The early years from the perspective of his sister:
One of my earliest memories is being chased around the lounge by R. I would have been 5 or 6. I was screaming. I can remember this because I was terrified.
R. was an autocractic brother. Thankfully he's mellowed.
He began his love affair with learning at Sunnyside Kinder in East Malvern.
He was an intense child with the usual toys & hobbies:The pets -- Puss and Gyps.The ESM was a black box beloved by my brother. It had a wind-up handle on one side and a wire on the other. R. would say, "Judy, hold this" while cranking up the handle. The faster you wound the handle, the stronger the electric shock. I don't know how I was so gullible -- or maybe it was a standover tactic!
Billycarts & bikes in the street with the neighbourhood kids -- Robbie Woodfall, Andrew & Ian Thompson, Graeme & Iain & Helen West, Michael & Peter & Anne Lovett.
Dinky toys, his Triang electric train set.
There was Ludo, Scrabble, Monopoly, paper boats. There was Meccano, crystal sets, chemistry sets -- and then there was the Electric Shock machine.
Josh & Zoë will find it hard to comprehend that their father lived in a time not only pre-iPod, but pre computer & pre TV. I guess that makes him pre historic. We listened to Dad & Dave, Blue Hills and Jason & the Argonauts of which R was one. [Lyncestus 31 -- REM]
When TV arrived it was just in time for the '56 Olympics, but Graham Kennedy's IMT stands out.
R. was a cub, a scout, & later a Queen's Scout. He sang in the school choir; he has continued this hobby. He played hockey and rowed at school.
R. played the recorder & piano & violin -- he was the musical one.
We spent family hols at the beach with Jane, Anne & Jono, or fishing at Mallacoota -- cruising the inlet in Dad's motor boat, catching bream & trawling for skipjack. We would stop for lunch on any deserted stretch of bush, and here another one of R's hobbies would cause me much anguish.
R would make paper boats when he got bored with fishing. When we stopped for lunch he would catch poor little skink lizards. Then when we were in the boat & had left land far behind, he would put a lizard (mostly by now tailless) in a boat & put the boat & lizard overboard to sail to an uncertain fate.
Perhaps justice was restored when Dad was casting out & hooked R in the back. We had to go to town to have the hook removed. I think R howled all the way.
On another holiday, 12-year-old R was leaning over a balcony ringing the dinner bell when he went over the balcony head first. Somehow he managed not to kill himself but it required an ambulance, a mercy dash from Point Lonsdale to the Alfred & 8 weeks flat on his back.
We are all thankful R survived.
He has had many achievements, of which I think we all agree that J & Z are his greatest.
Happy Birthday, Robert