Tony De Kievit is one of the Panellists for the 18-30 international young writers program for 2019, I asked each Panellist to write their own story – this is Tony’s.
My name is Teunis (Tony) Willem de Kievit. I was born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the youngest son of four boys. I am married to my wife, Jeris, and have four children and six grand-children.
At the age of five, my parents decided to emigrate to Australia for a new life post WWII, and we settled in Victoria. It must have been a hard decision for my parents as we had no connections to the country. Initially we lived in the Bonegilla migrant hostel near Albury, until my father found work in Geelong and moved there with the two eldest sons, whilst my mother moved to Ballarat with the two youngest.
Not the most ideal family situation. Eventually my father bought a dilapidated house in Geelong which became our home. It required a lot of work as it had an earthen floor, minimal wall partitioning, no electricity or plumbing, and a basic outdoor laundry/toilet. However, my father rebuilt the house into a comfortable home.
I went to school in Geelong and nearby Colac, Victoria, and completed year 12. As a boy I had always had an interest in aviation and electronics and so, at completion of year 12, I enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) to train as an aircraft radar/radio technician.
Graduation led to a posting to Darwin, NT. Darwin in the mid 60's was still a 'frontier' town and seemed very remote from the rest of Australia, being almost equidistant between Singapore and Canberra (the national capital). Lifestyle in the tropics was very laid back.
Eventually, the desire to fly encouraged me to apply for aircrew training as a pilot. I was accepted and chosen to conduct my training with the Royal Air Force (RAF) in the UK. Initial pilot training and then advanced flying on a fast jet was exhaustive, but also very rewarding, particularly high speed low flying through the Welsh and Scottish highlands and close formation flying.
Training completed, I returned to Australia to the VIP squadron in Canberra, flying dignitaries such as Foreign Heads of Government, the Governor-General, Prime Minister and Government Ministers.
Following that, flying appointments over the years included army support, aerial mapping survey, flood and cyclone relief, and search and rescue, flying the venerable short take-off and landing (STOL) Caribou aircraft. Flights were mainly undertaken throughout Australia, Papua/New Guinea and Indonesia.
Flying appointments were interspersed with non-flying appointments which included aviation safety system management and training, aircraft accident investigation and search and rescue as well as several staff appointments. To say that my air force has been diverse would be an understatement
After 37 years of service, and over 10 family re-locations, I am now retired and living in Tweed Heads with my wife Jeris. I enjoy travelling, particularly cruising throughout the world, accompanied by my wife of course. Although I retain an interest in aviation, particularly aircraft accidents and human performance, I now have my feet firmly planted on the ground.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, y`1with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand. Dr Mark Tronson’s Press Service International in 2019 was awarded the Australasian Religious Press Association’s premier award, The Gutenberg.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html