I am the second eldest of 4 children whose childhood contained many trips into remote areas of Australia. As a result of this travelling, we saw many scenic attractions that a lot of other people have not had the chance to experience.
During the late 1960’s, after a move to Sydney for my father’s work career, I joined the Scouting Movement, continuing through the Cub, Scout and Venturer sections at which time I was awarded my Queen Scout, then progressing on to the Rover Section and becoming a Troop Leader. It was during my time in the Scout section that I had my first introduction to Square Dancing. In the early 1970’s, the Scout Group I was a member of held annual functions with the local Guide Group, one of whose leaders was the wife of the local Square Dance Club, The Wanderers.
It was also during this period that I was able to participate in a some other activities that were rare for a teenager – Target Rifle Shooting and Caving to name a couple. I am lucky, if you like to call it that, to have my photo in some caving publications that are still available today, and was involved with an expedition to the Gordon River region in Tasmania in 1994, which proved to be instrumental in saving the Franklin/Lower Gordon Rivers from a massive dam construction.
In 1985, soon after the breakdown of my parent’s marriage, I started to attend regularly with my mother the Double H Square Dance Club, then run by Sue Humphries and Ashley Shore. Towards the end of that year, after I had danced all the Mainstream program with my mother, I was asked to join a Competition Team being trained by Sue. It was as part of this team that I danced as part of the Demonstration Teams presented by Ron Jones during the 1988 National Square Dance Convention at Homebush.
I started Round Dancing in 1986 with Dick & Mavis Schwarze at the Dance-Around Club at West Ryde, and in 1989 after introducing some friends to Round Dancing was encouraged by Dick to start my own club, which became Southside Rounds. I also became a member of what was then the Round Dance Council of NSW and Roundalab, the International Organisation for Round Dancing.
In 1995, I was elected as President of the Round Dance Council which I held for a period of 4 years. My second period as President started in 2003, again for 4 years, which was the time that we Incorporated into the Round Dance Association of NSW Inc. In 2009, I was elected as Secretary/Treasurer, again for a 4 year term before becoming President again in 2013. Late in 2013, I became a key member of a group to amalgamate the Round Dance Association, the Callers Association and the Square Dance Society into the current NSW Square and Round Dance Association Inc in 2014. As the then incumbent President of the Round Dance Association, I became the first Vice President Rounds in the new Association, a position I still hold.
I was joined by Lynn Yager as my Teaching Partner in 1994, and since then we have attended a number of International Round Dance Weekends within Australia, as well as attending 2 US National and Roundalab Conventions as well as 3 New Zealand National Conventions. We have also been on the Committees for 3 Australian National Conventions – 2006 & 2013 at Niagara Park, and 2014 at Canberra, all of which I was also the Round Dance Programmer. I have also been the Round Dance Programmer for all NSW State Conventions since 1995 except 3.
I have tried hard in recent years to promote Round Dancing within NSW to the extent of gaining the support from a number of Square Dance Callers, and although Lynn & I are still learning different ways of teaching to get the message across and actually learn new figures ourselves, we have offered our services to country based Callers & Square Dancers to run weekend workshops if required. I am lucky to have worked so closely with Brian Hotchkies over a number of years, and I am now the regular cuer for the Hunter Valley weekend and the Armidale Festival weekend, as well as having guest appearances at other weekend events when I can get the time away from work.
I would like to think that I have made a difference to the Round Dance movement in NSW, and will continue to do my best for all dancers on the dance floor.