I studied, travelled and got started in conservation.
The Bellevue Hotel in Brisbane was demolished in the middle of the night, in the face of protest. Brisbane did not seem an auspicious place to practise the craft, but conserving historic buildings suited me well.
Back to Brisbane. I started to work with Richard Allom who had just set up an architectural practice specialising in conservation. My first task was a survey of structures that would be flooded by the Wivenhoe Dam on the Brisbane River.
I designed a cheap house for a friend and, with other friends, built it with hand tools.
Dinah and I moved to an old house in dairy country. We kept chooks, grew vegetables and learned new skills. I assembled a kit of tools, starting with hand-me-downs from my father, his father and his father. I started teaching myself the practicalities of building and working wood.
A studious year.
My undergraduate thesis was called Queensland country townscape — a pretext for travelling again. Dinah and I covered about 10,000 km all over the state. I started to learn about cultural heritage conservation.
In London, itching to see my travel pictures, I shopped for second hand darkroom equipment. Back in Brisbane I made an old caravan into a darkroom and processed the film. Dinah and I got together.
I travelled from Brisbane to London. Overland, with backpack, camera and enough film for 1,296 pictures. Hard, lonely, wonderful!
With friends I set up Tonge Dick & Harry Designers, a part time consulting business. My partners were Margaret Tonge and two others, neither of them called Dick or Harry.
Still revelling in the study of architecture and the university life.