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Ron Jackson's Story

Having just turned 15, I applied for an advertised position with Queensland Insurance, at their Sydney Branch located at 80 - 82 Pitt Street Sydney, where the Company Head Office was also located. I was interviewed for the position by both Stan Maddock and Eric Kitto. During my interview with Eric Kitto he asked "boy what sports do you play" to which I replied "Australian Rules Football" he replied "Australian Rules that's great", as I then found out that he came from South Australia, where the game was the prominent winter sport. Back in those days, not many people in Sydney played the game.

I think that connection played a part in my selection for the Chatswood position, and my appointment for the position in Papua New Guinea, both of which I refer to latter in this article.

As with most new male junior employees, I commenced my employment in the mail room. After about six weeks, I was transferred to the Motor Vehicle Department, where I held several positions over a two year period (under the management of Owen Peek and Jack Uni), before being transferred to the Workers Compensation claims department, where Jack Holdstock was manager. Once again after about two years I was offered the position of Inspector at Chatswood Branch on the Sydney North Shore, under the management of Keith Oswald, then Stan Bennett.

I had little, or no experience relating to the various insurance products to be sold, as my experience to that stage was motor vehicle underwriting and workers comp claims. So it was a case of trial, and if successful, little error. The first I knew about the new position at Chatswood was an internal letter, which indicated what was required regarding the use and care of a company vehicle. On questioning the letters contents, I was informed that I should not have received that letter at that stage.

Another interesting aspect, and area of concern for me was that the company vehicle to be provided was a 1961 manual Holden. As I could only drive an automatic transmission vehicle, I had to arrange for my brother to pick up the vehicle on the Friday, and learn to drive the vehicle over the weekend, so I could drive to work on the Monday.

After completing around five years at Chatswood, I was summoned to Head Office, where I was offered the position of District Manager, Lae, Papua New Guinea, by Kevin Birchill International Manager, the location of which I had to look up in my atlas. Having accepted the position, where I was offered a salary increase for the promotion of some $400 per annum. I decided to travel with my wife and two year old daughter, in our own time, that being a Saturday. On our arrival, I found out that in PNG they worked on Saturdays. One of the last things I did before leaving PNG was to abolish Saturday work.

Whilst in PNG, QBE came into existence, but we continued for some years still trading as Queensland Insurance (PNG) Ltd. With the merging of QI and B&T, I was transferred to the Head Office in Port Moresby as assistant manager, under Don Granter. Then on Don's return to Australia, after some 18 years in PNG (a record period that will not be beaten), I then worked under Jim Dawe. I had initially asked to return to Sydney shortly after Jim Dawe's appointment, and I was asked to do an additional year in PNG, allowing Jim to settle into the position, and was promised, and I quote,"we will look after you on your return to Sydney".

But on completing my term in PNG, the Regional Manager had been moved. It was not until we arrived back to Sydney, where I was asked to immediately attend Head Office, that I found out that the new position on offer was Workers Compensation Claims Manager, Sydney Branch. A position that they had not been able to fill for some 6 months.

I indicated that I had no Workers Compensation Claims experience, nor knowledge of the Workers Compensation Act, to which they said, yes you have, you worked in that department in the 60s, yes as a 17 year old. Being Company minded, unfortunately I accepted the position and as a reward, for the first time in many years I no longer had a company vehicle.

I held the Claims Managers position for just under 12 months, a period I consider the worst in my long career. Before taking up the role of District Manager Burwood, and then Area Sales Manager Chatswood, and finally Area Sales Manager Parramatta.

After some three years back in Sydney, I was offered the position of Assistant Manager for Fiji, which I gladly accepted. Thus I recommenced overseas service, and in 1983 I was promoted to the position of General Manager after the retirement of Lloyd Liddell. I did not fill my previous position and for the first time in many years we only had one expat in Fiji.

Not only did I take over the role of General Manager, but I also filled the many rolls that Lloyd filled. Such as Chairman of the Underwriters Association, Board of Fire Commissioners, Board of Fiji Re, Secretary of the Suva Lions Club, VP of the Fiji Institute of Management, Committee of Suva Chamber of Commerce, Member of Fiji Building Standards Committee and President of Laucala Bay Tennis Club.

