I have fond memories of my time as a student at Brighton High School, as it was then known. Several lifelong friendships were forged at BHS.
PE was my favourite subject, I loved trying the wide range of sports that BHS offered and managed to make the school swimming, cross country and hockey teams. I sang in the BHS school choir and the chorus of the annual BHS Gilbert and Sullivan production. The musical was the highlight of the school year, and the party following the last performance was legendary.
I could never have imagined that in the 40 years since achieving average Higher School Certificate marks in 1980, I would have forged a career in the Victorian Government and be awarded a Public Service Medal for my work in helping people to recover from disasters.
When I was 25 I travelled to four continents, including many developing countries and some very remote places. Six months employment in a fish factory in Iceland provided more funds to keep travelling. My passion for travel turned into my vocation – after I returned home I began a career in the travel industry. When I was retrenched and my travel career was curtailed by the 1989 pilots’ strike.
When I secured a clerical role in the Victorian Government’s Ministry for the Arts I had no idea that this would be the beginning of a rewarding 30 year career in the Victorian Public Service.
The highlights of my public service career have included travelling across Victoria to assist local community development projects, and travelling to Timor Leste in 2000 to develop assistance programs. More recently I have been working in an executive role to support recovery from disasters, and am currently helping with bushfire recovery.
My greatest career highlight has been to help communities in Sri Lanka and the Maldives to recover from the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. I spent eight years working with dedicated local and Victorian specialists to deliver housing, health, education and livlihoods programs. I was awarded the Public Service Medal in the 2012 Australia Day Honours for this work.
During this time I gained a Masters in International Development, graduating with distinction in 2007.
Travel is still a passion and I take every opportunity to discover new and special places. I am lucky to have a group of friends who share my two interests of travel and bicycle riding. Every two years we meet to explore a different country by bicycle. Our last expedition was to Montenegro, a bike rider’s paradise with quiet roads, great natural beauty and warm-hearted people. Our next destination is Japan in the cherry blossom season.