|Jack R Herman|
|An overly formal biography|
I was born in Sydney in 1949, the second son of Harold and Norma (nee Dent). Married, with no children, but with an insubstantial mortgage, I live in Allawah (the name is derived either from an Aboriginal term meaning 'suburb next to Hurstville' or from an Arabic word suggesting to a place where God is found - depending on my mood on any given day), in southern Sydney, near Botany Bay, with my partner, Cath. My chief interests, other than being happy with her, are history, travel, reading, sport-watching and the finest art form of the twentieth century, the motion picture.
I suffered formal education at Scots College (until early in year 8) before moving to a more companionable state school, Vaucluse Boys' High. Tertiary education has taken place at the University of Sydney, Sydney Teachers' College, the University of New England and the University of Technology, Sydney.
For the last twenty years I have worked for the Australian Press Council, largely as its chief executive officer. I came to the Press Council after a varied career that has included fifteen years as a High School teacher (where in addition to teaching English, History and General Studies, I spent four years as a teacher of English as a Second Language), and time as a Professional Conference Organiser, a Reader for a press clipping service, a partner in a desktop publishing consultancy and a Director of a Internet Development company.
As the Press Council's CEO I have been responsible for the day-to-day running of the Council office, management of its finances, and all other relevant administrative duties. I've handle the processing of public complaints about the press, including attempts to settle them amicably. Additionally, I have edited the Council's publications, including any occasional papers, such as the State of the News Print Media in Australia. I joined the Press Council in November 1991 as Administrative Officer and have been Executive Secretary since April 1994. Along the way, I was responsible for the computerisation of the office and its use of the Internet, including the establishment of its Website, and has overseen the development of the Case Studies Seminars, writing many of the case studies and developing the Teachers' Notes that enable them to be used in the university classroom.
After an indifferent early teriary career in the late sixties and early seventies, when I majored in student politics, civil protest and debating, I returned to university in 1995-6. At that time, I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree, by correspondence, at the University of New England, Armidale, specialising in Medieval History, graduating in April 1997, 29 years after matriculating to the University of Sydney. In 2001, I commenced study towards a Graduate Certificate in Accounting at the University of Technology, Sydney, graduating in 2003, with a High Distinction average.
In my spare time, I'm an avid reader, with particular interest in fantasy, crime fiction and historical works, and movie watcher. Cath and I like to travel, exploring various parts of Australia and taking the occasional bush-walk. We have been planning and saving so that we can afford more overseas jaunts like the six months in Europe, the UK and the US in 1988-9. In 2004 we spent a month in Italy and Spain, including walks around the Cinque Terre in Liguria and a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. More travel overseas is required, so we went to Paris and the south of France for our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, in December 2009, and to China in 2010, as reported in the trip reports section of the site.
I spent too much time in the 1970s and 1980s involved in Science Fiction fandom, editing my own fanzine (WAHF-full, pronounced "waffle"), organising conventions (including 3 Australian National SF Cons), unsuccessfully bidding for a World SF Con, running a club, writing a Constitution and chairing 12 National Con and 2 WorldCon Business Meetings. I chaired my thirteenth (and last) Natcon Business Meeting in Melbourne in 2002.
I have been a competition debater, winning the NSW A Grade [Teams] Championship on 4 occasions, and the Singles Debating Championship once and twice represented NSW at the Australian Debating Championships. I was once named to the Australian Universities' Debating team. I've also written a number of articles for literary journals, particularly on subjects relating to fantasy and, in particular, to the work of Professor J R R Tolkien. As a result of these essays, I won the William Atheling Jr Award for Criticism or Review in 1980. I am currently a member of the Australian and New Zealand Amateur Press Association.
In 2003, Cath and I joined the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, being members of the Flotilla that patrols Botany Bay and the Georges River. As a part of the AVCG, we qualified as motor boat licensees, hold marine radio operators certificates and qualifications in coastal navigation, and are rated as Advanced Crew and as Radio Officers. In 2010, the AVCGA in NSW became a member of a new organisation, Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW. We continued to volunteer with that organisation in which I was a Trainer/Assessor and an Examiner for NSW Maritime Authority Boat Licences. We retired from MR NSW in April 2012.
Having wasted much of my youth supporting the Eastern Suburbs Rugby League club, when they were still the 'Tricolors', I switched allegiances in the 1980s to Australian football. Cath and I are supporters of the Sydney Swans, the local AFL club, and attend their games whenever possible.
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Last updated: 24 June 2012