J2 grew up in Adelaide and went to a high school in the Adelaide Hills, at the time regarded pretty much as country for the purpose of school sporting competitions. At the time, as Baby Boomer adolescents put pressure on high school enrolments, the school had a number of young, enthusiastic teachers who connected well with students. The young teachers quickly became role models.
J2’s father had wanted to go to university but with the 1930s Depression and WWII, his family had no money for his education. He was determined, however, that his sons would have what he had been denied. He did all he could to ensure his children- 3 sons – had a good education and qualifications for a career. His eldest son, four years older than J2, had won a Telstra Scholarship to do Engineering at University. The youngest son was also focusing on Maths/Science. In part inspired by a good English teacher, J2, in the middle, was drawn to English and the Social Sciences.
He had other good teachers – and a couple of poor ones. It was, however, the school environment – teachers excited about knowledge and learning, the nurturing of his leadership potential in football teams, as House Captain and prefect – that captured his imagination and heart. It was an environment that supported change and development. The prefects as a group tackled some of the more arcane and arbitrary school rules about dress and behaviour and were able to make a few changes. It was an environment of possibility.