Joe Harding

Hello everyone;

Just a note to wish you all well for the get-together coming up next weekend. Unfortunately I won't be able to make it due to other committments, but I'd still like to say hello and offer some thoughts and feelings on the matter.

Literally speaking I was not part of the class of '79 as I was overseas in England with my family at the time, and away until mid 1980 when I re-joined some of you at Hollywood High School. However, the connection was established long before then and those years from 1973 to 1978 were fresh and important years in my life, and will always have a vibrancy in my mind. It's interesting, I find, to reflect on those years and the wonderful people, students and teachers alike, who graced that era in my life. Everyone had such strikingly different qualities and stood out like the true individuals they all were. I don't know whether this was because I was at that stage literally new to life and everyone/ everything had a striking wonder and originality about it, or as I suspect everyone was genuinely larger than life, but in subsequent years that vibrant immediacy and presence of personality has not been as apparent. I guess you were all a special and unique lot to me!

A lot of water has gone under the bridge since then, too much really to attempt to summarise, so I'll tell you where I am now and what I'm up to.

Presently I'm living and working in Alice Springs. I'm working as a Social Worker in the Renal unit of the Alice Springs Hospital, and am based at their Community Health Centre a little distance from the main campus. Work is almost entirely with Indigenous folk and for everything I do for them, they repay me with interest in terms of soul, spirit and vision. It has also given me a much greater awareness of the challenges that Indigenous people in Australia face, and the challenges that I as a Social Worker face too as I collaboratively work for a 'fair go' for our Indigenous patients and their families. Fortunately, for me there are plenty of good and active people out here working for the same deal so there's no shortage of mentors and guides to assist me with this journey!

My future goals appear to be based in the Territory. I've lived and worked in other parts of Australia and overseas too, but there is something about the NT which I love and keep coming back to (this is my second return). People here are by and large friendly and outgoing, and there is a sense that one's work and capacity travels a little further than in the more populated southern areas. After a while (and in comparison to other places) this is quite an attractive arrangement, so I don't really expect to be leaving anytime soon. Don't get me wrong- I do love Perth! My parents and my sister still live there. Not in the same Subiaco house though. Moved across to Hollywood and have a lovely home there which they still live in. Great for me on return- 5 star accomodation in a 5 star suburb...a millionaire for a week or two!

Anyway people, all the very best for the reunion. I will be thinking of you all fondly on the day itself and there's no forgetting your larger-than-life presence in my earlier years! If you ever get to Alice Springs and want to catch up please let me know. It would be great to see you and show you a bit of what the Alice has to offer by way of hospitality, interesting people and vast landscapes!

Warm regards

Joe Harding