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My father


Seahame Tohn Hawk was born on the 5 November 1931 (during the Great Depression) in the small north-eastern New South Wales village of Evans Head. Little has been recorded or is known of his early life but soon after he was born, the family moved to Dubbo in central New South Wales and finally found themselves living in the northern beach suburb of Narrabeen. My father apparently did not like primary school and left as fast as he could (knowing Australian schools of that era which were fashioned on the English system and were nothing more than penal institutions for youngsters) I don't blame him.


My father often told me that one of his first jobs was on a "bread run" when he was about 14 but that position didn't appear to last long as he was rather a wag, getting into all sorts of mischief. One of my first recollections is being a small child (about 2 years old) in the Brisbane suburb of Capalaba (pronounced Car-pal-ar-bar and not as Sydney people pronounce it, Cappa-lar-bar!) where my father owned a farm of about 12 acres and my companion was a large poodle dog called Loopie (that's what a lot of my scientific enemies have called me during my life and worse! ha ha!). Loopie was a great dog and often allowed me to inspect his throat (I was practising to be a medical doctor!). Anyway, my father was now a golf professional and a very good one at that, teaching, playing and making golf clubs at the Royal Queensland Golf Club in Brisbane and previously at the Maryborough Golf Club. He was a really great and very fit sportsman, as some the photos here show. He often entertained a number of visiting golf dignitaries from overseas and trained a number of local golf professionals, including female ones! Such as great athletic sportsman was most likely to attract criticism and one of his main detractors was Norman Von Nida, which my father detested, and who finally recently died (thank goodness).


My father was a great success at this sport and could easily have been greater than any of the celebrities then or now but there was often much pressure on him and he may have suffered a nervous breakdown at some stage, although I am not sure. However, before I knew it, he had left the golf professional business and was employed in other areas and finally sold the farm at Capalaba and joined the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in 1961, when I was 5 years old. My father looked great in a uniform but looking back I wished he had have remained as a golf professional, but this was not to be. He completed his training successfully in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales and his first posting was to RAAF Operational Command at Glenbrook, New South Wales where he remained for 5 years and earned the respect of officers and non-commissioned ranks alike. He obtained the rank of Corporal there.


[One aspect of him which I vividly remember as a child, was his winter uniform which was dark blue and resembled a policeman's uniform. I was protected by this uniform at school because many bullies who wanted to pick on me because I was smaller and smarter than them, saw him and thought that he was a cop, so they stayed well away from me!] While he was stationed at Glenbrook I became really interested in natural history, exploring much of the bushland of the lower Blue Mountains before it was later destroyed by fires and residential development. Finally, in 1967 my father was transferred to Townsville in north-eastern Queensland. This was a great posting as it meant we got to live close to the ocean. While I was there I decided to become a marine biologist! My father didn't like Townsville very much and while he was there he started to become rather aloof and distant from our family. He was next transferred to Sale in Victoria, where we experienced one of the most terrible and stressing periods in our lives. We all became very sick there, especially my mother, during the wettest and coldest 12 months that that town had ever experienced. Our family had to leave there before my mother died and we were promptly transferred to Toowoomba in south-eastern Queensland, where the temperature was as cold but at least the place was drier.


My father stayed there another 2 years during which he was promoted to Sergeant. Upon gaining this promotion, we were again transferred, this time to Wagga Wagga in New South Wales where he had undergone his initial RAAF training. At the end of 1974 he was again transferred back to Operational Command (Glenbrook) During his stay there I attended the University of New England where I undertook studies for the BSC (Hons) degree. In 1977 our family heard that he was being transferred to Penang, Malaysia. My family and I were thrilled with this news as none of us had been overseas before. My father stayed there 4 years, longer than most and almost made Warrant Officer ranking. After returning to Australia in 1981, he worked at Richmond Air Force Base, Richmond, New South Wales for a few months before soon retiring from the RAAF and moving to Brisbane, Queensland, where he bought a small trucking business, which he ran for many years.