trusting of the wrong people.

        A likeable bloke Merv just the same. I often wonder what happened 
        to him.


       * Southern Realty - was started in 1976 and I had a pretty  lean time
        to begin with. The council gave me nightmares with all their demands
        and I didn't have enough money to employ tradesmen, so a lot of the
        building work that didn't require a tradesman to do, I did myself.

        Even so, I had paid a builder a small amount of money to 'sign &
        supervise only' - and I arranged everything, the brickies, plumber,
        drainer, electrician etc., so I did quite a bit with them too.

        What I had learned with Merv Costello Homes made this fairly easy,
        but doing it on the shoestring budget complicated things greatly.

        On opening, I couldn't afford concrete for the driveway or carpet
        inside - and many times in the first year I remember closing the
        driveway entry and stopping customers coming in, because cars
        would have bogged if I hadn't done so.

        But it finally got finished and was a very good earner both as a
        real estate office and rental income property.

        From the humble beginning of two offices, I added four more - only
        after more battles with council.  Then I extended our office in the
        opposite direction after even more council negativity and finally
        had plans approved for rear extensions that doubled the then present

        I sold the Southern Realty business in October 1983. They changed 
        it to an LJ Hooker franchised office.

        12 months later I sold the freehold, which financed our move to our 
        dream Sunshine Coast farm at Eumundi.

        I put in a lot of hard work and long hours into my Southern Realty 
        venture and took a lot of investment risks, all of which didn't pan
        out as I planned, but showed good returns overall and laid the ground
        for my retirement in 1983 at the age of 44.  The trigger was being 
        able to afford the farm we bought at Eerwahvale (Eumundi) and move
        there for a better lifestyle for the family - free and clear of debt.

        I met many good people with Southern Realty and learned a great deal
        about business and indeed human nature and life itself. I had some 
        friendships there which seemed to fizzle out after I moved away,           
        probably due to the distance and fact I was no longer a local 
        or working in the same circle as before. The old enemy - distance!    
           In 1985 we moved to Eumundi

        After The move to Eumundi and finishing our house, I decided to
        "test the water" in local real estate. I didn't want to get back
        into it full time, but as El and I both had real estate licenses, 
        I wanted to see if I could have them working again instead idle
        and costing money.

        So I put several ads in the local paper calling for interest
        in opening an office.   All sorts of people, along with a liberal
        sprinkling of weirdo's answering the ads, with many shady & way out
        propositions being put - which I hadn't expected but had to deal 
        with in as diplomatic a way as possible.

        One applicant was a woman who sounded very naive compared to some
        of the other more harebrained types. She  said she was enquiring
        on behalf of her and her husband. She rang several times, but
        never her husband. I wasn't to know her husband was recovering
        from a breakdown problems and she was shielding him from any 

        I thought they were the best.  I knew I wouldn't do the wrong
        thing by them and I thought they appeared the least "threatening" 
        compared to some other "applicants".

        And they turned out to be the best choice and nicest people I
        could have selected.
       * We started up our relationship and opened an office. It was called
        Future Queensland Real Estate at Cooran, Qld.

        It was a bit too quiet out there at the time so we moved it to 25
        Factory St Pomona (I think that was the street number), next to the 
        service station there and a much better operation.            

        This building was very old and very large. The rent was low, as
        the landlords did no work on it, we had to fix up the front and
        a small section for our use.

        Along the way over the next six odd years we worked together, we
        both learned many of the lessons that the business of "selling"
        has to offer for the unsuspecting "rurals" we all were.

        That's why I came to buy 7 and 9 Factory Street Pomona. So we had
        our "business position protection". It was 3 old cottages built 
        from the old hotel there that was damaged by fire many years 
        earlier and I spent months bringing them up to scratch for our
        use and for rental. The local Noosa council turned out to be very
        unhelpful (aren't most of them) and only granted the required
        permissions after I gave them a sizable chunk of my land. A price all
        businesses and developers must pay for for these elected bodies to 
        maintain themselves in the manner they set for themselves.

        Once, when heart trouble hit my new friends, they came to me and said
        they were giving the office up because he was in hospital and may
        have to have an operation and would be off for some time and they
        wouldn't be able to handle the office.

        It was an honesty born out of their frustration, so I said not to
        worry, that I would run it for free until all was Ok.

        And I did.

        Another time they came to me and said they had financial problems
        and the bank was giving them a bad time. The lady was stressed to
        to the limits and said they could lose everything.

        I loaned them money for several months so they could escape the
        pressure long enough to recover - which they eventually did.

        What are friends for............ that was the regard I had for
        my new partners.  And they were very successful then.

        I helped the man get his real estate licence too - not because
        I am such a great guy (yes I am!) but because some people deserve
        more than the hand life is dealing them.

        In 1993 my wife was diagnosed with cancer.  We got the news on the
        Friday morning and I advised I was pulling out of the office in
        the afternoon.  I sold the office to my friend for one dollar and
        the furniture etc for its written down tax value.  This involved
        no solicitor charges or stamps duty and was legally completed in
        36 hours......... and saved thousands all up in fees & costs for 
        my friend.
        Quick, clean and without the usual "fingers in the pie" that seems
        mandatory to do anything legally these days.  My friend seemed to
        be delighted with the savings and outcome.

        Anyone who may have had someone close that they love suddenly
        diagnosed with cancer, will understand my motivation for this.

        I hope my ex partners come to appreciate the value I was to the
        success the office and them while I was there, as much as I did 
        their substantial and positive efforts while I was there.

        Meanwhile, I really do wish them well, and I will always look back
        with fond memories of my Future Queensland Real Estate episode.


        Because my other disapointments and ever fresh memories of "life's
        boot" that I seem to have copped,  I've had little or no interest
        in anything......and I haven't worked since the 30th June 1993 - I
        had no stomach for dealing with people and putting on a brave face.
        All my impetus was generated because of my family and I had no 
        further interest or need to continue

        My wife passed away June 1997 and is buried at Eumundi cemetery
        with our (19 year old) eldest daughter, who we lost in 1989.

            I loved them both too dearly not to be affected.


        I am now officially retired - but would like to go back to work if
        only for the social contact that working generates. Trouble is, who
        wants to employ a "wrinkley" these days"?  I'm not the only one with 
        heaps of experience who's written off and considered useless in 
        today's job market, despite the abundance of experience and know how.

        Never mind ... I'll know better next time! (Reincarnation perhaps?)

         A good word "Retired" (re-tired) - it's like being tired twice... 
                    first - tired of working, then tired of not.

©Ted Middleton 1999.

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