Rick left Queensland for an adventurous life in Papua and New Guinea (they were separate Australian territories until 1975 when the independent nation of Papua New Guinea was formed) at just twenty years of age. He soon linked with photographer and adventurer, Frank Hurley, as a member of the crew aboard Eureka on Hurley's expedition up the Fly River and then to Lake Murray as part of the first expedition of white explorers to the area.
Later, Rick ran a business offering automobile journeys out of Port Moresby to Sapphire Creek and the indigenous villages of Hanuabada and Koki.
On 24th June 1942 at Pymble, New South Wales, Robert was commissioned into the Australian Military Force for service within Australia during the Second World War. He served with the Australian New Guinea Administrative Unit (ANGAU), which undertook civil tasks of maintaining law and medical services in areas not occupied by the Imperial Japanese, including organising the resources of land and labour for the war effort, as well as recruiting, organising and supervising local labour (including the famous Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels) for the Australian and American armed forces in New Guinea. It was also responsible for the administration of the Pacific Islands Regiment. As a Lieutenant, Robert was Mentioned in Despatches for his service in the unit, gazetted in London and Australia on 23 December 1943. He was later promoted to Captain. He was discharged from the army on 18th December 1945.
After the war, continuing to live in Papua and New Guinea, Rick worked for a time as a gold miner and managed a coffee plantation at Mount Hagen. He returned to the Australian mainland in 1964, settling in New South Wales.
Aged 72 years, Rick passed away in 1974 at New South Wales.
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