At our September 17th meeting, in the absence of our planned speaker, Maree Stephenson, who was unable to attend, new member, Max Berry stepped up to the "plate" and provided members with an entertaining overview of his working life journey. See the details and another photo by clicking "Read more..."
New member, Max Berry's contact with our club commenced over five years ago when Max worked for the "Blaze Aid" organization in helping to repair fences on John and Alison Williamson's property after flood damage. The picture shows Max removing debris from one of the Williamson's fences during the two days he spent at "Lochinver", not realizing that a few years later, he would be speaking at a local Rotary meeting during Alison's Presidency of our club.
Max was born in Box Hill, lived in Ringwood, and got his first job as a paper-boy. He also raised money by retrieving and selling golf balls recovered from dams on a nearby golf course. He experienced a rather "pressured" education at Carey Baptist Grammar school, and felt the need to take "gap" year after he completed his studies in 1980. He then took some work pushing trolleys at a supermarket and saved enough to drive up the east coast of Australia to Fraser Island in a HR Holden Station Wagon.
Upon his return to Australia, Max completed a Commerce degree at Melbourne University and realized that what he would really like to do is become a journalist. With no work in that field readily available in 1985, he did the "Backpacker thing" and travelled to England. From there, Max "backpacked" his way around Europe, travelling on overnight trains to save accommodation costs. Jobs were plentiful in England, so he took up a position as a "Settlement Clerk" in a Foreign Bank for ten months.
After he returned to Australia, he got a job in financial services in Melbourne. In 1990, the industry came to a crashing halt, and Max was in the midst of things as the Pyramid Building Society fell down along with the State Bank. In late 1990, Max got involved with community radio in Melbourne, but he really needed paid work, so he went back to London. Unfortunately, there was no paid work there. When he got back to Australia, Max discovered that there might be a niche for him in travel writing. He sent stories to the Age and to the Herald Sun, and the Herald Sun liked what they saw, so Max was offered a position as a "Quality Certification News" journalist - a position he held for ten years.
In 2012, Max spent an interesting period in Timor Leste as an election observer, and found the place to be a wonderful, tropical paradise with excellent snorkeling, diving and bushwalking opportunities - well worth a visit. Upon his return to Australia, Max discovered that Williamstown Rotary had initiated a project in Balibo, East Timor to restore a Portuguese Fort there. There is now a small museum at the fort, commemorating Australia's operation against the Japanese in 1942 - at the same time as Darwin was being attacked by Japanese bombers. Needless to say, Max used his journey to Timor as the basis of one of his travel pieces.
Members look forward to hearing more of the journeys of Max Berry.