Posted by Matt
on April 25, 2008
This part is more about my father the youngest of the eight children of William and Emily, Douglas Roy and my branch of the Sammels tree.
When Doug was born, he had two living brothers and three sisters; Veronica, Reg, Joyce, Muriel and Mick. Dad grew up in Perth, Western Australia on a very long leash. Doug left school at the age of 15 and was pretty much working full time as a paper boy at the time. He had a passion for motorbikes (Triumph, Norton, BSA, etc) and Bill Haley and was a boilermaker (for a day), finally settling down and becoming a butcher.
Doug served in the Citizen Military Forces when he was sixteen by falsifying his age. Enlisting in February 1951, Doug served his time and was discharged from service in 1953. He was called up for National Service in 1955 and duly served from April 1955 to April 1960. During this time he also worked at the meat works in Wyndham and caught the travel bug, spending much of his off season time in Europe.
I know that dad spent some time in Victoria before he met my mother, but he always says that after that fateful night in Saint Kilda, he had mum chasing him. Dad says he finally gave up and on 2 May 1964 Doug Married Rhonda in Traralgon. My big sister Leanne Maree arrived on the scene in mid January 1965 when Rhonda and Doug were living in Boronia, Victoria. The times being what they were, mum stayed at home while dad continued to be a butcher.
In the late 1960's the family relocated to Perth and finally got their hands on me (or should that be the other way around?) in October 1970. Dad did his leaving and graduated to being a health inspector, while the family moved from Greenmount to Rivervale in the early 1970's. We then moved to the country, living in Harvey and Kojonup, moving back to Perth in 1980 to live in Burrendah (Willeton). Doug graduated to the public service and I went on to a number of schools, finishing up year 12 at Trinity College in 1987. I became an uncle before then when my nephew Joshua arrived in 1985 and again when Bridget came along in 1989.
After graduating from high school I blundered around with a year working at Target, then a year of university at Curtin doing a combined B.Bus. and Japanese. Hating this, I went back to work and landed a job in the public service like dad! I worked for almost seven years with the State Housing Commission and on the verge of long service decided it was time to go and study. I wanted to do law, specializing in native title and applied to UWA for entry in Arts. I enrolled in 1995 and after a year I decided that a double major in Anthropology and Archaeology was for me. I finished the undergraduate part of the degree in 1997, and went on to do one year of law. Upon hating this (common theme?), I went on to do a double Honours in Anthropology and Archaeology in 1999. A copy of my dissertation is somewhere on this server and I will link to it eventually.
During my studies, I met someone who still has a place in my heart and we traveled through Asia a fair bit. In 2000, three months into the six month trip that we were having post-honours, we ran out of money, and through contacts from my Honours supervisor, we ended up picking up work in Phnom Penh doing a gender piece for Oxfam GB's Cambodia Land Study Project. We liked the challenge of working in a developing country so we both applied for Australian Youth Ambassador positions in Phnom Penh. I scored one with Oxfam America as an IT and Data Analyst, and she got one with Oxfam HK (WAC). She also applied for a PhD at Curtin and ANU and was accepted. Needless to say she took the latter offer, while I began crunching numbers.
Having completed a year as an AYAD, and with my then partner doing her research in Cambodia, I stayed on. I worked as a consultant for a time, and you get to know what feast and famine cycles are like, and then formally joined the Womyn's Agenda for Change project late in 2002. I loved the work and the challenging intellectual environment, but all great things must end some day, and in mid 2005 I came back to Australia to help my then partner with the bills during her thesis write up. I stayed initially with development jobs, but Canberra being a PS city, found a job in the ethics section of the National Health and Medical Research Council, and I'm still there today.
In January 2010 I met someone who changed how I saw the world and my place in it. He and I have been together (although residing in separate houses - that's another story!) since mid 2010 and we have done some fabulous things together. While I'm working through the past, the future looks great and thanks to support from an increasing circle of 'family' I'm completely at ease with my life paradigm shift. My family and friends have been 100% supportive of my decision, and upon seeing how centred and at peace I am now, have welcomed him without reservation. Life is beautiful...