Richard Holdsworth





Richard Holdsworth

Our speaker on Tuesday 14th November, Richard Holdsworth was evacuated from south London at the start of the Second World War along with his mother and older sister. His father sent them off to auntie in the Berkshire countryside – our London house was bombed and father managed to wrangle a transfer from his bank in the City of London and became assistant manager in the local village branch.
They stayed on in the country – Richard first went to village school and then Wallingford Grammar. Never much of an academic, his father went to see the Principal as he reached 16 and asked of his future and on being told he was something of a dreamer, his Dad came home and announced, “You’ve always wanted to work on a farm, Son, well you start on Monday…”
After a year of practical experience, he went to Agricultural College and then worked on the best stud Beef Shorthorn herd in the country – two years later and at the stud sales in Perth, Scotland, a representative from Dalgety and Co asked him if he would consider taking a dozen stud cattle and horses to Australia on the deck of a cargo ship. “The downside – a one-way ticket. Find your own way home…” He sailed within three weeks and broke his mum’s heart!
He had the cattle in perfect condition after the 12,000-mile voyage and was offered several positions with stud herds in Australia and accepted the position as Stud Herdsmen with an up-and-coming herd in South Australia and brought out the Supreme and Reserve Champion at the 1960 Royal Adelaide show the following year – sweeping the board like that had never been done before. The owner dispensed with his services after the show – but a wonderful man by the name of Ron Stewart, Editor, took him on as staff writer with the Adelaide Stock & Station Journal. He covered all manner of farming subjects including cattle and sheep sales in the Outback.
After four years he was recruited by The Weekly Times in Melbourne where he met Heather, they married and sailed to the UK on a year long honeymoon – but instead of returning to Australia they started a Volkswagen camper manufacturing business which became one of the largest in Europe. That business now sold, they returned to Australia three years ago and are enjoying life Down Under once again!
His book, Six Spoons of Sugar, sees war through the eyes of a young lad – blackouts, rationing, being bombed on a shopping trip to the local market town with his mum and later, the American 101st Airborne arriving in their village and transforming life.
Now he lives a peaceful – if busy – life as a member of several writing groups and he pens articles for travel magazines here and in the UK and is an Australian correspondent for a couple of UK Porsche magazines: He raced a Porsche when he lived in South Australia in the 1960’s. He has also written the tale of his first eight years in Australia – In The Hot Seat and a book of short stories.

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