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At our meeting on 17th May, 2 new members were induceted into our club.  They provided the following information to help our existing memers to get to know them.


BERNARD SHIRLEY.  I am a former journalist who left the ABC in Sydney to join the Australian Information Service in Canberra in the 1970s, which led to successive postings at our diplomatic missions in Mexico, Port Moresby and Rome.

Those years living in three rich, distinctive and different cultural environments were very rewarding and had a huge impact on our own personal development and tastes.

On return to Australia in the mid 1980s I managed the public affairs for the new Parliament House project in Canberra before founding a public affairs consultancy, and then joining Qantas in the run up to its public float in the mid 1990s as Group General Manager, Public Affairs, Sponsorships and Promotions.

My wife Toni and I have two children, Saxon and Xannon, who  were born in Mexico and London respectively and who completed their educations at Cranbrook and Sydney University.

Although I was born in Melbourne and raised in country Victoria, we were married in Sydney before going overseas and have lived here on and off for so long that we consider ourselves “locals.”

Since retiring I have been able to spend more time pursuing my interests in tennis, the arts, reading and cooking.

Once I would also have added travel but sadly that doesn’t seem to apply much post Covid.


TONI SHIRLEY. I was born in Newcastle and educated at Loreto Normanhurst before graduating from the Fine Arts course at the National Arts School, Darlinghurst.

Bernard and I were married in Sydney in 1972 and almost immediately left for a series of postings which kept us out of the country for some 12 years, with a couple of brief returns to Canberra.

This was a wonderful period and enabled us to broaden our horizons. It provided some educational advantages for our eldest son, Saxon, who was born in Mexico and went to school in Italy, enabling him to study a number of the romance languages in his formative years.

Our younger son, Xannon, did not enjoy the same linguistic advantages but after an early career in media and entertainment he returned to Sydney University to get his Masters degree in order to teach high school English and History.

My own major interests these days include the arts, film, theatre, yoga and reading. Bernard and I used to travel extensively until Covid more or less put paid to that.

However we are optimists and look forward to when we can travel to Singapore to spend time with our two grandchildren there and to revisit Mexico, which holds a special place in our hearts.