After leaving BHS I completed a Commerce degree at Melbourne Uni, then had two years in the Armed forces, courtesy the Vietnam call-up. My number came up in the very first ballot and I was in the fourth intake overall. I consider myself fortunate not to have served in Vietnam, most of my time being spent in the Hunter Valley (NSW) town of Singleton. Looking back this was an important period of my life; Vietnam politicised me (how could a government commit its young men to such a war...only to repeat the effort in Iraq!) and I can never forgive the treatment afforded the returning Vietnam vets by the government and the people.
In 1971, I moved to Sydney for career reasons, joining the Chartered Accounting firm of Peat Marwick Mitchell, which, through various iterations became KPMG. When I came to Sydney, I fully expected to be back in Melbourne within two years…but work opportunities opened up, we loved the life style and we are still here. I married Maree in 1971 (I met her at Melbourne Uni where she was one of 28 girls doing commerce in our year) and we have two daughters and two grand-daughters.
We lived in various places on Sydney's north shore (for many years about two streets from where Lindsay Cook still lives) and in 1997, with our girls enjoying university life, moved to Balmain, from where I doubt we will ever leave.
I remained at KPMG until 2003, being a partner from 1979, and headed the tax practice for about six years. In the late 1970s and 1980s, tax was a most sought after career as the reformist Hawke and Keating governments revolutionised the way in which revenue was raised - it was exciting and exhilarating. In time however exhilaration became mixed with thoughts as to whether I was contributing much to the betterment of society - but, the system requires someone to be prepared and able to take the fight to the ATO and victories were often very sweet and much appreciated. So...those doubts, while they lingered, were kept at bay.
Since retiring from KPMG ( the partnership agreement required retirement at 58) I have been a director of a number of government and private sector companies many of which have operated in the Indigenous or the renewable energy areas. Working in these areas has caused me to meet many fantastic people and has overall been wonderfully rewarding. I have also been on the boards of a number of not-for-profit entities including Sydney's Museum of Contemporary Art, WWF - the conservation organisation and Bluearth, a privately funded foundation which directly addresses sedentary lifestyles, particularly in young people
Nowadays, I work four days a week, though have no qualms about taking further days off. We spend most weekends (winter and summer) at our beach house about an hour north of Sydney, follow the Swans passionately, enjoy the theatre, despair at the standard of our parliament and love spending time with our family. I have a deep interest in international affairs and a great interest in Germany, which dates from my BHS days studying German.
I still swim regularly in both the pool and the ocean and am a 50 year member of the Fairhaven SLSC, on Victoria's Surf Coast. I walked the Kokoda Track in 2002. We travel to Melbourne often as our wider families are there.
Being one of the organising mob for this reunion has been a huge amount of fun and reconnecting with so many from our year has been wonderfully worthwhile - I can't wait to see the faces behind the voices.
Reflecting on BHS as the reunion approaches, I think the school provided, overall, a good education in fairly difficult circumstances, instilled good values and produced some very good citizens. It is great that the school has gone on to be recognised as one of the outstanding schools in Melbourne. (Read more about Peter's reflections on life at Balwyn High in the Reminiscences section)