Our very own Member Brian Downing did the honours today, telling us much about his life and career, and it was a very interesting and at times humourous presentation. Introduced by Rod Lane, who dubbed the talk “The Life of Brian”, our Speaker explained that his very young days were not easy as he was somewhat unco-ordinated and kept out of sight by his dad in particular. Brian’s father was a gifted musician, and during the WWI days he would sit on the docks at Harwich in Essex, welcoming various visiting sailors with a rendition of the appropriate national anthem! Mr Downing became a crack pistol shot, and when he went off to WWII, Brian was dumped on the local Dominican nuns for a while. After the war the family moved abroad and Brian was sent to a free public school in Southern Rhodesia, but his Mum declared that he should be a geologist or a botanist. He therefore moved to a private school in order to gain access to university, where he studied not only geology and botany, but also got into philosophy! That gave his parents something to think about! For a while Brian went to the north eastern part of Rhodesia to do survey work where he came into contact with various political people and also landed up in the army! Surprise, surprise, Brian went back to university and then he proceeded to Zululand where he met and soon married Heather (after an encounter with a rhino!). After moving to Australia Brian became an independent consultant working with various development agencies in many remote parts of the world. He described the significant challenges of corruption, lack of infrastructure and consequent lack of progress. Thanks for a fascinating summary of your lot in life Brian!