Finished university and soon to graduate

I started studying at the end of 2009 when I got the inspiration from watching the very new tv program Who Do You Think You Are? On SBS. I was reading the forums and they suggested study at Armidale’s University of New England. I applied for the Advanced Diploma in Local, Family and Applied History or ADLFAH as it is affectionately known. I was someone who had no ambitions for university once I had left school and couldn’t even write at a university level especially when I basically finished school around 2000. At the time I thought I could do this and use the degree for a better job, maybe. I wanted to learn more about family history.


During that time, I had changed direction by transferring to Bachelor of Historical Inquiry and Practice in 2012. I thought at the time a bachelor’s degree would be worth way more than a diploma. I have been working at the same time as trying to do my degree and it has worked out really well. I could balance both especially when I worked part time for Coles. I learnt to balance especially when doing two subjects at the same time was very tough, but in the end it all worked out.


2018 I was happy to see as I would be doing my last two subjects and they were huge subjects. One was a personal research project where I decided to look at the New Zealand Wars from the Militia and Volunteers who served. I had been going full on with the research and reading material since the end of the year in 2017. That was the main part of my trip to New Zealand to gather records I wanted to use. I was relieved once I had finished that subject with a lecturer as my supervisor. The end of October meant I would either pass or fail my last subject and I was happy for my last essay to get 55%. That meant I had passed everything and would be graduating in December.


It was not a bed of roses the whole time as I had life get in the way and I studied at home without having to step foot in Armidale, although twice I have ventured into the town to meet other students and have made some really good friends through the establishment. There were times that I did struggle, but with a little bit of help from friends I was able to get through those struggle times and have ventured into unchartered territory where I have now passed all subjects. I have learnt you cannot copy old assignments and use them in other subjects or else you will be caught. At least I know the system works. I have seen changes since the time I joined as we went from a study system called Blackboard to Moodle, From semesters to Trimesters that meant shorter time spans of study, essays being mailed back to now being posted online with marks and comments.


I have now been with Coles for over 10 years so that means I will basically stay where I am especially when it is a stable job and there seems to always be job cuts in the history arena like libraries and archives. I have read more about modern history than I have about family history, but it has helped with my family tree writing especially the blogs and articles I have published in family tree magazines. I have found some places that have gotten my interest through study like cemetery wanderings My focus has always been on modernish history from the 1800s onwards as ancient history hasn’t really interested me. I will learn more about some parts like the Tudors and Plantagenets as I know little about them. As a reward for my hard work, I am going overseas on holiday next year to visit some good European museums. Would I study again through university? Sure, but not for a while as I have been going since 2009 and feel that I have become worn out by the extended time of long term study. Not being in a university setting means I have a bit of freedom and not have to be anywhere by the start of a trimester for study and can travel overseas.


My last subject was about World War One and memory, which I actually used as a tour guide to look at locations for the next big trip away. It has worked and I completed the subject. In the last year I have also known procrastination as I have read a few novels instead of the actual research. I have actually read the current series of Jack Reacher novels and started on the Mortal Engines novels. Can I say there are at least 20 books by Lee Child, but I do have books that I plan to read in my bookcase that I have not been able to get to. Now I can.


I will post my other blogs below


Literature review on Militia and Volunteers in New Zealand


Technological change during World War One



Revisiting the trials of Don Burke

Over the last several days I had been wondering about the case of one man earlier this year that came out while he was being torn down by allegations. That man was Don Burke who hasn’t really been heard from ever since his interview on A Current Affair or ACA as everyone in Australia knows. Don one of Australia’s gardening gurus or was depending on how you see him, came out as saying he has Aspergers.

My thoughts were as reflecting on the past was would that have meant anything if he had not gotten himself into trouble? Should we revisit the situation and say sure he has Aspergers and is on the spectrum. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and point him to getting diagnosed as he was self-diagnosed.

If everyone is shooting down the self diagnosis, then should we not treat the rest of the self diagnosed in the same way or even those who have a criminal record as they have done some sort of crime, but couldn’t possibly have Autism or Aspergers because of their conviction? I am just putting thoughts down while thinking we are not in a perfect world. I do wonder if he has gone and gotten himself a diagnosis, but is really keeping that to himself.

