Friday, 10 June 2011

My Dad

When I was a teenager and studying, my Dad was also studying. I don’t actually remember a time when he wasn’t studying.
Dad had a fairly tough upbringing and needed to start work to help support his mum and sister. This was around the time most of our kids are still gaining high school education.
Dad began to gain a trade as a toolmaker at the BHP- Newcastle.  It was the largest employer in our area at time. He progressed to completing his fitting and machining certificate and around this time he met my Mum, his love. I think he also drove trucks while I was a baby as well, up and down the NSW coast.
They married very young. Dad wanted to get ahead financially. He didn’t have a Dad around when he was younger or have any financial security, so to him these where his reasons to begin working in the coalmines, about 40 minutes from our home.
It was dangerous work, and although he was able to provide for his family very well, he still wanted to achieve academically. The mine company was willing to pay for Dad to gain higher education. This would mean he would be able work above ground and not below with the coal and the danger of mine collapses. This began with firstly gaining his school certificate- it was at the time called a leaving certificate. He left before gaining this originally, as his Mum needed him to earn an income for the family.
So when I was in at school, he was studying toward his School Certificate, then his High School Certificate, this then helped him achieve his Mechanical Engineering Certificate. As he was a mature age student, he was able to gain credit points.
He loved Shakespeare and was fortunate that a TV station was running the plays he was studying it. He has fond memories of him and Mum reciting parts along with the play, before he left for work. 
Dad’s aim was always to ‘get out of the mines’. His words were it was ‘too dangerous’.
With all this study, he fast tracked himself to teachers college. He was offered a position to teach his trade at one of our TAFE colleges- Tertiary & further education, in our area. So while I was in my high school years he was teaching at TAFE.
It was great, for the first time in years Dad was home in the evenings. He was always working swing shift – 2pm til 9pm.  I used to help him mark some of the student’s tests. I knew it was a responsibility but I was sitting alongside my Dad, we were working together. I felt very important.
When I was in my final years at secondary school and in my student nursing years, I would study at the TAFE in Dads’ office, if he had any evening classes, because it was quite. I was also aware. that at home, there were distractions. Like a telephone or chats with Mum.
So Dad had quite a journey to get to his teaching position. He taught for a many years, but as Dad has always been a hard worker, 11 -12 weeks off a year holidays, were far too many. He needed to keep his mind and hands active. He got a job as a machinist in his holidays.
This started him on his next journey- His Own business. He was using his skills he learnt and taught. He runs it to this day, and as he is 70 now, he is winding it down.
Dad’s position at the Colliery- coalmine,  meant that there home was paid off very quickly, leaving them quite secure financially. As I have said, this is very important for Dad. I remember the year there home was completely paid off. We were sat down and explained that our usual twice yearly, family get aways holidays, were being cancelled for that year. I was so proud of them. I was totally OK with that. It is a memory I will have always.
Dad really tried his best to be the best he could be. He was tough, but fair. He and of course my Mum are our biggest supporters of homeschooling, because they see things outside of the box.


Vicky said...

This is such a lovely post, Leanne - it's so nice to read about your beautiful family. The obvious love and pride you have for your dad is so heart-warming. He sounds like a good man and a very loving father:)

Leanne said...

Thanks Vicki, I have always wanted to write a post about my Dad and how much influence he has had on me. He is a good man..thanks Leanne

Therese said...

What a great tribute to your dad Leanne. It is also wonderful that your parents support you in home schooling.

Sue Elvis said...

Leanne, I know I would love your Dad. Apart from his wonderful character, he loves Shakespeare. We'd have lots to share!