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I started NSBHS in 1957 with all you other guys with a relatively low I.Q. of 132. Someone in administration made the mistake of putting me in 1A where in the end of year exams I scored 74 for Latin and 77 for MathsII, putting me second last in each subject to Ronny Corlett, who couldn't spell !!
I quickly graduated to class 2E and stayed there (E class) until fourth year when I discovered malibus and Newport and Bungan beaches. This was much more exciting than oompah, oompah, wack it up your joompah, Bismark coral and gold and yakenomics. It was subsequently decided that as I was a January 1945 baby, and as I could hang ten better than add up to ten, that I should revisit fourth year. So unlike you other guys I spent an extra year in Falcon street and was bored to tears. I found myself clutching my leaving Certificate at Gore Hill Tech accountancy class.
In 1966 became a Medical Detailer with Wyeth pharmaceuticals, their youngest ever. Quit in October 67 as the travel bug hit me and left on the Fairstar for London. Female to male ratio was 50 to 1, so I was 'entertained' regularly on the trip. Had some incredible adventures in Curacao and Panama City (unprintable).
Arrived Southhampton 5:30 pm Thursday 30.11.67 and was the only one refused an entry visa. My passport was taken by Immigration and I was locked in the brig for two days. It was headlines in Australia and England and the Sunday Express and Lord Clifford Chudley took up my case with the Home Office. The Lord compared my right to seek employment in England with Dame Nellie Melba. Two days later I was released without explanation and driven to London by an attractive female reporter. I was interviewed and wined and dined by the Express and ate my last T-bone for many moons. Front page of the Dec 3rd Sunday Express stated that "Mr Watkins, a drugs firm representative of Chatswood Sydney was released suddenly."
I worked in London Zoo for a week and then for the remainder of my time in Carnaby Street where I met members of The Stones, BG's, Beatles, Clapton's Cream etc etc. Did the Europe trip in a ten quid van with no reverse or first gear!! Worked in Switzerland in a ski lodge and lazed on the Costa Del Sol. Hit a Police car one night and escaped by hitching to Algeceiras. On the way met Lew Hoad in a bank in Toledo and had a few beers and dried octopus with him (RIP). Almost died later from drinking Spanish water and flew out from Gibraltar in dreadful weather to free medical in London. Did odd jobs in London and emigrated to Canada. Was accepted and flew Icelandic Airways to Iceland and New York. Rejected by Canadian Authorities in New York as I had flown by an unrecognised airline. So did the Empire State Building trip and hitch hiked in my Sgt Pepper's gear to California. (This trip is another top selling book story !!)
Arrived in Newport Beach, Orange County and couldn't afford a flat, so bought a mobile one .....a 1957 Buick station wagon for $150. Applied for and received a Social Security card and worked as a busboy (free 4 star food) on a moored Mississippi riverboat restaurant. Met John Wayne one night who was a pure gentleman. He talked to me whenever he could and tipped me a weeks wages. Went to Can Am races and saw Denny Hulme and Bruce McLaren whip the yanks. Got up to lots of mischief with female staff and did lots of Rock concerts and after accumulating numerous traffic citations drove one night up through Big Sur with a teenage runaway to San Francisco. Lost the wanted runaway and moved into the Haight Ashbury district and did all the hippy stuff including Filmore West concerts. Saw Hendricks, Stones, Ike and Tina Turner etc. Worked by day as a Franciscan monk in an old converted chocolate factory near Fishermans' Wharf.
After a few issues, sold the car and flew to Honolulu and moved in with some mainland crazies in an old house near the University up the Manoa Valley, called "Varsity Boathouse". Worked in a revolving restaurant for fantastic tips. Bought a motor bike and an old rusty Caddy. Started working the bar one night and had to go to the Police Department to have a Police Abstract done (Law in the 50th State when working with alcohol). Two days later FBI arrived at work, took me back to HQ, asked why I wasn't in Vietnam, why no work permit, why massively overstaying visitor visa, fingerprinted, photographed and given an Alien's number amongst millions of illegal Mexicans. Don't forget this was before they used computers and everything was hand written in big books. I was then given the option of deportation or 30 days voluntary departure. I chose the latter and partied for 30 days with my mates.
Back in Sydney I still had itchy feet, but tried and qualified for Credit Management. Hated it so bought a 1939 lime green Chev ex bakers van and was selling Bridgestone push bikes out of it. While on Parramatta Road I called at Sports Car World opposite John Thompson Performance Cars. After unsuccessfully selling the owner (Steve Vittorias) any bikes I was offered a job. Next day I sold an an MGB, a Kermit the Frog green Porsche and a Ferrari. He was over the moon and gave me an almost new electric blue 240Z to drive home. I was in heaven. Many adventures here along with selling cars to the Kings Cross Mafia, Den of ill repute owners and their ' ladies, and lots of stuff that would make another book. Also owned my own family car business in the late 70's early 80's on Hume Highway Chullora.
Forgot to mention that just before this in 1972 I married a 17 year old from Melbourne, had a son in 1975 and a daughter in 1980. The kids are gypsies just like their father. Naomi is a mother to my two grandsons in SA and Justin is a self employed drift car parts importer and driver of drift cars.
I had a stint in the hills behind Mullumbimby in the 80's with Paddy Dawson as a valley neighbour. There was a messy divorce after 17 miserable years of marriage, although my ex wife and I are now on very good speaking terms. I am back in Sydney and still dabble in cars and in the summer months buy about 35 cars and campervans a month for a backpacker firm. Winters are spent in Cairns and this year will spend some time in Darwin as well.
Between leaving Mullumbimby and the backpacker bit I had some Japanese romances and have travelled extensively in Japan on four occasions (once on a motorbike).
I have fond and sad memories of NSBHS from my first day when Tom Mason, disguised as Batman, told us and our parents that "the boys should wear school hats to protect them from suncancer". Now this was before sun cancer was invented. The next day the four or five boys who wore hats had them trampled into the dust in the main Quad. It reminded me of my hero - Richmal Crompton's "William". I also remember Hensley and Henry's Detective Agency (or "Yak and Ish Private Eyes") investigating the serious matter of who threw Holey Joe's hat in the chalk dust on top of the cupboard in the class room closet next to Reggie Wilko's caning office. Holey Joe was our Religious Instructions teacher who wore all black and glasses made from the bottoms of coke bottles and was older than Pop Shearman. We were kept in for days and threatened with death if we didn't expose the culprit(s). In a secret ballot we were asked repeatedly to write the culprits name(s) on a folded piece of paper. Everyone including the Pope, Edward (Cookie) Burns, Pop, Guts, Cake, Nancy, Yak, God, Hitler and the Queen copped the blame.
There were many other funny memories including those in assembly of the poor innocent students who were blamed for everything automatically from Hiroshima to blowing up the school's new horn system which was very short lived. Famous names like Chinner, Paddy Dawson, Daley (was that Arther?), Sime and others. My saddest moment however was in 1987 when I had returned to Sydney after a few years in Byron Bay. I was doing temp nursing in one of Moran's private Hospitals in Hornsby where I discovered Tom Mason in one room with his wife in the room opposite. They were both old but healthy, but had Alzheimer's disease and were unaware of each others presence or anything else that was going on. It was a sad way to see such a great man to spend his last days in this condition.
So far an interesting life with no University of recognition, just the World Uni of Hard Knocks!!