The reason for the setting up of the Building Standards Committee (mentioned above) resulted from major Cyclone damage, during 1984/85, resulting in catastrophe reinsurers questioning their continuation in providing cover in Fiji. The insurance industry with some backing from the Insurance Commissioner, behind the scenes, withdrew all of the cyclone cover from all policies.

The industry provided details of what was required in upgrading properties to cyclone resistance standards, so that cover could be once again be offered, subject to an increased premium and excess. QI employed an in-house engineer, to selectively test the standard of upgrades, and keep everyone honest.

Due to the large increase in catastrophe premiums imposed on underwriters, two companies, Fiji Insurance and GRE, exited the market, both companies representing 45% of the market. Fiji Insurance Company (a combination of Fiji Insurance and NZI) cancelled every policy from 31 December, with QI increasing its annual premium income (due to the company's withdrawal), by some 87%, and employing several staff who had previously worked for Fiji Insurance.

Due to my eldest daughter reaching a stage of her education, where if my family continued to live in Fiji, her continued education was becoming a problem, as such I asked to return to Australia.

Management in Sydney later asked that I consider a posting to Malaysia, to which I responded, "how does that solve the education problem"? They indicated that they would be prepared to fund the cost of my daughter attending a private school in Australia, and if I was even slightly interested I should travel to Sydney for further discussions.

My arrival in Sydney in August 1986, coincided with the Centenary year, of QI /QBE, and the Annual General Board Meeting. On being introduced to a Board member," he said I have heard you're the man going to Malaysia to sort out our problems." This comment surprised me, as I was only looking to see if I, and my family, should go.

At that point of time QBE's operation in Malaysia, saw them holding 41% of the shares and Supreme Corporation holding 51% with the balance held by locals and QBE had none of their own staff in residence.

As it turned out during my brief visit to Sydney, it was decided that I should undertake a quick visit to Kuala Lumpur, to see things for myself. It was obvious during my visit that Supreme QBE was in financial trouble, requiring a further injection of capital to remain solvent.

QBE was to inject $2,000,000 into the Company, and I was told if it was not for me accepting the appointment they would not have agreed to provide further capital.

As it turned out when I took up the position, which was as Technical Director, that additional capital never arrived, and I was compelled to lie to brokers, saying that the funding had been provided, without that confirmation a large amount of business would have been withdrawn.

A detailed review of all claims revealed, that the claims provisions were inadequate, and the Company was in more trouble than previously realised. As such, a decision was made to cease trading, and go into runoff, and QBE management was able to negotiate with Government, that subject to QBE providing substantial funding to support some of the short fall in claims funding, they would receive a new licence in their own right. I was offered the position as the new General Manager, but after due consideration, I declined and asked to return to Australia.

Back in Sydney I filled the position as General Claims Manager Sydney Branch, after the retirement of Keith Galloway. After a short term in the new position, I decided to leave QBE and team up with Rupert Taylor, who acted as Principal Agent for QBE, so even though I left the direct employ they were still paying me.

I remained with Rupert until I decided to retire in 1999, age 52. Prior to my retirement, and then after, I assisted Don Granter in the running of the QI Oldies group by assisting in the production of the quarterly newsletter and acting as our quarterly luncheon organiser.

In more recent years, Richard Quartermaine has produced the groups newsletter, and provided an excellent website, providing a large amount of historical information about QI. In 2002 Don Granter asked me to fill his role as the driving force for the QBE Outreach Retirement Group, where I continue to hold the position of National Coordinator, and as it has turned out having now produced, over the last 17 years, 34 of the 36 newsletters issued.

Below:- Ron, the manager, Lloyd manager with Ron in earlier days, and Suva staff.

Ron Jackson Ron and LLoyd Suva Staff

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Don Granter's Story

Granters and Naylors

Left and Right:- Pam and Don Granter with Rufe and Evelyn Naylor (centre) October 2001

My first band was from age 12 at the Goulburn, NSW Salvation Army Gill Memorial home for eighty boys (age 6 to 16) (two dormitories - one primary school age and one high school age) from 1943 - 1947, where I and my three younger brothers lived after our mother died in 1942 and until the first reaching age 16, or attaining what was then called the Intermediate Certificate.

