Raised in rural NSW, after the death of his father Tony completed his high school years in Sydney before undertaking studies in Canberra to qualify as a teacher. He arrived in Derby in January 1979 for a two-year stint living and working at St Joseph’s Hostel for Aboriginal children, whilst teaching each day at the Holy Rosary Primary School. St Joseph’s Hostel and a Government run hostel existed to provide residential facilities for primary and secondary aged children from remote Kimberley locations at a time when the only available schools were in town centres.
The Kimberley wove its spell on Tony as it often does to visitors unsuspecting of its unique people and amazing landscape. Two years of volunteer teaching thus became a lifetime commitment to the children and communities of the Kimberley. Tony met Beverley in 1979, a Kija woman whose home, Tableland Station, is situated in the central area of the Kimberley. They married in 1983 and in their journey together, living in a variety of locations across the Kimberley, they have raised eleven children, nine being their own.
A thirty-five-year career in education as a teacher, school principal, and education consultant concluded in 2014 as Tony took on a twelve-month stint as the Administrator of Kalumburu Mission in the far north Kimberley. Tony is presently engaged as a project officer supporting a couple of Aboriginal corporations and, across the last five years, has begun to scratch a long-suffering itch to produce visual art.
Self-taught, Tony first attempted painting with acrylic, transitioned to oils, and recently revisited short lived early attempts at artistic creativity utilising the mediums of watercolour and pencil.
At this early stage of his endeavours, Kimberley people and landscapes remain the consuming inspiration for his subject matter. Spending a great deal of precious leisure time over the years in remote Kimberley locations with Beverley, their children, and some amazing in-laws; Tony has been privileged to gain the knowledge and confidence to undertake several solo bush walks spending up to two weeks trekking across remote parts of the central Kimberley. The wonder of transparent atmosphere with light playing visual orchestrations of colour, as the sun saunters from horizon to horizon each day, remain a constant fascination and inspiration.