The Art of Doing Nothing

At the moment I am recharging after finishing the second last Trimester of university. I have around two weeks before study begins again and I have decided to use this time to do nothing about study. What I have been doing in my nothing stage is watching TV shows that I have taped over the last couple of months. There is the shows Mighty Trains, Agents of Shield, Who Do You Think You are?, Great British railways all for my viewing pleasure and slowly being whittled down. Something to think about is that I have not had a beer in the last couple of months. I think it was around last December since I had one. I simply cannot remember that one.


I should include a ‘boring’ book ‘A People’s History of the Vampire Uprising’. Not a history book and reading as I am nearly at the end of the Jack Reacher series and waiting for the new Laurell K Hamilton book. On the list are the three series of ASIO history books and Vietnam War with the Australian involvement. Most will be read after uni studies finish such is the growing list of to reads. I have been playing Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II and finished one chapter and onto the Chaos Rising part. The recharge continues.


Amongst all this I have done some light research into the dinosaur museums in Europe and UK where I have an ever growing list. Still wondering if the one in Dorchester, UK is actually a kids learning museum and not for adults. I should look at places I want to stay soon as I need a list. Really don’t want to stay with the YHA again after the worlds worst snorer last time who was after ‘Beaches (bitches) and hoes’ it was the accent being South American. Him not me. Only advantage of being a party dude, he usually came home at 5am. There is some family tree research amongst the researching too and havnt done much to it.


I did have a centrelink thing to sort out that resulted in a small bill to pay with the DSP, but its not huge deal. Could have been a whole lot worse and it will be paid in time. I do like the idea if you don’t pay them it attracts interest, which could be the scary part.


Today it is official that I have passed my uni unit which was all the months of prep and research that has made me happy. June 2018 will take me as something too. I decided it was time after getting an email whether to resign or rejoin the marine rescue. Due to work commitments and study commitments I decided it was time to resign after 15 years. I no longer had the commitment as I could no longer put the time into being boat crew.

Study and getting closer to the degree

After what seems like six months of research and study for my independent research assignment, I am now one step closer to getting my bachelor degree in history through UNE. The full title is Bachelor in Historical Inquiry and Practice. It was actually really interesting working with a lecturer one on one, although there were ups and downs throughout the whole trimester. In the end I passed the assignment with 70%.

I can however say that it is great to get some weight off my shoulders and relax instead of going through records and books trying to find what I might need. A 5,000 word assignment is not an easy feat to accomplish at all. I did have some real clangers. I called a repository a suppository and that might be a bit difficult when you have a written assignment.

The interesting part was getting the lecturer to mark your assignment as you went with different drafts. He would ask for changes or change words that would make it sound better. The link to read the assignment is below as I blogged it. I did start off as doing an essay that ended up as a literature review on the advice of the lecturer. So good that I did so.

I had to sign a contract basically telling me what was expected from both of us and included the magical word ‘Preamble’. This included writing a progress report on what is expected. Included several phone calls from the lecturer. All simple really and I even got a week extension and I got the assignment in on time luckily.

I will always advocate studying part time and at home in your own environment. Don’t listen to people when they tell you that it would be easier on campus. You really do not need to even if they are apparently the top experts. You do what is comfortable and being at home is usually better especially if you work. Working from home means you never actually have to meet the other students in person, which can be a bonus. Don’t take too much on either. Working part time and studying part time is tough.

After being off the marine rescue boat for the last six months has given me the realisation that I can no longer act as a volunteer. Mainly for the reason I no longer have the time and am running myself ragged. After 15 years I think it is time. At the moment I am just working and saving money for a trip overseas, although other things tend to appear.