Achievement of that Certificate first, was my CV for employment with QI Sydney from 1st June 1947. Two of my brothers Noel and Jim were band members after me. After leaving the home Noel started an apprenticeship in commercial art, then along came the National Service, "Nashoes" from where he joined the Regular Army, serving in Korea and elsewhere, resigning in 1976 as a Major to take up appointment as Bursar, Stirling College Canberra until in 1990 retiring to an 80 acre hobby farm at Gunning, currently with 10 Alpacas and his second wife.

Jim on leaving, joined the Bank of NSW, (now Westpac), served in Fiji, several NSW Country Branches and Sydney before retiring there with wife in 1999 and continuing his Christian work.

Grahame the youngest on leaving, also joined the Bank of NSW but after 2 years decided that wasn't for him and as fortune would have it, a late electrical apprenticeship was able to be arranged by Jake Tindale QI Engineering Department, with Stowe Electric, a QI customer, Druitt Place Sydney. Grahame worked in New Zealand and PNG (when Don was there with QI ) eventually started his own one man electrical service, traveling Australia until establishing his business in Townsville and retiring to a 5 acre farm at Kilcoy Qld, where he lives with his wife.

Coincidentally, Grahame learnt the clarinet during his apprenticeship, so completing a musical tradition.

My second band was in 1950 when Ray Ward (ex Newcastle Branch and Head Office Overseas Dept, later GIO) and I joined the Naval Reserve Band at Rushcutters Bay in 1950, he on the tenor trombone and I on the baritone (the instrument between the tenor horn and the euphonium).

When QI transferred me to Lae, PNG in September, 1958 I had the rank of Band Corporal and the two highlights of my eight years with the Sydney Band were, firstly two weeks at sea as the ship's band on the Aircraft Carrier "Vengeance" on loan from the British Navy in the 1950's, when the carrier was engaged in pilot flight training (circuits and bumps) at Jervis Bay in their Firefly and Sea Fury planes. The band were allowed on the bridge to watch them coming in.

Absolutely fascinating experience, those blokes are mad and a few of them gave the signaler at the stern guiding them in a few heart aches and often a last minute jump into the safety net thus avoiding a fast approaching wing, after he had flagged them to go round and try again.

I recall they only lost one plane during the two weeks on board but the pilot was OK.

The second highlight was rendering the National Anthem, then "God Save the Queen" when Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip landed from the pinnace at Farm Cove during, I recall the 1954 Royal Tour. No Opera House in those days.

Sometime in the eight years with the band we converted to a "Military Band" ensemble, requiring the introduction of "reed instruments", ie saxes, clarinets, flutes, piccolos, oboes and the like. My experience then expanded into playing the euphonium, tenor trombone, and finally E flat bass in that order.

We of course had other annual training trips to Canberra and Flinders Naval Depot (HMAS Cerberus) a few years, and every ANZAC Day in Sydney we led a service contingent.

Nice Memories!! Hope you enjoyed my sharing them with you......

Don Granter (January 2010)

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Richard Quartermaine's Story

Who Said Retirement Was Easy

Here is a snapshot of my retirement. it is not the one Margaret and I had planned, but rather the one that eventuated.

A synopsis of the journey to retirement has me joining Queensland Insurance at Sydney in May of 1957. I had already spent six years in the British and Australian Merchant Navies (including Burns Philp ships 1948/49) and three years with Western Assurance Company at their Toronto, Canada head office. Margaret and I married a few weeks after I joined QI and so began our 58 years with QI and QBE association, to date. Of course, it is 67 years since I sailed with Burns Philp.

June 1959 saw us en-route to Fiji and 1968 to Singapore with two family additions, Fiji born Estelle and Richard junior. In August 1971 we were off to London Branch.

London reinsurance desk and hours of commuting did not offer the challenges I craved. I quit, sold our house in West Sussex, piled the family into the station wagon and went looking for 'Camelot'. We found the next best place; Kinclaven, a few hundred yards from the River Tay, ten miles North of Perth, Scotland.

For more than two years Margaret and I spent quality time with Estelle and Rick on five arable acres with a two hundred year old stone and slate smithy, house and byre. We turned the byre into two self-catering suites to suit visiting salmon anglers and at the same time I worked as payroll officer on the North Sea oil pipeline construction site in nearby village of Coupar Angus. The property was known locally as The Auld Smiddy and over forty-five years later it is still operating as such. Only the name was partly anglified to The Old Smiddy. To see their current website, click here The Old Smiddy, Kinclaven, Scotland

We celebrated New Year with our neighbors, marveled at the Northern Lights in winter and made the most of the long twilights of summer. Our tap-water was piped from the same pristine loch as the Bells' whisky distillery.

