I was born In Port Pirie, South Australia on the Queen of England's 21st, an unacknowledged gift to the empire from my parents.
I grew up on the Woomera rocket range, an RAAF base in outback SA, which may explain my interest in Science Fiction.
At 18, having just failed intermediate (year 10) for the second time, I had to leave school and get job or face the prospect being in a class of 15-year- old classmates. English was a compulsory. I kept failing English, which is why I became an awarding winning and published writer - what do teachers know? Did I say how I lost another year earlier? No? Well during my first attempt at year 7 (In Australia at the time this was called the The Progress Certificate, the final year of Primary School) I spent second term in the Woomera hospital and the final term convalescing with my grandparents Eva and Henry Bowley in Adelaide. (To be precise 2 Lyons street, Brooklyn Park, Adelaide SA. Phone LU 8289 - )
Those were the days, On leaving school I was offered three jobs and became a technician like my father because despite failing I had A's in Math and Physics. A 5-year technician-in-training course with the then PMG Dept.(Postmaster General's Department). The first year was full time classwork, no different from High School, except I was being paid.
In 1969 I married and moved to Darwin NT (Australia's Northern Territory ) administered at the time from Adelaide South Australia. Being trained in Telephony section, naturally I was posted to the Radio Section, specifically Radio Australia's HF broadcasting project, where I was introduced to and started learning about computers. Tape loaded computing adjusted with program patches input by teletype in hex - this was the early 70's. Both my children were born in Darwin. We escaped the year before cyclone Tracy (Xmas 1974.)
Like a boomerang I'm back in Adelaide. I lived in Morphett Vale for the next thirteen years. At first our view Include paddocks of sheep and vineyards, My wife went to Uni and earned a degree, I helped start a scout group as its first scoutmaster, my wife as Akela to the cubs. Then Gough Whitlam was elected Australian PM and Tertiary education became free, In 1984 I started a Maths degree as a mature age student, with help from Telecom (study leave). It took eleven years, part time. My degree morphed from Maths with a computer major into an IT degree with a Maths major as computers swallowed everything. My marriage failed in 1988 (mid-life crisis) I had met someone at Uni.
That turmoil, precipitated by me, continued for a decade, I owner built a kit house in Ironbank, (Adelaide Hills) found my true calling as a writer and went from Technician to Computer System Officer just ahead of being made redundant by Telstra. (Aside: I had worked for the same multi-named company PMG, Telecom, Telstra for 27 years.) But nothing lasts. My new partner left for America to pursue her dream, later deciding I wasn't a necessary part of it.
I was 50, had a lovely self designed and built house but nobody to share it, a fresh IT degree but no job. Of all the jobs I applied for I only got interviews for technical positions for which I was overqualified; for IT jobs I was too old. Ageism. That was never said of course. At my lowest I sold door to door (for Telstra would you believe.) My dream had always been a bookshop, (I've owned three in my time) so I applied for a NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) grant and opened a internet-cafe bookshop (without the cafe) in Blackwood. This first bookshop lasted 12 months but is still the one of the highlights of my chequered career. During this period mum (Marj Bowley) died Xmas eve 1995, Dad (Stan Bleckly) six months later.
The reason the bookshop was a highlight is I used it as a venue to found the Blackwood Writers Group in late 1996. The group took off They have been meeting in various venues ever since for 3 hours every week, have won numerous prizes and are widely published. I made a lot of new long term friends to invite to my marriage to Felicity on 6th march 1999.
In conclusion the opening years of the 21st century despite advancing age and associated health problems have been the best of my life; exciting rewarding and stable.
A final note on genealogy
I started delving in family trees with my aunt Edna in the bowels of the B, D & M building in King William Street Adelaide, at the time doing research for myself (Bleckly Bowley & Duncan) and my first wife (McPharlin). An enigmatic entry in a family bible led to a McPharlin reunion on Lysander farm in Balaclava,mid-north South Australia named after the ship "Lysander" that brought them to this Australia. The ship's bell was on the farm.
My second tree led to a 90th birthday/Peterson reunion in Ironbank, South Australia, Behind my desk I have 10 large boxes of genealogical material: trees, photos, certificates, personal recollections, correspondence, newspaper clippings and the researches of several genealogists, to upload. I'll be here a while.
Rob is 34 degrees from Alfred Nobel, 43 degrees from Henri Becquerel, 27 degrees from Niels Bohr, 30 degrees from Marie Curie, 27 degrees from Alec Fleming, 25 degrees from Howard Florey, 35 degrees from Albert Imre Szent-Györgyi, 26 degrees from Barbara McClintock, 33 degrees from Wilhelm Roentgen and 25 degrees from Chandra Garrow on our single family tree. Login to find your connection.