My parent’s 19 year project of setting up a banana plantation (and building a house) from scratch after the war, came to a halt in 1964, as the banana market collapsed for NSW growers, due to over-supply from Queensland. We sold up and all moved to Newcastle with its good employment opportunities. My parents bought a house at Cardiff Heights and we all lived there.
I applied for and got a 5 year pathology traineeship in medical technology (MT) at nearby Wallsend District Hospital. Unusually for a pathology lab, (as I now know) all my workmates were male. They were a great bunch, full of fun with a good array of practical jokes. Importantly, they went out of their way to be helpful and inspiring teachers, as I rotated through the various sections. As a lab, we were always confident in the high standard of pathology test results, we produced. I enjoyed helping patients and found the applied science and technology really interesting.
Upon qualifying at the end of 1969, I applied for and rather surprisingly got (at the young age of 22) a senior supervising position at Nepean District Hospital, Penrith.
I enjoyed the challenge of this larger hospital and the presence of female workers. The highlight was meeting Pauline, a trainee nurse, later to be my wife. The next year I noticed a position vacant as a lab manager at the almost new, Coffs Harbour & District Hospital. I applied and was successful. I moved up to Coffs alone and continued a long-range relationship with Pauline. At the completion of her training to become registered nurse, in 1973 we were married. We both worked at Coffs Hospital, but eventually we found that Pauline’s shift work and my on-call work made our chance of a normal life difficult.
Next year, when an opportunity arose, I left the public sector for a job in the growing industry of private pathology. The job was at a larger lab, back at Penrith, and I ran just my preferred section, medical microbiology. Pauline obtained work in an Aged Care Nursing Home. We both now had daytime work, with weekends free.
I stayed in the same job with the same employer for 24 years. The lab grew steadily in work, becoming one of the larger in NSW and out-growing three lab sites in the process. In 1997, the owners were reaching retirement age and sold out to another, larger, ASX listed, Pathology company - Sonic Healthcare Ltd.
Sonic gave me the role of NSW laboratory manager of the analytical environmental microbiology laboratory, which suited me fine because I had good current experience with this and got to stay at the same lab with most of the same staff, who continued in the same roles. Our lab did well, ending up with about 20 lab scientists and technicians testing, food, water, air, soil, surfaces and cosmetics. As well, I wrote and maintained the comprehensive company test procedures manual and our lab’s computer software.
I retired aged 65 in 2012, achieving 47 years of continual full time employment!
Pauline, in 1987, had resumed part time work (after the children were all at school) as a general practice nurse for a large group of GPs, a role she still holds today, after 25 years!
We bought a suburban house and we had two sons, Mark in 1976 and Matthew in 1979. Pauline had stopped working. We decided to buy and move onto a rural 5 acre place we really liked at a suburb near Windsor. We had two more sons, Andrew in 1981 and Michael in 1984.
Our boys have been a key interest in our lives. I was always useful with baby care, amusing kids and in providing household help for Pauline. There was plenty of room and enthusiasm for backyard cricket, tennis, swimming and football.
My second eldest son was a gifted school athlete, representing up to state level as a sprinter and long jumper and in the senior school rugby league and rugby union teams.
We owned and cared for a variety of pets, livestock and birds over the years. We were particularly fond of our two donkeys we had for 23 years.
In 2005, one of our sons, Matthew was married and we now have both a delightful granddaughter and grandson.
In 2009, after we had been on the “farm” for 30 years, we sold it and down-sized to an apartment in Penrith, still near our family and within walking distance to work for us both.
We will again move into a new house at the end of the year, which is currently under construction at Thornton (Central Penrith). It will do nicely for us at this stage of life.
As far as travelling, Pauline and I, in the last 10 years, have tripped through most of the United Kingdom and Europe, on two occasions to USA and once to Canada and Alaska. We have been to most states of Australia and to New Zealand.
In my work career development, I have also been to many annual weeklong national scientific conferences (microbiology) in all the Australian state capitals and in NZ. In latter years I have enjoyed trips performing national quality assessments at 20 similar labs scattered over most of NSW and Qld.
Contact with former Schoolmates
In the 1970’s at Coffs Harbour & District Hospital, I encountered Dawn Eckford, nursing and Cristine Turner (nee Wheaton) did some pathology lab work with me for a short time.
