I was born in Adelaide, in a generation known as the ‘baby boomers’, the son of ex-service personnel.  My father joined the Royal Australian Air Force in the Second World War and served in 464 and 98 Squadrons, as an air-gunner in twin-engine bombers, flying over Western Europe. By the time of his demobilization in 1946 he had risen in rank to Flight Lieutenant. My mother enlisted in the Royal Air Force and served as a nursing sister in the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service. A little of the Nursing Service’s history can be found in Mary Mackie’s history, Sky Wards: A History of the Princess Mary’s Royal Air Force Nursing Service, Robert Hale, London, 2001), in which my mother gets a mention. She saw service in Aden, Egypt and Britain. It was in Wales that my parents met and married in 1944. My mother subsequently came to Australia as a war bride and I was the result of their reunion. My sister, Mary, arrived four years later.

My secondary schooling was at Prince Alfred College. I completed a social work diploma at the South Australian Institute of Technology, now University of South Australia, in 1972. This was later upgraded to a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work in 1979. I obtained employment as a social worker with the state government, and except for a short period in England, have worked in health and welfare agencies ever since.

Subsequent study was focused on my interest in history, rather than acquiring further qualifications related to my employment. In 1986 I completed a Diploma in Family Historical Studies. I then went on gain a Graduate Diploma in Local and Applied History from the University of New England in 1995.  This led to a Master of Letters (Australian History) from the same University in 1998, with a thesis, The South Australian Royal Commission on Education, 1911-1913: Help or Hindrance in Educational Reform. By this time I had extinguished the need for further study!

During this time I started writing and have published a number of books with a family and local history focus, together with other publications with an autobiographical flavour and in the area of art history.  More about these appear elsewhere on this web site. 

I am married to Mei, who was born in China, but grew up in the British Colony of Hong Kong.  She has lived in Australia for over 30 years.  We are relatively newly weds, having married in May 2002.