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| GUEST Michael Charles
(5/10/1950 - 19/09/2005)
Father : GUEST * Donald Edward
Mother : RALSTON Agnes Elcox
Siblings: Peter Phillip
Married : HUGHES Christine
Issue : Louise 1971 Melanie 1972 David 1981
Baby Michael Charles Guest - MCG!
Being nursed by brother Peter, View Bank late1950.
At play in the drive of Glenthorn, the house at View Bank's top gate.
Parents and brother Peter were soon to move down th lane to View Bank.
On holiday with brother Philip about 1954.
Not a particularly good photograph of Michael but a good shot of the turning circle and the dairy. About 1959
Off to Melbourne the aerodrome at Western Junction, at age 12 - to stay with Uncle Bob and Aunt Polly Woodward.
Going to Scotch - View Bank. Michael was a Week Boarder for the first few years at Scotch and only went home at weekends.
Choirboy at Scotch College, Launceston - front, second from right.
Family photo in dining room at View Bank - about 1961
Michael with the new Kodak Instamatic. Peter on the left and Philip on the right with cousin Glen Foster.
Off to Melbourne for the finals of the Youth of the Year Competition - about 1967
Planning a Duke of Edinburgh Award expedition. Michael received the Gold Award.
At View Bank and with wife to be Christine Hughes - about 1967-68
Off to the University of Tasmania after a gap year working in the mines on the West Coast.
Pictured here with house mates Gavin and John and John's friend
With Gavin at their Uni accommodation in Hobart - known for its lively parties!
1970 First year law - Union car park. Note the name of the trike "Argustuft"
Marriage to Christine Hughes, Church of the Apostles, Margaret St, Launceston 5/12/1970
From left Peter, Angela Thomas, Stephanie Bellinger, Philip, Nana (Eva) Guest, Christine, Michael and Fr Garnham.
With Chris Dad and Mum, Louise, Melanie and Napoleon Bonaparte (Boney) at View Bank
Wearing the dark suit in an Advocate staff photo. Good friend Paul Harris bottom right.
With Melanie and Louise while living in Brisbane
Mike - the accountant.
"Round Hill, Burnie" - About 1991 with son David who went on to play hockey for Australia in the 2008 Olympics.
With children David, Melanie and Louise.
C'mon the Blues! Mike was passionate about the Carlton Football Club.
Relaxing at Rose Hill, Evandale about 1981
With Mum at Philip's wedding 1988
Christmas Day (1996?) at Peter's home, Kenneth Court, Launceston. Most likely the last photo of
Mum and all three boys before Mum passed away in 1999.
M.C Guest 5/10/1950 – 19/09/2005 Recollections by his brother Philip at Michael's funeral
Thanks especially Jane and Julia ….
Michael was born at the Queen Alex in Launceston on the 5th October 1950 to the proud parents Don and Agnes. He was brought home to Evandale to join his four year old brother Peter. It was nearly another 2 years before I came along and according to Peter I missed out on some high drama. Dad was driving Peter and Michael home in his 40’s Pontiac. Peter and Michael, I’m sure, were looking for the seat belts but alas there were none. Michael decided to experiment with the handle, not knowing that car doors in those days had been cunningly designed to open the opposite way to modern cars. Slightly ajar the door quickly opened as the oncoming air caught it and like a billowing spinnaker catapulted the clinging child onto the gravel and into the bushes. No broken bones, but with gravel rash to head and almost all of his body, his distraught dad took him straight to the doctor where he was repaired and readied for home. Agnes nearly had a major breakdown on their return. Even though she was a triple certificated nurse she wasn’t prepared for the sight of her second, purple, son soaked in gentian violet.
Our childhood and teen years were spent on a 364 acre mixed farming property called View Bank which was too small to be really profitable but was a wonderful place to be brought up. You could play cowboys and Indians with real horses, real bows and arrows and real guns – it’s a wonder any of us survived this long.
Our View Bank farmhouse was a bit over a mile from the Evandale Township and I can assure you Evandale was not the quaint little historic township it is today. In our childhood we were never allowed on the township without parental supervision and certainly not the backstreet where there were still operating blacksmiths and even older professional establishments that are only now being legalized in Tasmania. Even on the farm I can remember Dad selling his big Clydesdale horses to make way for the diesel engine.
To travel to Evandale from the farmhouse you went up a lane past massive pine trees on the left which provided endless supplies of pinecones for the fires in winter and ammunition for fantastic pine cone fights all year. You then went through the top gate which had a grid and cyclone gate which was mostly open but sometimes closed when stock were nearby. It was important to remember if the gate was closed or open as Peter found out one night when he was returning home, and in customary fashion tested his skills by not slowing down as he turned off the White Hills Road, through the top gate – literally! Have you ever seen what happens to a VW Beetle when it hits a closed cyclone gate at 40mph?
