A Quieter Life…

1971

Australia – Chevron Paradise Hotel – an interest in a Night Club, Joan, and several appearances at the Court of the Crimson King…

Still enough focus to finish my studies…

1972

Australia – Chevron Paradise Hotel – a job offer from Rotorua New Zealand – my old home town.  Cyclone Daisy – 8 metre tides – floods – exited Gold Coast through Carrara – on a D9 Bulldozer…

New Zealand – Rotorua International Hotel at Whakarewarewa – right next to Pohutu geyser.

Sulphur smells.  Accepted position as General Manager – but my predecessor was also ‘in residence’ and suspect that my title only took effect when he was… distracted.

Hotel was 5 years old and never reached a profit.  Food costs were an issue, plugged some interesting leaks in the delivery chain.  90% of the guests were US tour groups and staff could see no reason for ice water on the tables – “We don’t do that here…”  They did.  Sunday nights were ‘rigor mortis’ in Rotorua – so we started a hangi and concert party in our conference room – invited other hotels to participate… it was a huge success.  Those hangi nights re-united me with the (extended) Morrison family – special people.


Rowing crew reunion – we had won the Kings Cup in 1964 – but the row from Ohinemutu sheds (the next morning) was not so impressive…

Began to get involved in international marketing operations – this would become my future direction… A year of recovery – at all levels…

1973

New Zealand – Rotorua International Hotel – still the ‘occasional’ General Manager. I had a house at Springfield – and a suite in the hotel. Plenty of spare time, so reactivated my pilot’s license and went back to snow skiing. Could combine both. Report engine problems overhead Taupo – and land (on the road) at The Chateau.

An involvement with the Miss New Zealand Pageant, and Denise. Annie (OVC days) and her sister visited for a week – and an old school master from Waitaki made the mistake of dining in my restaurant. As an angry (tearful and bullied) 14 year old, I had promised to get even with him one day – and I did.

Hotel showed first profits since opening – and negotiations commenced to sell the property to THC. I met CEO, Tony (AJ) Young for the first time – over next few months we became close friends – and a good management team.

The hotel was sold – I entered hospital for an ingroinal hernia operation – and AJ was one of my early visitors… he convinced me to become the Relieving Manager for THC – and I spent the next 6 months at Chateau Tongariro – it was ski season again!

1974

New Zealand – THC Chateau Tongariro.  Relieving GM, skiing during the day and ‘GM’ing at night. AJ was a regular visitor, also a skier, and he next offered me a few months at THC Waitangi Hotel. It was the marlin season, so I went – but stayed only 4 days. The accommodation was pitiful (I was being ‘precious’) – I resigned.

A huge rift between Tony and me, no contact again till 1987 (when my son was born). Regrets, we were a good team and could have done much together.  Visited the Gold Coast for the Delfos wedding, and decided to return – this time permanently.

Australia – Returned to Gold Coast late in the year and joined Quality Inns. George Schofield introduced me to the Grahams.

1975

Australia – Chateau Quality Inn – with DG.  Planning to start an Advertising Agency. Dinner at the Delfos’s – a blind date – met Anthea Godwin, firey little Jersey girl, who immediately left for Perth, muttering something about an ex-husband. Hate at first sight. A few months later we moved into her flat at Main Beach…

Gold Coast Colour Productions. Chance meeting with old friend Max Stuart – just returned from a holiday in Hawaii with a copy of This Week on Oahu… The advertising agency became a publishing house and on July 1, we launched This Week on the Gold Coast.

First venture into property development – The Fairways – on the first tee at Surfers Paradise Golf Club.  Gold Coast Tourism Bureau launched – invited to join inaugural marketing committee.

1976

Australia – I learn about Infertility… Our first trip to Melbourne & Monash University.  Introduced to Professor Carl Wood.  Soon to be the world authority on Infertility & IVF – In Vitro Fertilisation – Test Tube Babies.  Carl would become a dear (family) friend – but my first meeting was an embarrassing lecture from him – a sketch on a bar coaster – Anthea’s fallopian tubes…

We moved to Paradise Waters – bought a Cocker Spaniel. The magazine was becoming a success, and one delighted client delivered a Hobbie Cat as a gift.

USA – Marketing trip for The Fairways, returned with a dynamic campaign strategy, but the project sold off the plan! This was my first visit to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, USA & Hawaii – and my first (abortive) attempt to find Peter & Keith.

1977

Australia – launched Discover Brisbane magazine.

Our first IVF cycle – failed – traumatic for Anthea and she left for a holiday in UK and Jersey.  There she heard news of an early pregnancy – in Oldham.  Returned, new enthusiasm for a 2nd attempt. Tough lady – my little Pom!

1978

Australia – We married – in March.
Began breeding Cocker Spaniels. World’s first test Tube Baby, Louise Brown, born July 25. Some world interest, momentous day for us, just possibly…
Magazines growing. We bought some waterfront land, and began building our first home.

1979

Australia – Launched Discover Melbourne magazine.  Moved into the (unfinished) home at Sorrento Riverfront…

Our second IVF cycle – failed after 15 weeks.  Again traumatic – but this time, also encouraging. Melbourne still had one surviving pregnancy.

1980

Australia – Months spent finishing the house – two containers of Californian redwood and Canadian cedar… Offshore power boat racing – Peter G and I entered ‘Gold Coast One’ in the Pacific 1000 – 1000 mile race from Cairns to the Gold Coast.  Candice Reid (World’s second Test Tube Baby) was born in Melbourne – in August.

June – Our third IVF cycle – St Andrews Hospital, late at night (in the laboratory) playing backgammon with Professor Alan Trounson – he pulled me to the microscope… I saw my sperm enter Anthea’s egg.  I lost it – completely…  Up until then – it had been HER show – NOW I realised WE were involved in something very special.  We moved to a Melbourne hotel in December – tests – tests – tests…  And more tests.  We were pregnant…  VERY pregnant…

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More from John’s Story…

From To.. Page Name
 1967 1970  Into, and Out of, Africa
 1971 1980  A Quieter Life
1980  Offshore Racing
 1981 1990  The IVF Years
1987  It takes Three to Tango
1990  Cassy’s Story
 1991 2000  Going it Alone
 1991 2005  Tourism Marketing
1998  A House Somewhere
 2001 2010  A Change of Pace
2001  Fishing Trips
2005  More Fishing Trips
 2011 2020  Three Score Years and Ten?

 

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