Keith Simpson-Lyttle

 
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When I look at some of the recollections of others I wonder if I went to the same school. I have virtually no recollections of that august institution in which I spent 5 of my formative years. I remember 3 friends David Peterson, Russel Moors and James O'Neil, another schoolmate I met briefly in PNG - Bruce Rudd, and one teacher Mr Wilkinson who I last saw about a year ago, frail but with his mental faculties intact. Formidable looking but after getting to know him in his latter years a good heart.

My life story is boring compared to others I have read but still there are many stories especially in the younger years

After high school I was a reluctant Uni student doing Applied Chem at Uni of NSW - having won a Commonwealth Scholarship it was expected. It is only now that I realise how hard it was for my mother, a single parent to support me. Having failed second year I won a cadetship with ICI explosives group . 8 months later I left without telling my mother or my boss and absconded on a push bike with ten pounds and all my worldly on my back. Cycled down to Melbourne (August mind you COLD) then to Swan Hill where my money ran low and the bike required repair. Worked on the GEM in the folk museum, caulking painting replacing timbers etc and also on a fruit block living in a hike tent. Built two canoes but the mate who started down the river with me gave up at Robinvale. Got as far as Berri when I tried unsuccessfully to cash a pay cheque. Picked strawberries, mustered cattle and worked at a servo in Loxton before becoming a "dirt doctor at the highways lab in Loxton.

Built some more canoes and a self designed keel sail boat . Left abruptly (without telling anyone) with all my worldly in a Morris minor. went to Tasmania worked for PWD in Hobart & Launceston labs & hiked up and down the undulations (fell in love with Frenchman's cap) built a canoe and paddled in bass Strait and down the Derwent, Left again abruptly and went to WA (a few stories missed out) worked for Main Roads in WA in Perth & Port Hedland (lots of stories). The only place I was sacked. Bought a Jawa175cc mBike with agricultural gearing toddled around Albany etc then to SA. Drove to Adelaide at 45mph max (more stories). worked for Dept of Agriculture Then got a job with Comworks in PNG. Rode the Jawa (with all my worldly on the back) to Sydney. Then to Port Moresby soils lab Worked on Sirinimu dam met my present wife, a Papuan lass from western province (lots & lots of stories) Went with all my worldly (wife 2 kids car m/bike & furniture) in a DC3 to Goroka . Worked at Ramu then Nadzab with Hyundai contractors. Arrived back in Sydney on 11/11/'75 3Ĺ kids. Up to Darwin in 76 with wife and kids in Adelaide Drove down to see them on 350cc Jawa (more stories). Moved back to Adelaide now with 4 kids and working for Highways Dept (where I am still - Department has had several name changes) My time in Port Augusta was memorable Up & down the Stuart Highway amongst other things.

A memorable trip to PNG returning with family across Torres Strait in a dingy. Other memorable trips - like to Uluru and back in the Vannette, stuck between William creek & Maree. My wife with essentially primary school education, managed to get an associate diploma and has worked a year with the Tiwi (Bathurst & Melville Island) - I looked after the kids, 18 months as manager of the Aboriginal health service at CooberPedy 18months in Cairns partly as executive officer indigenous consortium for emotional and social health and well being, and now in Berri as a social worker. We have not seen much of each other since 1997! The last 4 years I have looked after my mother, who had a stroke, while attempting to work and intermittently look after no 5 child Lili who is almost 9. I have two daughters married and 3 grandchildren the eldest only 6 months younger than Lili. To complete the picture a 31 year old unmarried son and a surfie daughter at 27 also unmarried. I was involved with Boys Brigade for just under 20 years, giving up when my responsibilities to my mother intruded. I have also been involved in the local Interchurch council, My work is wonderful and different -generically called "optical testing - I test everything you can see on the road. Street lighting, traffic signals, road signs, pavement markings, guide posts car lights, windscreen testing , safety clothing rego stickers numberplates and lots of oddball things. I have been known to say I would come to work even if I was not paid. And that leads to another lot of stories - however.

I own no vehicles yet I have been known to grow the most beautiful mechanical masterpieces(4 at one stage) known as CitroŽns. I ride my daughter's motorbike which I have taken to Sydney & back twice - A Honda VT250 almost all gaffer tape now.