Literature review

Fun Uncle

With more contact with my nephews, I am doing my best to try and be the one who is fun to them. Sure I may spoil them a little bit like give them something like a Ninja Turtle suit even though I was expressly told not to do it. When told to do that I will actually follow the opposite route and just do it. Though I did try to be funny when my eldest nephew, Master 3 cried over getting a splinter out of his finger and no one still had it out. I grabbed an axe and asked if he wanted me to get it out. He really didn’t at that point. I am just happy that he is liking the Ninja Turtles as in the early TV series from the 1990s.

If it means contact with two nephews, I will be happy to be in their lives even if there were unfortunate events that had occurred in the past. I don’t always get contact as I am always working on weekends. Master several months old seems to be happy to watch the world around him and drool on the carpet. I wonder if he likes Paw Patrol or Ninja Turtles? Maybe he will love Land Before Time like I did as a kid. Turn him dinosaur mad and watch the horror from his parents.


Its getting close to my current unit at uni to end and I have changed to a literature review instead so will see how that goes. The end is coming. The only advice I would give to study is. Do it by correspondence as then you do not need to meet others in a university or be inconvenienced by not having a job to pay for your studies or living expenses. The ‘experts’ tell you that you need interaction, but do you really? I get it through my job. That’s enough. Its all easier to do things at your own pace and Part time.


A while back I was part of some research survey for a university about autism in Sydney and I decided to recently ignore the emails as I had lost interest in doing so. I am not worried if they lose someone from a survey group as they would always have someone else. Last I heard was they had not any contact in 24 months. Tis life and then you move on.

A nooth in a nook

This time of year is beginning to become really busy with work and other things that is called life. Life is a bunch of tokens you place into a machine like Pac-Man where you eat pills in a darkened room or is it that life is Twisted.


In the last month my bike has been for its first service in Brisbane and the funny thing was there seemed to be retired people buying Spyders. They know what they want. Then I had to have a tooth removed as it was dying as a cyst had formed. Lets say with the bike and the dentistry it was starting to become an expensive month. That was all in the same week and the first time ever that I had a tooth removed. No pain at all and was one of my baby teeth. It is a little awkward to eat some things, but I have eaten fingerbuns again. After the operation, which I had general antiesthetic, I had KFC for dinner. That was chips, popcorn chicken and potato and gravy. P&G was what I had after a major op in my teens. I recommend it as its better than jelly and custard. I now have a denture or does that mean I am in-dentured?


The biggest thing to occur is my research for university and that means a step closer to finishing my bachelor degree by the end of the year. I am free styling with my own research project involving New Zealand. That is the Militia, who were civilian soldiers and I need 5,000 words. I went overboard last November in collecting records from the National Archives in New Zealand. I had to secure a lecturer as well, which means phone chats. So far it has been one and the request for a literature review on the sources I am using. So far I am having a nice time chasing down other sources.


What are my plans for after my degree? No idea and I don’t have to pay of my HECS debt, which doesn’t have interest and I am happy for that. I do plan a trip overseas, but first a walk through the Milford Track as a celebration for finishing my degree. Then next year a trip around Europe visiting some museums and that includes the UK too for some family history. I prefer to travel on my own at my own speed.


It might only be the beginning of April, but I havnt actually seen very much about Autism Acceptance, Awareness, Appreciation, Tolerance, Trendy Month. Looking through the online local news in the mornings at breakfast there hasn’t been anything blowing or lighting up in various colours including puzzled people talking about the phenomenon. Maybe everyone is waving Aussie flags wanting gold medals at the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast. Maybe they are all asleep and the media is aware of other things that are more interesting like a bare bum in the opening ceremony or Camilla reading a book. Why don’t I share or say anything about the month? It’s a little bit tokenistic when we go back to sleep showing a token effort for something once a month when it should be year-round. I dont do group things and happy doing my own thing. I have enough on my plate with work and study.

Here is your ‘token’, spend it wisely this month.

When leaving isnt time to leave

Two weeks ago I came to the conclusion that it would be best to resign from my volunteer work with the marine rescue. It was not for the reason I had burnt bridges or was off side with anyone at all. I thought it was the easiest way and have the best outcome that I had thought about. I had been there for quite some time, which is 14 years of active service as boat crew and in the past as a radio operator too. I had been told that these days you can either do one or the other, but not both anymore. Work commitments always gets in the way of doing things. My main goal of the year is to complete my history degree.


