I grew up in the 1950’s and 1960’s at Wilsons Creek, up in the mountains out from Mullumbimby in Northern New South Wales, Australia. Wilson’s Creek is about twenty minutes (about ten kilometers) up in one of the many valleys west of Mullumbimby, in the Northern Rivers area. With this time, came for me a strong spiritual love of Creation, Nature, Country Living and the Environment. I was brought up as a Seventh Day Adventist Christian (SDA Christian).
The Church was like family. I am very indebted the Church in so many things. However, Harriet (my wife) left the Adventist Church in 1983 along with a whole generation like us and 10 percent of worldwide pastors over major foundational doctrinal teachings. Tension and discussion of these issues began in the mid 1970’s and came to a head in 1983.
A significant influence in my future life was going to Mullumbimby High School from 1961 – 1967. In that time there were 700 students from around the region. There were even students who came by train from Byron Bay and walked down to the school from the railway station.
I left home in 1968 to attend the Adventist Tertiary College ’Avondale’ at Cooranbong below Newcastle. I went to do a Science degree. I stayed there for two years free of cost with a Commonwealth Scholarship. However, I lost my Scholarship in 1969 as I disliked Physics and failed the subject.
I then came up to Brisbane to complete a Science degree in biological science in Botany and Ecology from 1970 to 1974. University education was free then compared to the HEX system now. I, along with others of like mind, had started The Upper Room in the Fortitude Valley in the early 1970’s. The Upper Room was an SDA vegetarian restaurant operating as a drop-in center with a big lounge and study rooms. It ran on a rostered voluntary kitchen and contact help for those needing to talk to someone. We must have seen people from every cross-section of society you could imagine. The hippie Counterculture was just beginning. Many people had long hair. I had long red hair.
The lessons I learned there were to form important relationship principles for both my future Christian life and general life. It was an important formative period. I, along with a committee of others, helped to run it. The Upper Room ran from 1972 right up to 1975 when I was married. Things then took a different course. I couldn’t be up talking to others until 12.00 pm on Sunday nights, as it often had been the case in earlier years. Also I had started my own business and needed to concentrate on that.
The Upper Room being a vegetarian restaurant and operating as a drop-in center with a big lounge and study rooms, ran on a rostered voluntary kitchen and contact help for those needing to talk to someone. We must have seen people from every cross-section of society you could imagine.
I was reading a Christan book by Keith Miller …. ‘ . The book spent a lot of time talking about building a bridge of communication from other people to you. This involved a few questions to the person and a lot of listening to that person. It was very radical in what he was saying and how he was saying it. I was implementing these recommendations in my personal contacts in the Upper Room on the weekends.
The Upper Room and the numerous experiences I had with other people played a major role in my future life.