Page 1858 - Week 06 - Tuesday, 17 June 2008
In his secondary school years he attended Northcote high school and was the dux of his intermediate year, before having to leave because of his family’s need for him to work. He had many happy memories of those years. The teaching was excellent and he left with a belief that, given the right opportunities, there was no earthly reason why he could not make his dreams come true. I think he proved that. This school was also attended at various times by Jim Cairns, John Cain and Don Chipp.
During World War II he was too young to join the RAAF and fly, which was his dearest wish. After the war he joined anyway and became an accountant because the RAAF needed accountants. I think that was a very strong symbol of the man and his commitment. It was not about him; it was about what his organisation needed. Quite quickly accountancy lost its allure and he was, for most of his air force career, a logistician. He never lost his yearning to fly, however.
In 1978 an Australian academic who was at that time an adviser to President Jimmy Carter introduced Trevor to a group of Americans at a function in Washington DC. He said, “This is Trevor Kaine. He buys bombs to drop on people!” Most people did not really understand what a logistician was.
Trevor was posted to Washington DC twice, having a total of seven years there. The renowned Canberra poet Timoshenko Aslanides dedicated a poem to Trevor and his wife after visiting them in America. In his volume Passacaglia and Fugue he included a poem entitled Australia Day 1979, and it reflects Trevor’s enduring connection both to Virginia and to Australia. I want to read a small piece:
I dance Australian
in deciduous Virginia,
waltzing, sober, before my return,
but again I hear the sounds
that will make me sing,
under trees which never lose their leaves
or anything else.
Trevor was posted with the RAAF to the Australian Embassy in Washington from 1966 to 1969 and lived happily with his young family in nearby Falls Church, Virginia. There started his love affair particularly with that part of the United States. He returned to the Australian Embassy in Washington again from late 1977 to late 1982 as the First Defence Counsellor (Supply).
Trevor had a well-documented flair for thinking outside the square, and many have alluded to the alliance government, which was just one example of all that we have witnessed. But during that last posting to Washington he developed a number of friendships with consultants at the Pentagon. Trevor’s ideas of using balloons to solve over-the-horizon surveillance problems of the time and the rearming of mothballed battleships with large armaments were taken up by Chuck Myers and subsequently implemented by the US Department of Defense. Not bad for a boy from Penguin, Tasmania!
Trevor had a university degree in accounting and finance from the University of Queensland and topped his master’s degree class from the University of Ohio while attending the Air Force Institute of Technology at Dayton, Ohio in 1969. Throughout