2018 is going to be a bigger year than I know of and work was only part of the reason to walk away. My employment involves weekend work and I never want to lose my Sunday shifts for obvious reasons. I had asked for one Sunday off a while back and lost all Sunday shifts for a while through roster changes. My worry was I was wearing myself down since I two shifts I can attend in the mornings for only around four hours at a time before heading to work. That day involves a 5am start to get to the boat before a 7am launch. It used to be 630am launch before they changed the time. I start work at 1pm, which finishes at 10pm. It would have been alright if I had not finished work at 10pm on the Friday, but the weekend tired me out a bit.


I felt because of this and the fact I was now a trainee crew instead of a qualified crew member that I couldnt do the study that is involved from knots, flipcharts for different lights showing from vessels at night for their meanings, different navigational markers and their meanings, collision regulations otherwise known as Colregs. I have to know these off the top of my head and I will include a link for those who think I am being precious. This includes me trying to finish my university degree as well and I am wanting to finish by the end of this year as it is something I have strived to complete more for myself.


I had read the information in regards to resigning and I thought that by leaving without being in the bad books, I could return in a year or so. Sure Sydney being the Headquarters might not have a problem with someone not being a troublemaker of any sorts. I was not worried about going back to basics as it is something that I feel I probably should do especially some of the information, I cant seem to remember like the knots. Something I have always struggled with, but I give it a go anyway.


The reality is actually tougher. I had printed out the resignation letter, put my stuff like ID, name badge and epaulet into a folder. I had spoken to no one about my decision not even the head of the boat operations who might have been understanding. The deputy Commander was who I spoke to and his response when I told him why I was wanting to resign (I only spoke about work problems)  was ‘NO’ as I had spent a great deal of time with the organisation and I could always go to fundraising instead to keep myself as an active member. Also it would be difficult to return once I had resigned in bad blood or not. He gave me six months leave to think about it and I was on my way. I would be taken off the roster and to come back when I am ready. He reasoned that I had gotten through the toughest time with work being Christmas


I have heard along the grapevine that people are wondering why I wanted to resign though they have not contacted me or asked my reasons yet. They don’t seem happy that I had been told to basically go flip burgers as part of fundraising. The funny part of having a history degree is the burger flipping comment. I have not told any of them about my history degree that I am wanting to complete by the end of the year. They only really know about my work as I only interact with them through the organisation not outside. Maybe I should do that, but I only really talk to them if I see them at work. We shall see what happens by the end of the month as I will rock up to the boat shed to have a discussion to explain my reasons, but for the time being I think it is best that I have six months off, although I know the training stuff will fall down. I think I am more respected than I realise. The funny thing was I had the thought I could always write the unit history as a volunteer thing and they can publish the book much like for the local life savers I have seen with their centenary book.


The reasons, well the main reasons I will list again, but with additions.

  1. Work commitments. I work more hours and unique shifts than I did when I first joined since I was unemployed and training was far easier.
  2. Trying to finish my university bachelor degree in history. I have two subjects left and they both will be tough. Trying to remember everything on top of the rescue stuff fries the brain I think. Maybe it was only time that it would come to this. I have my own research project that I need to start and finish. That is something I need to concentrate on.
  3. Hoping the big boss doesn’t come down hard on me because I have not completed all the training. So thought resignation would be easier, only to come back later. I don’t want to be forced to complete everything. I had already been given the hard word to leave as a radio operator and time was a factor in that too.
  4. I don’t know how much protection I would have and I don’t really want others to watch my back or cover for me from one very angry person if it comes to that.

  Maybe I should tell them that I am a slow learner and some things I have difficulty with, although if that gets to the ears of the wrong people I might actually be kicked off the boat. Part of the reason why I have never mentioned Aspergers or as it is called these days Autism Spectrum Condition / autism. It makes my life easier and less complicated as they probably have figured out that I am a tough on the slow side. I would say its a huge combo of everything else and something had to give.


Australian Maritime Safety Authority