In December 1975, thoroughly refreshed, it was time to make a positive move back into commerce and as Malayan Insurance Group planned the establishment of a joint venture in Indonesia I applied for and got the job. In 1979 Malayan asked me to move to Singapore and head their new Malayan/Zurich Insurance regional joint venture establishment operations.

PT Asuransi Antar Malayan Bali staff group

It was now 1985, Estelle had married and was living in Australia, Rick had turned twenty-one and was no longer entitled to reside in Singapore as a dependent and 'Malayan' offered me the Vice President International office in Manila. Margaret and I decided that twenty-six years overseas was long enough and so we packed our bags; and a container I might add, and came home to Australia.

Looking for a place to settle, we thought we would give Katoomba, in the magnificent Blue Mountains, a whirl to see if we liked it. Here we are still, twenty-seven years later, not all that far away from Estelle and husband Stephen Meyer (with QBE, Sydney), three grandsons and one great-grandson.

Rick moved to South Carolina in 1999 but we do wish he was here.

Margaret and Richard on moving to KatoombaRichard retiredThe family Dec, 2010

(1) Richard and Margaret Quartermaine at Echo Point, Katoomba (2) Richard on his retirement in June, 2009 (3) Richard Junior (Rick), Estelle, Margaret and Richard, Boxing Day 2010

But I digress. After a short stint with a broker, insurance consultancy seemed the way to go and at this time I also became a member of Don Granter's QI Oldies. It was great to be together with old friends and colleagues, many of whom were with QBE or in other, mostly insurance, work. I found myself happily acquiring business for QBE. This continued for some years until April, 2000 when I was approached to develop the Federal Government funded Blue Mountains, Lithgow and Oberon Regional Chamber of Commerce. We named it BIZNET.

In 2004 I was pleased to accept Life Membership of BIZNET and hand over the reins to someone younger.

Was this the opportunity to really retire? Back in 1994 there was a call for me to assist the Lithgow Business Enterprise Centre with their Federal Government funded New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS). The purpose of this scheme was to provide opportunities for self employment. My role began as a mentor and in 1999 Mission Australia won the tender and I took on the assessment and acceptance panel at Katoomba, Mount Druitt, Sydney City and Parramatta. This continued until June 2009 when the new Federal Government decided that classes would be discontinued and correspondence courses would be in lieu. This has now, wisely, reverted back to the original.

Yes, I have retired and now content myself with publishing Don Granter's quarterly QI Oldies newsletter, 'Spotlight', running the QI Oldies website, participating in the British Merchant Navy old Pals website and getting under Margaret's feet.

BIZNET - Blue Mountains Lithgow and Oberon Regional Chamber of Commerce LINK

New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) Opportunities for Self Employment LINK

Richard Quartermaine

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David O'Halloran's Story

ONE CAREER, born of QI

Whilst surprised by Don Granter’s approach to do an article, I thought: let’s give it a go. Never having done something like this previously, I’m uncertain of what to include, but here goes!

THE QI YEARS

Perhaps the BEST Years, these started on the 15th December, 1952. Having just completed my Junior and needing a job (an only child, my father died in a car accident when I was 4), I first applied to a shipping company, McDonald Hamilton, but was not successful. Neither with my next attempt: Australian Mutual Fire Insurance. With QI it was third time lucky! (Although I learnt that my grandfather, Ralph Hatch, was apparently the first QI manager in Perth. Before an eventual GM, George Kerruish).

After a year as office boy followed by Renewals and then joining the Fire Department, I was fortunate enough , in 1956 at the relatively tender age of 19, to be appointed (by Herbie Vizzard) as Resident Inspector of Bundaberg. The total premium for the territory at the time (in 1956 currency) was A£7,600/-/-. However my pay was less than 10% of that!

Earlier Jim Dodds had brought the Insurance Institute examinations to my attention, and I got going on what eventually led to two Fellowship degrees (Fire and accident in the old currency).

