Wayne Richards – who am I?

[Wayne became a Burnie Rotarian a little over four months ago. He was invited to tell us about himself.]

          My parents were living at St Mary’s when I was born, even though I was born in L’ton. We moved to Latrobe for a short while, back to St Mary’s, and in the 1960’s we moved again when Dad became the Child Welfare Officer here.  As I grew up, I was in Cubs and Scouts and I became an early student at Hellyer College.

           I played hockey and ran in  middle and long distance running events. Of course, I played football too, though I eventually focussed on being a boundary umpire; “the older I get, the better umpire I reckon I was”.

          Out of curiosity, I attended the local brass band hall. A bloke there would hand out an instrument and I was given a trombone. Later I was in an Army band. In 1988, they played at the Anzac ceremony and I stood very close to Queen Elizabeth when she came to Tasmania. I was in the band as well when we supported a 400-voice choir in front of the Pope at Elwick Racecourse.

          My first job was with Burnie Council, but I soon left. In 1977, I joined the Burnie Fire Brigade, though I could not envisage aiming for a career in the Fire Service, so I changed and joined the State Emergency Service, in which I reached the Regional Manager position before  taking retirement.

          Along the way, I competed in car rally events using my own cars; I chose to navigate while friends drove. That way, we wrote off my cars after they rolled over or hit things. I became a steward accompanying the race cars – including the Round Australia Rally that started and ended in Adelaide  – 18,500 km.