I was born in Windsor, NSW, Australia, and have lived in Canberra since I was 6 weeks old. I grew up in a small, three-bedroom weatherboard home in Yarralumla (pictured below), a house that still stands today, despite all the redevelopment that has occurred in that suburb.
My two brothers and I attended the local Catholic primary school, St Peter Chanel's, which closed in 1989. For the most part, I had a happy childhood, which I attribute in part to the small size of my school and a small band of closely-knit classmates — and, of course, the loving family environment in which I grew up.
My dad came to Canberra in 1973, when he got a job at Bega dairy. After a while, dad got a job with ACT Roads and Bridges, before settling into a career with the National Capital Development Commission from 1975 until the Commission's demise in 1989. Dad then transferred to the ACT public service, bringing his time in public service to almost 30 years.
When my brothers and I were growing up, dad worked 2 jobs, sometimes 3 jobs, including working for himself as a cleaner and packing shelves at Woolworths late at night, all just to make ends meet. Dad now cares for my mum at their Canberra home. I owe mum and dad a lot.
Mum brought up her 3 young boys while dad worked to provide the family with an income. Mum was a dedicated housewife, and is a loving mum, who raised her 3 children and did all the typical mum things, such as trips to the doctors and dentists, parent and teacher meetings, cake stalls and fetes, and kids' birthday parties.
For high school, I went to St Edmund's College in Griffith, as my brothers had done before, graduating in 1990. Whenever I really try to impress people, I do my best when I mention I was in the same class as former Rugby Union Wallaby captain George Gregan.
After my final year at school, the family decided to sell our home in Yarralumla and move to the northern suburb of Fraser. The move was motivated partly by having to pay the school fees and also by the fact that I, by this time age 17, was still sharing a bunk bed with my older brother age 19.