I’ve Done Some Crazy Things In My Life.

I’ve swum at the nude beach on Fire Island off Long Island, New York, with a cute school teacher from New Jersey.

I’ve been to the Statue of Liberty.

I’ve known the delight of floating down the Grand Canal in Venice in a water taxi with an Italian nurse with the voice of Sophia Loren.

I helped to launch Animal Liberation here in Australia.

I was the first member of the Permaculture Association started in the 1970s by two academics from a Tasmanian (Australia) university.

It’s become a world phenomenon in the race to save the planet helping individuals and communities introduce a sustainable agriculture into their lives.

I was kicked off a commune a group of us started on 40 acres of land north of Melbourne in the 1970s for opposing questionable practices that would turn it into a religious sect.

I’ve sat with channels who’ve had books published of their words (for example, ‘Earth to Tao’ and ‘Tao to Earth’).

An article I wrote for a local newspaper about the Swiss-Italian gold miners who came to the Central Highlands goldfields in the 1850s was the inspiration for the annual ‘Hepburn Springs Swiss-Italian Festa’.

For a while I ran ‘The Springs Whole Health Group’ with monthly speakers on subjects ranging from hypnotherapy and reflexology to water divining and ley lines relating to health.

I’ve lived in a caravan parked by the roadside in a small country town in the Aussie bush where I became lovingly known as King of the Hippies.

On the side of a hill near a lake in the north of Italy I enjoyed an outdoor family feast of Italian food and wine served beneath a canopy of vines in a magical setting resembling a movie set.

I’ve run my own one-man freelance advertising copywriting business for over 10 years in Melbourne.

My first big ad presentation was at a week long client conference on the steamy tropical South Pacific island of Fiji.

How did I survive being left homeless, penniless, jobless and friendless when my business and I were declared bankrupt and I lost everything?

Before all of that I worked at the Melbourne office of the second largest ad agency in the world now known as McCann’s.

A campaign I created, wrote and produce for meat pies and donuts won an award at the annual National Television Society Awards in 1972.

I had a fairytale reunion with my 21 year-old daughter living on the famous Gold Coast of Australia.

I’ve been twice married, have 2 grown daughters and 3 adorable granddaughters.

I live now in a beautiful seaside resort town across the bay from the city of Melbourne where the Annual Mussel Festival and Annual National Celtic Festivals are held.

I’ve authored 4 books (not novels).

“Either write something worth reading,” wrote famous American author Ernest Hemingway, “or do something worth writing.”

I reckon that’s what I’ve done in my crazy life.

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Best wishes.


When Italy Came To The Australian Bush

Villa Parma, an Italian style guest house, Main Road, Hepburn Springs

One chapter of my book tells of the time when, for 5 years, I lived in a friend’s old caravan, homeless, penniless, jobless and unemployable.

I became active in the town and, following a series of articles I wrote on the gold rush history of the area published in the local press, an annual Swiss-Italian Festa was organised by the owner of the general store. As far as I know it’s still held mid-year today as a popular tourist attraction in Hepburn Springs, Victoria.

In the mid-1800s, at the height of the Gold Rush in Australia, the area attracted thousands of Swiss-Italians. They said the hills reminded them of home.

Most of them were men. They left their families in the hope of striking gold and returning home wealthy. Many borrowed money for the journey from relatives or the government.

In the early 1860s Swiss-Italians made up over ten percent of the population there.

Not many of them found gold. Some returned home broken and disappointed while others moved on to the goldfields of New Zealand and California.

A good many remained, however, to take jobs with the larger miners or to set up in business as publicans, merchants, bakers, millers, butchers and administrators.

The farmers among them purchased cheap government land and attempted to duplicate their self-sufficient homeland lifestyles in the countryside. They built farmhouses of stone, handmade brick and rubble in the typical rural Swiss and Italian style, most with wine cellars and cheese rooms and often named after their home towns.

Old Macaroni Factory, Main Street, Hepburn Springs

They planted vineyards, raised cows and pigs, produced milk, butter, cheese and sausages, grew wheat, fruit and vegetables. Many of their farmhouses remain, either in ruin or occupied by their descendants, giving the area a unique European flavour among the native eucalyptus trees of the Wombat Forest. Italian ‘bull-boar’ sausages, made from beef, pork and herbs, are still sold by the local butcher and homemade pasta can be found on the menu at many restaurants.

Standing sentinel as you drive into the small town is the Old Macaroni Factory, a monument to the true Italian spirit. Well, doesn’t every Italian community need an inexhaustible supply of fresh pasta?

Long before the Gold Rush, many thousands of years before, the aborigines knew of another kind of gold to be found in the area – the naturally carbonated mineral springs that emerged in the ground everywhere. To the local Jajowurrong tribe this was known as an area of healing.

As it became for me when I made it my home.

Read more of my incredible story in ‘Back to the Wall’.

Best wishes,