life's journey- Australia

imageMelbourne - The Early Years.

A month after birth I arrive at my home for the next 15 years Black Rock, Victoria. A suburb on the coast of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Australia .
An attendee of Black Rock Primary School my long blond hair was removed by force when I was sent to Mentone Boys Grammar School (MBGS)
Why? Well in their infinite wisdom this "school" decided that it was advisable to implement a short hair policy when long hair was in!! Which meant that any "Grammar Grub" could be easily identified even after school!!
It also decided that competative sport should be encourage to the detriment of all who have no talent (me) but would love to participate! We were reduced to orange boys and line umpires! MBGS was representative of the worst of private schools failing to encourage free thinking or individual development.
My sons (if I ever have any) will never be subjected to such treatment. Highlights: Near expulsion for refusing to participate in religious activities (several times). Failing to get the school to allow soccer to be played as a participation sport (the school felt that this may impare its Australian Rules Football team).

One ski at 10 ... brings back memories of many Christmas holidays at Lake Boga (near Swan Hill) in Victoria. Christmas in Australia is in Summer. I particularly remember running around in my bare feet and speedos trying not to get my feet burned on the hot ground but being able to see Santa Claus arrive on the tractor.

I remember having a few crushes on girls at school or my sisters friends.
But the love of my early years was Mandy McKinlay I remember the summer holiday at "the farm" where I started my road to becoming a vegetarian and found out yes I was interested in girls (ie Mandy) I was 14 I believe. I had a crush on her until she moved away when I was 18. She never knew.

By the time I was 16 I had disappeared into my own world. I did not talk to anyone outside of my school except for adults. I would generally disappear into my room and watch TV. I was shy and extremely good. This was mainly due to my rather large nose. It had been broken when I was very young and they could not repair it until I was at least 16. I figured the day it was repaired my life would change. My nickname at school was "noz" and on several occasions people would lean out the bus/train and say "check out the nose on it". I wish I would have been strong enough to ignore that but I wasn't. It was fixed two months after I turned 16. Did I suddenly come out of my shell? Of course not.

I was not a great student at school I spent a lot of time in trouble. Although outside of school I was reserved in school I like to challenge perceived norms. Especially attendence at church and being forced to play sports I had no talent at. But I did graduate much to the pleasure of my father. I was actuactually the first in my family to do so. I did get into University although my father was often to say "why don't you go out and get a real job". He was not a nice person then . Now he is delightful ... people do change.

I enrolled in a B.Sc at Monash University in Melbourne where I was majoring in Physics, Maths and this new subject Computer Science.
I spent six months living at home and travelling by train to University.
I chose a car a yellow Ford Escort and took my drivers test and failed!!
Why? Because it was the coldest day in Melbourne for 20 years!
That one fact changed my life COMPLETELY!
I was so disheartened that I did not get the car I bought a bicycle instead told my parents I was moving out of home (to their shock) and moved into college. It would be another 3 years before I would actually get my drivers license.
I had moved into Richardson Hall I knew no-one, and I was shy. But I had a bicycle. One-day I saw an ad for a bicycle trip organised by "Friends of the Earth" I met a lot of people on that trip and became politically active. At the beginning of the next year I moved to Howitt Hall. And in doing that my whole life changed very rapidly. I met Karen. Within 3 months I was Vice-President and within 8 months President of the College Society. I was on several college, union and university committees.
I was involved in various environmental societies and left wing political groups.

But guess what!! My degree was going to pot! So pretty soon I actually started cutting down on the commitees and working a little harder. I first attempted to drop Physics and concentrate on Computer Science.
After trying to swap to Life Science and Physcology and not succeeding a strange twist of fate landed me back in Physics and I ended up President of the Physics Society and graduating with first class honours and top of my very small class (it was a poor quality year I must admit).

After graduation it was off to Sydney ..

Sydney 1984 - 1990

To me moving to Sydney was like moving to a different world. I didn't know the street names or even the suburb names. The newscaster was different. They even played a different style of football... Rugby! To me this was the big adventure little would I know that this would be but a small stepping stone in a long journey. The journey of life.

I started my Postgraduate studies full of enthusiasm but not full of confidence. I should have known that all was not well. I was not getting any supervision and after one year my project was change completely. Unfortunately it was into an area in which my supervisor had no expertise and only a fleetiing interest. My lack of confidence did not allow me to challenge that decision nor take control of it and turn it around.
Karen and I moved into Wesley College after the first year and I became the Computer Science tutor of all things. We had lots of fun with the students .. walk about ...ponding ... formal balls in the Sydney Opera House and informal "Bondage" balls and copious amounts of alcohol ... we tried to be responsible after all we were tutors. In addition I had taken up Hang-gliding and Karen bought the worst horse in existence "Khy"!

After a couple of years that became old and we moved back to North Ryde. Karen accepted a postgraduate scholarship in Canberra .. and we soon drifted apart and moved on with our lives. Long distance realationship don't tend to work for long.

I concentrated on my obsession at the time ... don't laugh ... aerobics. I would do aerobics 6 days a week and dancing on Thursdays at the Great Northern Hotel in Chatswood .. a 70s coverband I believe. I met Dorota in aerobics but really I had set my sites on Europe. Altough I was chasing a scholarship to Switzerland I ended up accepting one to Germany. Originally to Hanover but after being told it was boring I changed it to Hamburg.
But first I had to refresh my High school german in Goettingen!

Copyright 2005 Dave Matthews