I remain in regular email contact with Phillip Wilson. We were friends who lived at Friday Creek. Forty years later, we were able to meet up with him in London in 2005, where he lives. I remain in contact with Mervyn Semfel, a good school friend who now lives in Milperra in Sydney.
In 2009, I was proud to be recognized with a two-page feature article written about my work career, called “A Day in the life of… Environmental laboratory manager Bob Sinclair.”
It was published in the magazine of the National Association of Testing Authorities of Australia, called “NATA News”, which is pitched at my scientific peers, engineers and our clients.
My Retirement hobby
Pauline and I are regular bush walkers. I have re-invigorated my favoured, boyhood interest of native bird watching. I now also photograph as many bird species as I can with a modern DSLR camera and its long-range lens. We have joined the Blue Mountains Bird Observers Club and enjoy their regular fresh air excursions and the sharing of knowledge.Send Robert a Message
In 5o years, I have worked as a Secretary, Married, produced 3 sons who have given 4 grandchildren to the world.
Happily divorced. Moved home 4 times. Owned and operated 2 businesses.
Buried my darling Mum and Dad.
Travelled a lot, enjoyed the outdoors and my garden. Basically a life of loving my family and friends.
Life is great. Send Robyn a Message
I am married, my husband is Graeme and we have 3 children, Katrina born 6/7/1970 and 2 sons Darrin born 5/4/1972 and Ian born 22/10/1974. We have 9 grandchildren, 7 grandaughters (including 1 set of triplets) and 2 grandsons.
I left CHHS after 4th year and attended Coffs Harbour TAFE to do the day secretarial course. On completion of this I obtained work in Grafton and am still living in Grafton. After my marriage I remained at home wife and mother until my youngest child was 6 years old then worked part time for the State Government commencing in 1980 and then full time in 1986. I worked for the NSW State Government for 26 years. I took redundancy in 2006 and retired for 4 months, then obtained part time work with the Sisters of Mercy Grafton, wher I am still working. I have had several holidays overseas including New Zealand, Bali, Great Britain and Europe and have travelled throughout Australia. I am looking forward to full retirement and hopefully travelling in the caravan within Australia (budget won't allow more overseas holidays unfortunately) and seeing more of my 9 grandchildren.Send Sandra a Message
Suzanne (Sue)Whitney (Robb)
How I hated it when my family relocated to Sydney half way through my Intermediate year at CHHS. I was determined - as only a thwarted 14 year old can be - to hate everything about my new life, especially the school. Consequently, my senior years at High School were not particularly memorable and I excelled only in sport and Latin!! Not the best combination!
Upon finishing my Leaving Certificate I went directly to work at the Sydney Water Board where I remained for several years. I loved working in a big office in the city. We were right there to just get changed after work and head off to one of the many restaurants, night clubs, theatres or wherever the occasion took us.
It was while working at the Board that I met my husband, Eric - a blind date arranged by one of the guys I worked with. We were married in 1968 and built our home in Baulkham Hills where we remained until we retired and moved to the Central Coast in 2006. Sometime in the 70's we set up our own business, Poolsafe Fencing, where we manufactured and installed pool fencing.
Our daughter, Laurelea, was born in 1980. Her career took her to Broome where she worked as a Native Title lawyer for the Kimberley Land Council. Of course all our holidays over the past few years have been to WA. I don't think triplets were in the plan when she and her husband decided to start a family. Coping with three babies so far from family support was very difficult and despite me spending many months in Broome with them, it became apparent that a move to the east was needed. We now have our three little grandsons living nearby which is just great. Strangely enough, my constant friend from Coffs over the years, Sandra Unwin (Smidt), is also the grandmother of triplets.
We are now living in a retirement village which is a great lifestyle - involve yourself as little or as much as you wish. We have a wonderful Library of which I am the (volunteer) librarian. I also run a Book Club and a Sing-a-long Group. I have always been a keen golfer and since moving here have taken up lawn bowls as well. Add this to the triplets living 10 minutes away and you can see I don't have a lot of free time!
Even though there are many names and faces I either can't remember or didn't know, there are some that I do, and I am really looking forward to the reunion.
Sue Send Suzanne (Sue) a Message
lady of leisureMarried3
I left Coffs Harbour in July 1962, dad’s commitment with Coffs Harbour Diggers Rugby League Club had finished and we had been building our family home in Newcastle. My brother Ron had been in Newcastle for some time as he was achieving his boilermaker apprenticeship and it was time for all the family to get together. My sister Jan was born in Coffs in 1957.