At the end of 1959 I decided to see the world and left for London. Thanks initially to Alan Poole, and then Freddie Jenkins the London Manager, I started with London Office in January 1960. As far as I know I was the first person from QI in Australia to be employed in the London office, which had been operating since before 1900 (I would be quite happy to learn of any Aussies before then). In all its time London office had never had a staff Christmas party, so you will not be surprised to learn that I organised the first one! Everyone attended, except the Manager. But he did make a tape recorded message which was played to the gathering. In a small way like the Queen’s Christmas message!

But the most notable event of my time in London had nothing to do with insurance. This was meeting Druscille on the 24th June, 1961, and, in 1963, we were married. Kevin arrived about a year later followed by Donald the next year. My hope was to get some experience in the USA after London, but that was not to be. In August 1961 I was offered the position of Manager for East Pakistan and, after checking an atlas to find out where it was, I accepted. After a couple of month’s orientation in Karachi, and a shorter time in Calcutta, I took up the position in Dacca. It is interesting to note that the QI, which set up in India before 1900, was at the time the largest foreign insurer in Pakistan. Of the many happenings during the Pakistan period, including, most importantly, our wedding, I will mention just one. On one occasion at a meeting with Horace Moorhouse in Calcutta where he was stopping on the way to London, I decided to walk out on him over an issue. The impetuousness of youth.

DEFECTION

A further tour of duty in Pakistan was proposed, but as a young married, and after over four years away from Australia, I declined the offer. With some trepidation I wondered what might be on offer, and it turned out to be the Albury office. I must say that did not seem too appealing an I really wanted to set up in Sydney. Fortunately, I saw an advertisement by Switzerland General for a NSW Manager. The indicated age range was 30 to 50 and, whilst I was just 27, I thought let’s give it a go. I started in January 1964.

The very fine Jim Ponsonby helped me write my resignation letter, and a meeting with the then General Manager, Roy Fenton, followed. During our conversation he asked where I was going. I was a little reluctant to say as I was not sure, in those days, whether there might be a phone call to try to block the move. However Fenton said he just wanted to be sure I was not going to FAI! (Coincidentally, throughout all my broking days, I never even considered FAI paper. Also avoided Palmdale and Bishopsgate, and never had any defaulting security).

The QI years had been a great grounding and really enjoyable, and it was with both sadness, as well as much anticipation, that I began my first non-QI role.

GAMEKEEPER TO POACHER

The Switzerland General position proved very challenging and, in the second half of 1965, I decided to seek other pastures. At the time AMP was taking over the running of its general business, and a General Manager was being sought. I had a go but lost out to John Staveley. There were probably a few others in the line ahead of me as well! Eventually I joined CT Bowring - and the then still developing broking world. What an eye opener that was. I thought I knew a bit, but this opened up a whole new world. And one with which I was extremely comfortable.

Indeed I was so comfortable with the activity, I decided I wanted to have my own operation. So at the end of 1970, in conjunction with Slater Walker interests in Australia and the UK, I began Rose Thomson Young (RTY). In the first year we set up offices in all of the state capitals except Tasmania. On the letterhead we had put "Established London 1818". Only years later I learned that it was Glasgow rather than London - about the second or third broker to be accredited at Lloyd’s I believe. Another story from the RTY years: employing a person who eventually became a billionaire! Late in 1971 I flew to Singapore to assist the Slater Walker chief there in assessing a candidate he was considering to run an insurance company that was one of their interests. I supported the appointment as, to me, he seemed to have adequate knowledge and other attributes. Since that appointment Ong Beng Seng, with whom I still have occasional contact, has gone on to much bigger challenges in other fields, and has reportedly reached the financial status which I mentioned.

Following a series of overseas mergers, RTY, which had developed very successfully, merged with the long-established HG Poland in 1975 to become Wigham Poland, and I became Chairman/CEO. I also retained my equity. Overseas, Wigham Poland was eventually acquired by Fred S James, which later became part of the Transamerica group. Then, in 1985, Transamerica did a deal with Sedgwick and all the broking operations became part of that of that group. Fortunately all this was rather beneficial financially to me! I also joined the main Sedgwick Australia board as one of three directors.

