|Click on an image for a larger view|
For some reason High School didn’t suit me well despite a reasonably impressive start at Willoughby primary. On reflection I was not self motivated enough nor mature enough to resist the distraction of girls cigarettes and booze. Strangely, nor did it suit my eldest son who tried 1st year before returning to the disciplines of Sydney Grammar and the company of his brother.
It obviously suited most others however whose biographies I have enjoyed thoroughly and who have become leaders in their fields or at least enjoyed a rich life.
My leaving certificate took a year of evening college and a day job at Clarke & Walker (across the road from school) learning about building materials and plumbers fittings but my future lay in the excitement of Sydney’s waterfront and the wonderful aromas of old bond stores ,a mixture of musk, sweat and rum barrels.
Lep Transport was an european freight forwarder which had established a customs agency in Young St where the AMP centre stands today opposite the customs house and my job was to attend to customs formalities around the waterfront, open cases for inspection and negotiate reams of paperwork.
Clients were importers of all manner of fascinating machinery, electronics, chemicals, apparel, musical and scientific instruments, cosmetics and footwear. It was an insight into almost every industry especially the beginnings of containerization and television.
The head office in London offered a chance to see the world and meet a like minded german who would become the CEO of Lep in Sydney some years later and ultimately a business partner in a freight forwarding business. On the ship across I also met a girl who would become my wife four years later and mother of two strapping sons and a gorgeous daughter.
Funds ran out at a time when I was dating the secretary of the CEO of Lambretta UK They wanted to open a branch in Australia with a new model called Vega so I suggested they sponsor me and two mates to ride overland to Sydney in return for free bikes, petrol and service along the way. They would have publicity rights.
None of us had ridden before let alone have licences but with the help of two lovely girls who carried our gear in their minivan we made it to Turkey after which they turned back and we were on our own through Iran Afghanistan and India from where we flew to Perth and finally the Nullabor.
Arriving home in 1970,I took a position with a german Customs & Forwarding company and four years later launched into business with an Australian partner ten years my senior. Connor Anderson International Pl was born. The partnership lasted thirteen years with forty staff between Sydney and Melbourne and ended in 1987 with the purchase of my partners shares.
During these years we developed specialized software (Expedite Pl) which we marketed to the industry and launched a newsletter service( Professional Newsletter Services Pl) which we also sold through the industry.
Flying solo now I was able to establish an international freight forwarding network (International Cargo Express Pl) with my german friend from London days and my childhood mate(from North Sydney Tech) who worked in the same industry and shared the vision.
With another mate working at Coopers & Lybrand at the time we established an indirect tax consultancy(Connor Anderson Fraser Pl) specializing in duty concessions, sales tax and the Administrative Appeals Tribunal. It was always fun pitting your wits against the customs and tax departments in an advocacy role on behalf of clients who wanted to challenge the classification, valuation or rate applicable to their products, a challenge which could mean tens of thousands to their bottom line I was for a time consulting with the Law Reform commission in their review of customs legislation.
During these years I served as legislation director, education director, state and federal president of representative industry body known today as the Customs Brokers and Forwarders Council of Australia which required liaison with various government departments involved with international trade and of course politicians.
Retirement came in 1997 with a management buy out by three directors two of whom had served with me since inception and the third for ten years.
Now was the time join a golf club, join a rotary club and buy a share in a yacht but first, to honor the centenary of the industry body in 2004 an historical tome must be produced by someone with spare time complete with images and contributions from all trade participants. In all 450 pages and 600 images. It took two years and saintly patience from my wife Meg.
I still enjoy rotary projects especially working with indigenous medical students and currently with government establishing a mentoring scheme for prospective business and professional enterprise. Last year I returned to NSBHS for a rotary project to mentor year 11 students in a business simulation. It was a strange experience
For brain food I am enjoying courses in french, share trading, writing, chess and computers and for exercise skiing, golf (badly), tennis, sailing, and walking.
On reflection, I can’t say I remember too much about teachers nor school events but hopefully with a good red and your company one day the fog will clear.