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tony-milner-profile-1Tony Milner

I left school without a clear career path and I‘m still wondering what to do when I grow up. After attending various schools in Johannesburg, Nairobi and Malawi, my first job was in Malawi, as Technical Assistant (a euphemism for apprentice technician/gofer). I learned about telecommunications at a time when party line phones had just been assigned to the history books.

Various technical jobs followed, mainly on office equipment, from calculators – remember those old mechanical monsters with the crank handle? – from mechanical through to electro-mechanical to electronic equipment. I worked through increasing degrees of technical sophistication, but, ironically stopped being a techie just as Bill Gates was doing his thing. I missed out on the introduction of Windows to the world of computing.

I was born in Durban, South Africa, and started my education path in Johannesburg. Family upheavals took me to Kenya and then to Malawi, Central Africa, where I completed high school. I left school wanting to be a test pilot, couldn‘t afford the required higher education, so, regretfully, ended up as the aforementioned Technical Assistant. I spent weekends taking flying lessons, but it took too long, so I took a month off, high-tailed it to Salisbury, Zimbabwe (Southern Rhodesia, at that time) where I joined the Mashonaland Flying Club, and gained my Private Pilots Licence. Regretfully, when it came up for renewal, I was off on my OE with a couple of mates and let the licence lapse. We travelled to England, then toured Europe until money ran out. In Mannheim, Germany, one of us (not me) was picked up by local police for raiding a dispensing machine – for a chocolate bar. We were run out of town … but that‘s a story for another time.

After the OE, I went back to Malawi, but got restless again after a few years. I emigrated to Perth, Australia, where I met my wife. We moved to Durban where my daughter was born. Political upheavals persuaded us to leave SA and return to Australia. After a few years, we came to Nelson, New Zealand. I started as a self-employed technician, repairing electrical and electronic devices, and later joined Micro Computer Systems, servicing computers, printers and photocopiers. In 1990 I changed direction completely, and joined Radio Nelson as a Copy Writer, writing and sometimes voicing radio commercials, including several award winners.

'In 1997 thanks to the bean counters, I was made redundant at a late age and I did a variety of odd jobs till Superannuation age. These included journalism and infomercial writing for the Leader community newspaper and the local Port Focus paper. Having honed my writing skills, I had, by now, written a novel (yet to be published), and I‘m busy on a second one. I also write short stories and the odd poem, several of which have been included in anthologies. I‘ve been gifted with an artistic ability and have had a measure of success selling my artwork. Painting and teaching art occupies a large part of my time - alongside the writing and tutoring at SeniorNet and a host of other interests.
(From Newsletter - August 2015)