YPO

During my broking days I was most fortunate to become a member of YPO (Young President’s Organisation). This provided great scope for learning, both as regards business as well as more broadly. Apart from local activities, there were major international events lasting over a week (and called universities) held in all parts of the world. Apart from one in Sydney, we also attended gatherings in Paris, London, Rio, Mexico City and Tokyo. In Mexico I had the great experience of walking barefoot over about 8 metres of hot coals....and surviving!

LLOYD'S

Also in this period I became a (so called) Name at Lloyd’s, and remained so for almost 25 underwriting years. In the end this turned out to be a rather sobering (financial) experience! It has been more rewarding for QBE.

VINTAGE PORT AND VINTAGE YEARS

When Don wrote proposing an article, a key reference was to a bottle of vintage port given as a gift to Wigham Poland clients and staff over 20 years ago (see label). It was consumed in the Granter home earlier this year (2005); no doubt the last bottle in captivity! What a patient man. Don thought I might develop the article around the port, but Iwill certainly use it to add something further about my (vintage) work.

I guess one of the main overall points is he human focus - both clients and colleagues. They must come first. One example in our broking group was a policy that no caller on the phone was to be asked who was calling. If the person called was available, the call was put through. The caller never needed to wonder if the person called was available or not available, depending on the caller. Also, those called had to front up, whatever the issue.

A CHANGE OF DIRECTION

I decided to retire from insurance broking in 1986, not due to any dissatisfaction with the insurance world but just feeling the need, after almost 34 years straight, to have a change. I took up philosophy studies through the University of New England, as well as doing a limited amount of consulting. I also continued as a board member of the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA).

At the beginning of 1989 I was approached to join the board of the GIO. This began a ten year association which included the 1992 privatisation. In 1995, in addition to my main board duties, I also got back into full-time harness for about two years as Asian Regional Director based in Kuala Lumpur. (Of course those GIO years could be a fairly lengthy article on their own).

THESE DAYS

I have recently completed a two-year stint as Chairman of the local Lloyd’s members association, and continue as treasurer. Other insurance contact is continued through some consulting assignments.

When in London in July (2005), I was interested to note a newly completed building in the city had been named MOORHOUSE ( it was in Moorgate area). I guess Horace would have been pleased! On this trip I also attended the Lord’s test. Apart from the cricket, Pims at UK£9 a glass was rather a shock!

QI POSTSCRIPTS

I was extremely fortunate that friend, and former QI colleague, Frank Coyne, joined me at RTY, and continued through to, and beyond, my retirement. As many will know, he is a person of outstanding ability. Other former QI people who, at one time or another, joined our broking group were Don Granter (great job, Don) and John Layton. Also, in his retirement, Herbie Vizzard at our Brisbane office. Sort of full circle.

As my QI years progressed I entertained the thought that one day an O’Halloran might get the top job. And it did happen....but it was Frank!

It’s great to be a QI Oldie. QI/BE forever.

David O’Halloran (August 2005)

David O'Halloran David O'Halloran

(1) David O'Halloran, flanked by Don Granter (left) and Colin Copus (right) (2) David with Andy Aitken (left) and Jack Moss at Terrigal 2009

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Norm Simcock's Story

Jack Taylor, Brisbane Manager, was good enough to give me my first job. I started with the QI as office boy in 1954 following in the footsteps of David O'Halloran. Like David, the next move was to Renewals Clerk where life was interrupted by six months RAAF National Service at Amberley.

Life was a little slow after my return to the Office but one item I can remember was driving David's new car up to him in Bundaberg where he was the Resident Inspector. As I stopped the car, opening the door to greet David, the gear lever came off in my left hand.

Accident claims and then Marine work preceded a visit to the Branch by Alan Poole who, among other things, was searching out volunteers for overseas service. I was very quick off the mark but Mr Poole suggested that it would be good for me to "wait until I matured a little" as I was only 19.

Shortly after I became mature and turned 21, I successfully applied for a posting to Singapore which made me a very excited young fellah. Two weeks in Sydney where I met that great bloke, Jim Ponsonby who very quietly pointed out to me that there was no U in Qantas plus a lunch with Charlie Slater and Jack Taylor at the NRMA club, I was off on a Friday morning in one of those grand old ladies, the Super Constellation.

This "mature" traveller almost expired with embarrassment when the hostie announced "we will arrive in Melbourne in 1hour and 20 minutes." I thought we were going to Singapore and was not aware it was via Melbourne and Perth. There was a Qantas engineering delay in Perth so I took the opportunity to call on the QI where the Manager took me to watch Subiaco play. I was lucky enough to meet Mr C E Gibson who had been in Singapore both pre and post WW2.