The rest of the journey to Evandale was along the White Hills Road, a narrow gravel road edged with gorse bushes and other sundry weeds, nooks and crannies. About half way up, on the left, Mr. Berresford trained greyhounds and if you whistled or made cat noises you could get 60 greyhounds going absolutely mental. Finally you reached the water tower on the right and civilization at last. The Primary school was a bit further on, on the right hand side.
Why do I give you this geography lesson? Because some of my earliest recollections of Michael were making this journey with him. Sometimes we walked and sometimes he road the flash 20 inch bicycle and I tried to keep up on my tricycle! Now if you think that it was in later life that Michael cultivated a passion for jokes and pranks with a heavy flavor of tease, then you are sadly mistaken. While the jungle on either side of the White Hills Road did occasionally provide the glimpse of a snake slithering across the road to get out of our way or a blue tongue lizard sunning itself – to make the trip with Michael was a different kettle of fish. His observations, which he was quick to relate to me, trying to keep up on my trike, was that every rock and every shadow concealed snakes, blue tongues, monsters, Indians, murderers, terrorists! All waiting to launch themselves at the depressingly underpowered trike. Through young, terrified eyes I hadn’t learnt to recognize that mischievous grin of a winner whose cunning plan had come to fruition.
It gets worse – for me. Mum was a nurse and had regular employment looking after three very old spinsters who lived together on the township. Well, there were originally 3 old spinsters, then, 2 etc. Mum gathered it wasn’t going to be a long term career! Anyway these old spinsters were the first people on Evandale to get this wonderful new invention – TV. Michael and I were allowed to sneak into the house when the old dears had gone to bed and we could watch Rin Tin Tin, Whirly Birds and, well pretty much the same rubbish as we get today!
BUT, this meant that when the viewing was done, we had to make the return journey at night and guess who out sprinted me into the blackness and traitorously joined the snakes, the ogres, the murderers and terrorists? Sometimes his shriek and leap from the dark would be quick and sometimes he’d save it for the last pine tree. Even worse, I’d make it to the safety of the kitchen only to find him sitting by the warmth of the fire with Dad and he’d turn around and ask in a matter of fact voice where I had been. I bet that thin grin was there.
I wasn’t his only victim. By milking a few cows, mum and dad had saved enough to buy a brand new FJ Holden in 1952. When Mum was occupied driving Michael and I around, she was a sitting duck. This was the perfect opportunity for Michael to develop his love for a good argument – especially against superior opposition. The verbal war that flew between front and back seat was only ended when the old FJ hurriedly braked in a cloud of dust and Mum resorted to her last battle line. “OUT! Get OUT!” Many times three left View Bank in the FJ and only two returned. No wonder he became a good athlete. He put in a lot of early miles.
I wasn’t privy to the argument, but one hot summer night Dad, Peter and I were out in the cool of the evening when the verandah door exploded and out sprinted Michael with a broom wielding Mum on his heels. Around the roses, around the willow, around the car turning circle, a quick dash to the ramp, a quick about turn and back to the turning circle. Mum was actually making ground! He must have had enough. In the middle of the turning circle was a silver birch that had never really felt at home. It was even less at home with Michael looking for strength in its upper branches trying to escape the real damage of the full impact of a broom in the hands of someone who knew how to use it.
We spent many hours building forts and piers into the pond. We even built tunnels and forts into the hay stacks and thought it would be a good place to experiment with cigarettes. Luckily the experiment was successful… .
At Evandale Primary he was a champion marbles player and took great delight in sending the township boys home without their marbles.
Michael was also very protective. I must have only been in grade 3 or 4 when I was set upon by a few of the school bullies after school one day. Despite my brave efforts they had me down and I feared for the worse but through the flurry of the arms and legs of my cowardly assailants I saw Michael sprinting up the drive, launch himself into the air, assume a bowling ball position and achieve a strike. The attackers skedaddled and my saviour took me home.
After primary school, Michael went to Scotch College and became a weekly boarder so I don’t remember much about those two years until I joined him at Scotch. I was too preoccupied trying to deal with the Evandale thugs without his help.
He was tremendously successful at Scotch. Debating, rowing, athletics, swimming, public speaking, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – he could do the lot. He made the national finals in Youth of the Year, he was C.U.O of the cadet cops, a prefect and proudly played in the 1967 State Premiership football team which beat Hutchins by 1 point. He kicked 3 of the 8 winning goals and was later offered a Sandy Bay Football Club scholarship.
He had ceased being a boarder and we spent hours involved in sport and study. We would run for miles and then practice sprint starts and run home again. He really was a fine athlete and luckily his son David, who plays hockey for Australia, has made excellent use of those genes. He was extremely organized in his study habits and taught me about time and task management and exam technique. He had an excellent memory, an inquiring mind and a desire for success and excellence.
