Roger with one of his model yachts.
Building model yachts, plumbing and carnation farming are among Roger’s life experiences – but it hasn’t all been smooth sailing!
Originally from Port Lincoln, Roger, who now lives in Strathablyn, began his career at just 14, working as a plumber alongside his father in the family business.
Following the passing of both parents, Roger “bit the bullet” and began a carnation farm with his wife – something neither of them had any experience in.
“We started in ‘88 with only 400 plants,” he said. “We killed the bloody lot that year.”
Determined to learn from his mistakes, Roger and his wife spent the next several years building the farm into a success. By the early 90s, they were harvesting 1000 carnations per day (57,000 per year) and supplying to Alice Springs, Sydney and Melbourne.
Struggling to keep up with demand, Roger eventually sold the business. However, things took a turn for the worse with the new owners and the sale didn’t work out as positively as he and the family expected.
Roger and his family relocated to Strathalbyn. Despite being down on his luck at the time, Roger was still keen to give back to his community and that’s where his next big journey began. Beginning the ‘South-Eastern Modern Yacht Club” in ’92 and acting as the Commodore, the Club now hosts 33 regular members.
During this time, Roger was approached by a local high school and asked to use his building skills to engage young people who were struggling with traditional and academic subjects. Roger’s patience and personality was the perfect fit for this role and the rewards were astounding.
“Watching these kids come back after school to keep working on their yacht was such a treat,” he said.
“It was great to support these kids that had lost interest in school and watch them realise what else they can do.”
Now retired from teaching and his Commodore duties, Roger holds a lifetime membership to the club but these days spends most of his time gardening and catching up with friends and family – as well as caring for his pet dog, Milo.
“I’ve lived a good life,” he said.