The Singapore Office was seeing a change over in staff. Lloyd Liddell had just returned to Australia and George Wedlock had come over from Djakarta to relieve him while my arrival allowed Stan Scott to go on leave. Stan was to return from leave to manage Singapore, Malaya and North Borneo while I was to be his assistant.

Life and work were good. There was a lot to learn and much travel around Malaya and North Borneo. A hobby was required and so together with Niell B Aitken from McAlister's I joined the Singapore Military Forces Army Reserve. We figured it was the best way to get a break from work, stay out of trouble and drink duty free beer. After officer cadet training run by the British Army we, as platoon commanders, learned about Military "Aid to the Civil Power" and Jungle Warfare, interesting times. 1962 Singapore saw the commencement of a cycle to increase QI staff by one to allow me to open the office in Kuala Lumpur so up came Graham Tillotson from Victoria. Graham's arrival allowed me and then Stan to take leave.

Six months later and all leave finalised we got down to some hard work which included my move to Kuala Lumpur where McAlister's made room for me in the Office and the Mess. There was a tremendous amount of travel around Malaya involved as I endeavoured to let anyone who would listen know that the QI was now in residence and that we were looking for good representatives who would have my support. To continue with my hobby I arranged a transfer to the Malaysian Armed Forces where I converted from Infantry to Signals.

In due course, Graham Tillotson arrived in KL to allow me to go on leave. He was replaced in Singapore by Darryl Kelly who came up from Perth. In Head Office, Jim Ponsonby was pulling all the right strings to ensure our wheel kept turning. Stan went on leave when I returned with my Bride and then in 1965 just prior to my return to Kuala Lumpur from Singapore where I was relieving Stan, Cyril Smyth passed through having finished up in India.

Others who passed through Singapore in my time were Ted Lonard, Kevin Burchill, David O'Halloran, Bill Aubin of the B&T, Jim Ponsonby and Horace Moorhouse. My apologies to anyone I have missed.

One staff member of the Singapore Office deserves special mention and that is Shaik Kader who joined McAlisters in 1919. He served with and remembered Alan Poole and the rest and was as sprightly as ever. Stan or I took him for a beer every Christmas. It was rumoured he purposely lost his Singapore Identity card to ensure attention was not drawn to his age.

In Singapore

1965 - Left to Right:- McAlister Staff, Graham Tillotson, Teo Kwang Whee, Chung Fatt Yat (McAlisters), Norm Simcock, George Moulton (McAlisters), Cyril Smyth QI Manager for India, Pakistan & Burma, Stan Scott Singapore/Malaysia/Brunei, Daryll Kelly (McAlisters), Glynn Simcock, Pauline Scott, Mrs F Y Chung

Norm Simcock Norm Simcock

Unfortunately, due to ill health, my wife and I had to return to Australia in July of 1965. In the meantime, Don Granter had been waiting in Port Moresby to go on Leave. Jim Posonby, Mr Fixit of the Overseas Department asked me to relieve Don so I went up to Port Moresby in September.

I returned to Brisbane in February of 1966 where Herbie Vizzard and Frank Coyne had been good enough to take me on strength allowing Colin Laffey to go to Singapore the previous year. I stayed with the QI until August 1967 when I left to join the AMP Society. I had some hesitation at leaving the only employment world with which I was familiar but I had no desire to 'now learn about insurance in Australia' as it was put to me.

AMP, who had only the one Branch in each State, was a good employer and after the takeover of their Fire and General business from the United settled down I moved to Manager, Life New Business. In succession I then moved through other life departments, including converting the Branch of 700 souls to centralised Word Processing, then Superannuation and finally to Sales Division and Administration Manager.

Retirement saw us move to the Gold Coast but within a few years we realised that it was not the life style we wanted and the search was on. 2003 saw us find out five acres in the sun in Kooralbyn Valley. We cleared our land and built a home on a ridgeline some 600 ft above sea level. We have great views of the McPherson Ranges which mark the border between Queensland and those who live to the south.

Norm Simcock (May 2010)

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This is George Bradley's Story.

George Bradley George Bradley George Bradley George Bradley

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