Colin Kemplan

Ship name / Flight number: Oriana

Arrival date: 09/09/1962

‘Oriana’ and I sailed from Southampton on August 16th, 1962 and arrived in Sydney three and a half weeks later September 9th. It was a wonderful trip living in the lap of luxury. The Big Brother Movement was holding my twenty-five pounds in trust and made it available on arrival.

Off to the Training Farm in Sydney’s west and after around four weeks I was on my way to Hernani, 30 miles from Dorrigo to become the Pommy Jackaroo. The metropolis of Hernani boasted a one teacher school, a hall and a tennis court. It was a far cry from the village of Bluebell Hill in Kent where I grew up.

I enjoyed my time jackarooing at Hernani with the Molesworth family; unfortunately, the boss – Bill Molesworth – was an unusual bloke. At one stage during my tenure his lovely wife left him and took off with the children which made things rather awkward for this jackaroo. A new Little Brother – Richard ‘Bluey’ Parsons – arrived and not long after his arrival ‘Bill’ and I had a silly argument. I got lippy and cheeky and was given a week’s notice. I left the same day!

My replacement was Little Brother Dick Steell. He lasted a few weeks and left to find true love. Bluey stayed for a while and had a bit of fisticuffs with Bill and left him jackaroo-less.

That said the Hernani and Dorrigo communities were very welcoming to me. It’s a pity I ended up with ‘odd’ Bill Molesworth.


It was time for a career change – the Bank of New South Wales was advertising for staff, so I polished up my riding boots, smoothed down my moleskin trousers, tucked in my country check shirt and presented myself at the bank’s Sydney head office.

“Why do you want to join a bank, when your references say you’re a jackaroo?” said the recruiting office.

“I’d be good in one of your country branches” said I. “I’d speak their language like ‘two tooth’ wether and ‘drenching’!” I added.

I got the job and started the next day on January 9th, 1964 as the junior at the Bank of New South Wales, Bega branch. A wonderful little rural community on the NSW South Coast. I enjoyed the work and soon worked my way up the ladder and became a teller and then a relief officer. This meant travel all over NSW and being paid an away from home allowance as well as my salary. It was a great little earner.

Then in mid 1965 a letter arrived in the mail that threatened to change my life. I’d been ‘specially selected’ to fight for ‘King & Country’. My call up papers had arrived. As it transpired I’d arranged to return to the UK in 1966 to see my family and celebrate my twenty-first birthday.

After a lot of fast talking I was given a reprieve and allowed to go with the proviso that when I returned in fifteen months time I was to re-register for national service. The bank gave me unpaid leave and in January 1966 I was homeward bound on the ‘Flavia’.

On that same ship was a New Zealand school teacher who was off to the UK on her OE. We fell in love, got engaged in The UK and at the end of 1966 returned to join her family in Matamata New Zealand. We married in 1967 and given that I had no ties in Australia we settled in New Zealand. I re-joined the Bank of New South Wales and enjoyed a stint in branch banking and then in the bank’s head office in Wellington.

My varied career now featured –Staff Training Officer, Public Relations Assistant and then a transfer back to the bank’s Sydney head office. This move was to the Development & Marketing division and amongst the exciting projects I became involved in was the very first ‘Wales Rescue Helicopter’ service.

By now it was the mid 1970s and we had three children and wanted to bring them up in New Zealand.

The bank agreed to a transfer back to New Zealand and after a short stint on the relief staff I was transferred to Auckland where I became part of the team that launched Bankcard. My role was to promote Bankcard to all the bank’s branches in New Zealand. I’ve travelled to every corner of the land of the long white cloud!

In the early 1980s I was promoted to Marketing Manager for New Zealand Bankcard Associates. It was a secondment to the company that looked after the marketing of Bankcard to the merchants and co-ordinated a twenty-five strong Bankcard sales team. Add to this the responsibility for the TV, radio and press advertising for Bankcard and I was a busy ‘jackaroo’

In the late 1980s it was time to move away from banking and find another challenge.

I went from plastic cards to those made of cardboard – greeting cards. I joined John Sands the greeting card manufacturers and managed their charity card division for ten years. Hallmark head hunted me, and I had a similar role with them for about three years and then five of us were made redundant.

Hallmark treated us very poorly and I never wanted to see another greeting card again.  As I drove, fuming, from the Hallmark building in Auckland my car ‘phone went and one of my (now ostensibly) ex- customers asked if she could confirm a very large greeting card order with me.

Little Brother jackaroos think quickly when push comes to shove, and I accepted the order and on that very day started ‘Charity Cards New Zealand Limited’. I had all the contacts and was able to operate from my home office. I had a huge customer base and the pick of the charity customers I had developed over the years.

Ten years later it was time to retire and enjoy the fruits of our labours. We have a very comfortable home in Matamata, a little beach bach (holiday cottage) on the Coromandel Peninsula and an apartment in Auckland. We spread ourselves between the three, but the beach bach seems to be the most popular choice.

We returned to Matamata (you may know it as Hobbiton) thirteen years ago to retire and are members of several community groups including the Matamata Dramatic Society, the Historical Society and the Grey Warblers singing group. Three wonderful children, Ally, Stratton and Nick have produced six wonderful grand children who range in age from 25 years to 2 years.

Colin Kemplen is a very contented Little Brother – thanks BBM you changed my life!

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