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Mike Shackleton, Office Staffer, Newsletter Team. Joined 2010
My story began in Newmarket, England, where I was born during World War 2. My father was a ground engineer based in that part of England and my mother ran a hairdressing business. I didn’t see much of my father during the first four years of my life, and consequently I became close to my mother during that time. After the war my mother’s parents emigrated to New Zealand (by flying boat) and shortly after that, in 1950, we emigrated as well – by boat via the Suez Canal. Funnily enough, one of the ports we called into on the way was Melbourne – little did I realise that I would live here one day.
We lived in Wellington, the capital, where I received my education and started my first job working for National Airways (now part of Air New Zealand). Like all teenagers I learnt to play a guitar and became involved in a skiffle group which later changed to a rock and roll Band (a là Shadows) and then followed the Beatles. Much to my parents’ horror I resigned my job and became a full time musician and we took up a residency in Auckland which lasted for a year. During this time we toured with Gene Pitney, Dinah Lee and opened shows for the Rolling Stones and Roy Orbison and also played venues with Max Merrit and the Meteors and Ray Columbus and the Invaders. I am still in regular contact with the fellow members of the band and we can reminisce about the ‘good old days’.
After the band I returned to National Airways and became involved in computers after I discovered I had an aptitude for programming. Computers in those days (1967) did not have disk drives. All storage was on magnetic tapes, so access to information was generally very slow and nothing like it is today. At the time the airline was implementing a computer reservations and message switching system (replacing teleprinters and punched cards) so it was a very exciting time to be around. Computer programming and analysis were to be my career from that time on, although I was still involved in bands on a part-time basis. Marriage and children were also a big factor and life was very busy.
In 1984 I moved with the family to Napier on the east coast of New Zealand’s North Island to manage a software development company which happened to become involved in a project based in Melbourne. One thing led to another and in 1992 we decided to move to Melbourne permanently. Since then our son and daughter have completed their education at school and university and also live and work in Melbourne. We have never for one minute regretted our move, and love Melbourne where we live in Richmond.
Since 2000 Ann and I have developed a love of bicycle touring (which we do on our own, not part of a group) and this year completed a memorable 3 month tour of France, Spain, Switzerland and Germany on which we had some wonderful experiences including the Camino del Santiago (the Way of St James) and trips along the Loire, Dordogne, Rhone and Rhine Rivers. Previous trips have been in the UK, the Czech Republic, Austria and Northern Italy. In Australia we have ridden in Tasmania and the Hunter Valley.
Now that I have retired it has been a pleasure to be involved in U3A as a volunteer.
Mike Shackleton, October 2012