The late sixties were a trying but close time as mum was very ill and away from home for a year or so. We had to help Dad with home duties. Washing up time could be interesting. He would usually wash and I’d dry, His usual trip was to run the water stack the dishes and then retire to the toilet for the next hour leaving me to do the washing before I could dry.
He was a proficient cornet player and for a period of time regularly played in a Launceston brass band.
He was still my protector. We both enjoyed being in the cadets but every now and then; we had to turn out in full dress, which, at Scotch, meant wearing a kilt! The unfortunate thing was the bus from Evandale only went as far as Kings Meadow High School where we had to wait for our next bus, in our skirts, fully exposed – back to back! My bullies from Evandale went to this school!
We all know Michael loved a party. He loved to entertain and he was an excellent host. This trait has an unusual origin – religion. Mum and Dad were Presbyterian and they dutifully took us to church every Sunday. As kids we went to Sunday School and later became involved with the youth group called the Presbyterian Fellowship Association or PFA – well, there wasn’t much else to do in Evandale in the 60’s!
Michael, being the leader that he was, soon became the Treasurer and eventually the President of the PFA. It was hard to attract ministers to Evandale so our church sponsored a Reverend Griffiths to come directly from Wales with his wife and two children, Ellis and Mainier. Michael and Mum thought it would be a good idea to have a lunch and afternoon for Ellis and Mainier at our farmhouse and invite all the local kids who were mostly PFA members.
When we were little kids Mum and Dad pretty much had an alcohol free house unless they were entertaining but Mum was at the stage were she realized she could get through a flagon of medium sweet sherry every week or so without risking health or soul. While shopping in Launceston for the welcome party Mum decided to stop at the King’s Meadows Hotel to get a flagon (She couldn’t buy it on Evandale of course), and to save another stop she also bought some Apple Isle cider for the party.
Everything was going well. Evandale’s finest getting on famously with the best from Wales. At about 2.30 in the afternoon Michael went to the kitchen and reported to Mum that everyone was having a ball – a real ball, but he thought something might be wrong. Mum went in to find that the party was humming, mainly because the dozen or so of them had just knocked off half a dozen long-necks of Mercury Alcoholic Apple Cider. I’ve got a feeling El Presidente Mike learnt a lot that day.
It is also interesting to note that soon after this, in the school Magazine, Michael’s year 11 class (or Form V) all selected quotes that they thought represented their personality. Michael’s was “Eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we diet.”
(Christine and Jane have put together some more of his sayings if anyone would like to take a copy)
1969 - West coast mines to earn money with his father in law, John Hughes who is with us today. John told me last Sunday that even then Michael did the tax returns for non English speaking migrant mine workers. I’ll give you one guess what he wanted for repayment.
1970 - Uni law – didn’t like it. He shared a house lived in Molle St. – a place where legends were made. I’m glad they weren’t my neighbours or tenants.
1971 - Started his family - Louise - Barman at the Burnie Town House
1972 - Melanie was born.
1973 - Went to England to holiday and visit Christine’s relatives
1974 - on return from England he enrolled at the TSIT in Launceston – to start Batchelor of Business. I was at uni at this stage and I really enjoyed visiting Michael the family man. He quite often balanced his studies and child minding while Christine worked. Even though money was tight he always had food, beer and a parting $20 note for his poor uni student brother- and the occasional party while Christine was on night duty.
1976 - He returned to Burnie and worked with Tioxide
1978 On completion of his Batchelor of business went to join his old mate Paul Harriss at the Advocate.
1981 - Living in his farmlet at Riana near Penguin, David was born. According to Christine he also got the cornet/trumpet out again during this time. Not having any close neighbours he used to go outside and play the cornet just to annoy the cattle.
1983 - Went to Brisbane and worked for Elders. I went to Brisbane to stay and he excitedly told me he worked quite closely with John Elliot. When I looked at him blankly he feared the worse. I didn’t have a clue who Big John was. He was devastated. Needless to say Michael was also passionate about the Mighty Carlton Blues and remained so to the end. I think Big John might have dropped off the radar.
1984 - Michael and Chris separated.
1986- Returned to Hobart and lived with me in Grosvenor St. His room was undecorated but he was more than happy in his Bat Cave. He worked as an accountant at Ingham Chicken’s in Sorell. In his mind he was unfairly dismissed and never worked in a large company environment again. He had been disappointed too many times with false starts to promising careers. From this point on he made his own way and I mostly only saw him at family gatherings which were quite frequent while Mum was alive. Michael always made himself available to pick her up and drive her home again
Michael was always loyal and keen to give and help. He had to have family and friends around him - and he has – thank you.
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