A yearning for learning
Lloyd O’Malley (78, of Howrah) has been an Anglicare client for 12 months. His wonderful childhood in the Huon Valley is the subject of the first of two memoirs he’s had published so far.
Award-winning historian James Boyce provided the foreword to Clever Ducks and other stories from a Tasmanian childhood, which is available for loan through the State Library. He wrote: ““In the twenty first century we have become like lost children searching for a way home – Clever Ducks is a signpost that can lead us there… And can this bloke write! Lloyd is what I have never been – a natural writer and storyteller.”
“My parents had no formal education but they were very clever people,” Lloyd explains. “They were down to earth, practical and honest. I was a bit of a romantic.
“When I was young all I had to read was the weekly farmer’s magazine. It was hung up on a nail in the dunny and not meant to be read, if you know what I mean. I had to read the articles in one go or they wouldn’t be there the next time I visited. My parents couldn’t understand why I was in there so long – they made me drink cod liver oil! – but I learned a lot about farming.”
Leaving school at 14, Lloyd worked in a local sawmill at Mountain River and then an apple orchard. Next was a stint as a labourer at Silk and Textiles in Derwent Park. By the tender age of 19, he’d been appointed a foreman there.
Lloyd’s says he likes change and this is reflected in his career history. He worked across a range of industries, including agricultural chemicals, international fruit export and providoring. Later, he spent a decade as the production and sales manager at the Mount St. Canice laundry and gave back to his community as an adult literacy tutor.
Lloyd was determined that his children should have the educational opportunities that he missed out on. He is very proud that his grandchildren – “a great bunch of kids” – are working and studying in the fields of speech therapy, engineering, microbiology, travel, public health, architecture and diplomacy.
Today Lloyd focuses on his family, his garden, finalising a third book and a relatively new love, painting.
Every inch of his garden is used for growing produce including pumpkins, espaliered on a sunny high wall. “I’ve been gardening since I was six years old,” he said. “Preserving vegetables saves me a lot of money and gives me something to do.”
Last year, Lloyd started painting Tasmanian landscapes in watercolours and acrylics. (He recommends the ABC program ‘The Joy of Painting’ with Bob Ross for advice on technique.) It’s not uncommon for him to complete two paintings in a day.
Anglicare assisted Lloyd to find his current home, so it was an easy choice when he was looking for a Level 2 home care package service provider:
I respect the philosophy of helping people when they are down, and the service is excellent.