Robert Ferguson

 
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I came to North Sydney with the Roseville contingent and had the same sort of happy love-hate relationship with the school that most of us seem to remember. After the Intermediate I went on to do my last two years at Knox which I found somewhat of a pastoral idyll after the regimented pressure cooker atmosphere of North Sydney. There seemed to be no need for the swaggering cane-wielding behaviour that certain Falcon Street figures appeared to feel necessary to keep a lid on our potentially rebellious nature.

After the Leaving I went on to Sydney University to study dentistry along with John Ball and his nippy little TR4. I did some tutoring at uni and then sailed off for the obligatory stint in the UK ending up in a North Wales village where English was just a rarely heard second language. On my return to Oz I went back to a little part time uni work as well as practising in the city in the old T&G building, a grand old Sydney landmark on the outside but infested with cockroaches on the inside. It was a real art averting the patientís head from the rather unprofessional sight of a family of cockies scuttling across a tray of sterile instruments. The final cockroach crunch came at the end of 1974 when the building was condemned and I moved to a family practice in Wahroonga where I found great satisfaction and enjoyment until my eventual retirement.

I have led an oft-derided conventional John-Howard-endorsed-little-white-picket-fence-with-FJ-in-the-drive type of life: wife, four kids, nine grandchildren and a dog, church, Rotary, Welsh choral singing, a little cottage in the mountains. I continue to struggle with the frustration of golf, write the odd line of poetry, deliver the occasional, even odder, speech and take far too many photographs.

My only glimmer of fame has been to do an inadvertent de Groot on Lady Hasluck, the G-G's wife, by unwittingly receiving the first standing ovation at the Opera House that had been intended for her. In an otherwise limelight free life I have been dining out on the story since 1973. Facts and figures: Wife: Cecile, a retired research economist turned disability consultant. Children (as of 2011): Iain, 40, chartered accountant; Don, 39, director of public service department; Katrina, 36, special ed. teacher; Ilona, 33, occupational therapist; nine exhausting lovely grandchildren.