THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF ENGLISH
teacher, greenkeeper, proofreader-editor and word aficionado
I was born pre-war (WWII, that is!) - just! - on 31 August 1939, in Holland.
This must have worried Hitler somewhat as he invaded Poland the next day.
I was the fourth child in a family of 11, eight boys and three girls We all migrated in 1955, landing at Station Pier
and settling in Portarlington. Australia's population increased by 13 that day.
After a few years at St Joseph's College (Geelong), I entered the seminary at Werribee to become a priest.
After 4½ years, I decided to save the church much grief and scandal and left,
ending up at Melbourne University to study French and Psychology.
I taught French in country high schools; this was followed by many different jobs, like taxi-driving, industrial painting
and a five-year stint of greenkeeping on a golf course. Eventually my career righted itself when I landed a ten-year job
of proofreading off-campus study materials at RMIT.
This was followed by another five years of editing engineering study materials at Deakin University at Waurn Ponds.
Marriage and retirement
Back in 1974 I married Joy, from Ballarat, who unfortunately died in January 2009 of multiple myeloma.
We have three daughters.
In my retirement, I continued my singing in several choirs, joined Probus and also started to teach a course at U3A,
called The Nuts & Bolts of English. The advanced second year of the course I called
The Nuts & Bolts & Washers of English. [No, I haven't named the third year The Mitre 10 of English!]
In my education and career I have been lucky to master several languages more or less.
I speak English and Dutch fluently, speak French reasonably well, some German, some Italian,
and I was grounded in Latin and classical Greek, with six months of Hebrew thrown in for good measure.
When I was younger, I used to make endless lists of words but never did any serious writing.
In retirement I have written several short stories for the Seniors Festival - of a fairly low standard (the stories, that is) -
but in the last four years, I have written a biography of my father: Louis, the unlikely migrant,
which is being printed in May 2010.
Hans Colla 31 August 1939 - 22 November 2011
A valued Presenter for the past two festivals.
Hans will be sadly missed.
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