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Wild Thing

Escapades of a Bunbury boy

About The Book

Growing up in South Bunbury, Western Australia in the 50s and 60s wasn’t easy. The antics Rob, his siblings and friends inflicted on the neighbourhood and beyond was in those days just ‘boys being boys’, their imagination for entertaining themselves something they were lucky to survive, and Rob has the scars to prove it.

Rob’s journey from childhood to manhood opened his eyes to the good, bad and ugly in life,  and to the importance of family. 

Throughout it all, Rob’s passion or speed shone through, racing motorbikes and sidecars in his teen years featuring strongly in his life.

His story tells the truth, the whole truth – which may intrigue, inform or amuse – and is nothing but the truth. 

Holy Toledo. How you survived your childhood is nothing short of a miracle !!!! I soooooo loved reading your amazing story and visualizing your daredevil adventures….. even whilst enduring such a long stint of recuperation. I can’t wait for

next book you larrikin! Well written …. a big congratulations from me.

Elaine Capps

What’s inside


Memories of my Father

From war service to home handyman.



Mum and siblings.



South Bunbury Primary School and Bunbury Senior High School. 



Daredevil fun.


Aunties and Uncles

Cousins too.  Also working for a living and rehabilitation.


Bunbury Characters

and learning to drive.  My first cars.

Chapter 1

Dad enlisted in the RAAF (Service No 45247) in 1941 when he was twenty-two years old and was discharged in 1945.

On the 14th August 1942, while living in Como with her Mum and sisters Nin and Hazel, Mum received a telegram from Dad saying he was coming home so they could get married while he was on embarkation leave.  He was about to sail to England, and would later return to Australia on an aircraft carrier.

They went to Bunbury, received a special licence, and were married.  After a ten-day honeymoon touring around the South West of Western Australia, they moved to Como.  Dad then returned to Adelaide.

When he arrived there, he found out the trip to England had been cancelled, and in 1944 he was posted to Darwin.  Two weeks before Barry was born, Dad was posted to Adelaide, so he didn’t see Barry until he was seven months old.

Mum said that, while Dad was in Adelaide, he told her he was going to a four-year-old’s birthday party, so she asked him what age the kid’s older sister was.  Mum said he sent her photos of his girlfriends over there, so she decided what was good for him was good for her, and started going out with other blokes over here.




Holy hell. What a life! And you lived to tell the tale. Once I started reading, I had to finish it. It’s certainly compelling and heartfelt.

Lucy Cotton

What an absolute cracker of a read, just fantastic.

Elizabeth Stroud

What a special gift, I finished reading it last night. Rob tells it as it was. Details verbally set the pictorial settings of characters and places. Took me back to my own childhood and memories of shopping trips to Bunbury. A great read. …

Gillian Peebles

Astoundingly honest.

Ian Monk

Great read, “nine lives Rob”

Kevin Woods

Well, I’m a bit disappointed Robert, when I got your book I thought I’d just flip through a couple of pages....2hrs later I finished it!!! Well done, but I wished it had more pages and definitely more gossip, lol! A fun read though!

Georgina Francis

South Bunbury.

South Bunbury
South Bunbury in the 1950s was a sleepy little town just under two hundred kilometres south of Perth where it felt like everybody knew everybody else.

Kids could roam free as they liked with not a worry in the world and their parents knew they were safe wherever they were around town—or as in my case, exploring the bush.

As a fast growing and expanding town we were lucky enough to see the old world with horse troughs around the streets to water the many horses being used to tow vehicles around town as well as the new technology beginning to arrive. There were massive scrapers removing hills opposite the beach for housing and by the 1960s most of the horse-drawn vehicles were phased out.

And in 1957 we saw the first satellite (Russian) go overhead among the millions of stars visible then as there was a clear sky and little ambient light.