Work was easy to find in the 60’s & I went into retail. This was a great time with a growing chain of children’s wear, the owner was a great entrepreneur & businessman who I learnt so much from, & he helped me develop all parts of business acumen.
I met my husband, Jim at the “The Palais” this was a famous dance place in Newcastle where many couples met their spouses. We “went together” till our marriage in 1967. I became a Mum the next year with Natalie, son Brad three years later and a daughter Angela again three years later.
Jim accepted a role as Sales Manager with Television New England based in Tamworth where we remained for eight years. We returned to Newcastle in 1984, as the children were getting older I worked for Streets Ice Cream selling to local outlets in the Hunter.
I then joined Dairy Farmers in 1990; I had many roles with dairy Farmers over the next 15 years. Some of the exciting areas were, launching our range of products into the Central Coast.
After deregulation of the Dairy industry, implemented a sales drive into NORCO territory, to the Queensland border, sorry to all who have an affiliation within the dairy industry. Then of course had to defend our customer sales base from all other dairy processers who also were stretching their range of products into what was our recognised territory.
I was part of a small team to write the Dairy Farmers Franchise, then implementing & launching it to 900 franchisees throughout Australia. That was the easy part, managing the franchise was another!
I was promoted to Regional manager, then NSW manager. I had of team of Sales Managers who supported me to achieve these goals, as none were achievable by myself.
But our greatest achievement is our children. All are great adults who have chosen wonderful spouses. Natalie is in wardrobe & works in TV & movies. Natalie married an actor/playwright Mathew Whittet. They have a son Jasper. Brad is a High School Deputy Principal; married another teacher, Fleur, their kids are Monica & William. Angela is a volunteer Co-ordinater married to Glenn, with two kids, Nathan & Sofia.
We have climbed the Harbour Bridge. I have trekked the Great North Walk Sydney to Newcastle over interesting terrain, just some of the interesting physical achievements.
Jim & I and of course, Humphrey, our chocolate Labrador, have just entered an over 55’s complex to ensure we enjoy our “next phase of life”. We wish to slow down a bit, minimise our workload, no lawns etc. and enjoy those precious times with the family.
Thanks for including me in the reunion. Send Trish a Message
A Rabbit’s Life A long time ago my adult life began when at 18 I realised that school was not where I wanted to be as I had been well and truly bitten by the cycling bug.
Late in ‘63 I left school, home and Coffs and moved to Sydney to begin my life as a professional cyclist. I found out very quickly that there was not a lot of money back then in pro sport. So for the next few years I took on many different jobs and combined lots of training with those jobs. We raced and partied all over NSW, most of Vic and some of Qld and Tas. I met and became life friends with a lot of good people. I won the Melbourne Cup on Wheels, Sydney Cup on Wheels and Cootamundra 100 road race, and rode 3 Six day races and 3 Sun tours.
I married in ‘68 and had 2 children, but unfortunately things did not work out so I decided to have a look at WA for the winter of ‘72. Then I came back to Vic for the summer then went back to WA for winter of ‘73 and stayed. I ran bike businesses, then a hotel where I met my current wife Sue and have 2 great kids, our son is in the Air Force in Williamstown and our daughter is in Perth.
I took on triathlons in my late 40’s for something to do and ended up doing 2 Foster Ironmans
We moved to Denmark in ‘97 and had a school bus contract for 11 years, and then I did 5 years as a driving assessor for the Government.
In 2011 we moved to Margaret River for Sue to further her career in Australia Post and I am trying semi-retirement; but we will go back to Denmark sometime where we still have our house.
There you have a brief history of a Rabbit’s life. It’s been fun! Send Warren a Message
I left school at the end of 1962 to start work at Forsyth’s Pharmacy where I worked for 4 years. I then went to Sydney to work at Mulains Pharmacy at Baulkham Hills.
When my brother was killed in a car accident I returned home and again worked at Forsyth’s Pharmacy. On 25th January 1969 I married Allen McLennan and we have 2 children – Tanya born 1972 and Andrew born 1974.
I worked on and off in Pharmacy until 8 years ago and now living the retirement life in Coffs.
We have 3 grandchildren living close by to spoil.
Love to coach travel and have been to every State so far, but not the Centre of Australia, which we hope to do this year.