Richard (Dick) Steell

Ship name / Flight number: Fairsea

Arrival date: 01/12/1963

Dick’s story

At the ripe old age of 17, I arrived in Sydney on December 1st and enjoyed 2 weeks of beautiful summer days at the training farm, before taking up employment as a jackeroo on a sheep property. The journey involved 14 hours on the Glen Innes mail train and several hours in a Peugeot  203 mail car before arriving late afternoon, near Dorrigo NSW. No effusive welcome, just instructions to ‘keep away from the boss’ 16-year-old daughter’ and be up at 5.30 am for chores before breakfast.


Day 1 involved mustering sheep – on horseback. I had never ridden a horse before but the boss said that was not a problem as the horse knew what to do. Several days of hanging on for grim death, while being plagued by more flies that I knew existed, proved the accuracy of his statement about the horse but did nothing to endear me to my chosen career. Despite this introduction I did enjoy most of the work but a tense relationship with the boss and the desire to rekindle a shipboard romance made me restless.

 Contrary to my agreement with The Big Brother Movement, I absconded and finished up in Adelaide working as a ’21 year old’ in a number of unskilled jobs. Later, in Melbourne, with the travel bug partially satisfied I started a new job, declared my true age, started night school, got married and freshly graduated joined aluminium company, Comalco Ltd. During a 21 year career I moved to Perth and finally Sydney, ultimately as General Manager Credit Services with CRA Ltd (Comalco’s parent). I travelled extensively around the world on business which only served to reinforce my view that migrating to Australia was the smartest decision I ever made.

In 1997 I joined forces with a colleague and wrote a software application for credit risk and receivables management. Our timing was spot on and our company grew quickly and we sold out to a public listed Australian group. I continued to work with them until retirement.

My wife Dianne and I live in Hornsby on Sydney’s Upper North Shore. We have two sons. One is a property lawyer in Melbourne and the other a self-employed electrician in Orange. We have three grandchildren. We still travel frequently, both overseas and in Australia, but really enjoy driving around the country on our interstate travels.


For the past few years I have been volunteering in the BBM office and enjoy swapping yarns with other Little Brothers I meet. I respond to enquiries from Little Brothers (LB’s), help out with various tasks associated with LB’s and assist with a project to catalogue the Big Brother Movement archives that date back to 1925. I am easily engrossed by some of the stories I find and they remind me how challenging those early years in Australia were for us. However, I have never regretted migrating and am always grateful for the opportunity given to me by The Big Brother Movement.

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