Executive Officer, World Tropics Management
Q. Your link to Townsville?
I come from a large family in Townsville. All 11 of my brothers and sisters still live there. I went to St Patrick’s College on The Strand and then James Cook University, where I studied Science. I ended up being a lecturer there for quite some time and the reason I came to Cairns was to help set up the Science Faculty at the JCU campus at Smithfield.
Q. What does your work involve?
I’m an Executive Officer in a World Heritage Unit based in Cairns. Australia has 19 World Heritage areas and the Wet Tropics is one of those. We actually have two World Heritage areas side by side with the rainforest and the reef and my work area is responsible for managing the rainforest component from Paluma up to Cooktown.
Q. What are you working on?
We’re celebrating 30 years of Wet Tropics World Heritage, so I’m just finishing a report on what World Heritage means for the local and regional economies–how much it’s worth and how special it is to people.
Q. What’s happening with your family life?
I have an 18-year-old son Louis, who is in Townsville to live with his father and study Law at JCU. My youngest son Frank is finishing Grade 10.
Q. How did Townsville help set you up for success?
I think it was the education and the quality of teaching. Being taught in a Catholic school where there was a really good investment in education by the nuns was key. There was never any question that, when you finished school, you’d go to university. The JCU Townsville campus, where I studied Science, was also fantastic and highly recognised for both Geology and Marine Biology.
Q. Do you still come ‘home’ to Townsville to visit?
A couple of times a year at least and the family still go to mass at Cathedral or St Joey’s on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.