John Holmes

Click on an image for a larger view

Well where to begin.

Left NSBHS and did Science at Sydney, part time at the end.

Got a job in CSR playing with quality control on sugar.

Really bored out of my tree, so I got a job with an engineering company designing and selling LP Gas and Ammonia plant at various places around the country. It was good fun and there was some travel. I have since become an inveterate traveller.

Back into the chemical industry with Union Carbide, mainly in the phenolic resin area and then on to Tassie flogging imports for Swift and Co Trading.

Joined the Government (then the Office of the Commissioner of Trade Practices) in Canberra in 1974, I was never too sure why they wanted a chemist but I guess Government is a broad church. I think they wanted ICI for something, but I never did find out what. Later on I did have a joust with them over resale maintenance on swimming pool chemicals.

Started a little air charter company on the side whilst in Canberra, actually it sort of grew out of a hobby. I had picked up a commercial pilot licence/instrument rating somewhere along the way. Then one morning on the way to the airport I met a drunken sailor heading home from a good night out which sort of re-focussed me on the government job.

Over the years I guess I became a bit of a bush lawyer and had a very enjoyable stint in Sydney during which I had a bit of a go at Commodore remember the old Amiga computer, gosh my age is showing, and for a while held the record for the highest penalty to date. Also worked on the Australian Meat Holdings case, which I think really changed the attitude of the whole organisation. I think we had a bit of an inferiority complex, somehow I think we were a little afraid of the four-barrelled law firms until then. For me it started with a phone call at home at about 4.30am on a long weekend. We had the office up and running by 7am, the crew from Canberra arrived by 7.30, there was a draft affidavit by 8.30, a final by 9, and we were in chambers (Wilcox J) by 10.30. It stopped about six months later.

After a brief return to Canberra I headed off to Townsville. I worked for Sen the Hon Bob Collins briefly as a ministerial adviser then back to the circus where I happened upon several major insurers including Colonial Mutual selling "life insurance", "savings plans" and superannuation in Aboriginal communities in North Queensland and the Northern Territory. Whilst my statements were occasionally signed with a thumb-print the "insurance proposals" were commonly signed in a firmer (and sometimes peculiarly similar) hand.

Faced with the prospect of returning to Canberra I took the money and ran.

I worked in the NSW Ombudsman's office in Sydney for a while, wading through the jungle of papers relating to the ill-fated HomeFund Scheme for the Parliamentary Select Committee enquiry and later I spent a little time looking at a few of the seamier aspects of the Police Service that had evolved from the Rum Corps.

Then I decided enough was enough and settled back in Canberra which is by far the most liveable city in the world where I wait in hope for global warming to create a water front and warmer climate.