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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 15 February 2011) . . Page.. 102 ..


He enrolled at Caulfield technical school in 1941 for a proposed trade apprenticeship. He won a small scholarship to complete the intermediate technical certificate in third year.

Timing had a marked influence here as Caulfield tech decided to become a senior college, and those in their third year were invited to stay on and do the first year of the diploma course in engineering. Howard was one of those 20-odd students who put up their hands, and he was accepted. At the end of year 11 in 1944, the students were required to move to Melbourne, Swinburne or Footscray technical schools. Howard chose Melbourne technical college and entered a second-year electrical engineering diploma course at the age of 15.

Again, the timing was extraordinary, as the commonwealth scholarship scheme was introduced, with 60 eligible scholarships being awarded in Victoria, 45 of which were eligible for a living allowance. Howard was one of those who received such a scholarship, which covered all tuition costs, with the living allowance of £2 a week. This, combined with earnings from part-time work in his uncle’s grocery store, meant he was financially independent at age 15 and was able to pay his family full board as well as provide for his fares, clothing and other living requirements.

Howard continued and graduated with an engineering diploma, and he then moved on to various organisations, such as the State Electricity Commission and then Australian Paper Manufacturers. He was moved by APM to Canberra, where he arrived in January 1971. He stayed here ever since, having loved the life.

He left a number of firms and set up his own firm called Commerce Management Services. The business continues until today, owned by his wife, Elizabeth, and Sue, his daughter. Howard continued to work in the office on a part-time basis until his death. He never retired.

While in his teens, an unfortunate accident at a beach where his Uncle Wal drowned led Howard to join the lifesaving movement. The incident clearly made an impact on Howard because he then joined the Bonbeach Lifesaving Club, travelling to the club regularly by train from East Malvern for some years, learning to swim properly and participate fully in bayside lifesaving.

It was at the Easter bayside lifesaving camp at Cape Patterson in 1950 that he met another lifesaver and champion swimmer called Elizabeth Allen. Romance blossomed quickly and they were engaged on her 21st birthday in February 1951. Marriage followed in September 1952 and two children, Allen and Sue, were born over the next few years. The family settled in Greensborough and eventually moved to Canberra.

He was upset in 1947, when he was at Melbourne University, with elements of the Student Representative Council. This prompted Howard to join the Liberal Party in the Darling-East Malvern branch, and he has been a member of the Liberal Party continuously for the subsequent 64 years. He served in a number of positions in the party, including president of the ACT division, which is exactly where I met Howard when I joined the party.


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