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Ron Manners’ ideas
and adventures
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Dear Ron,

I was most impressed with the life that unfolded in those two books I purchased from you a few months ago. Through the eyes of the Manners family, well over one-hundred years of the Kalgoorlie Goldfields history emerged in a colorful yet poignant way. Is anyone writing another book: Kalgoorlie Legend – The Life and Times of Ron Manners?

By the time I had finished I had become reacquainted with the author Ayn Rand who, with a philosophy of rational individualism, was a major discussion point at QLD University in the 60s.

Admittedly I had only read Atlas Shrugged and Fountainhead but you have now encouraged me to read others you have quoted in your book. As well, I learnt new terms like enterprise libertarianism, and relished your quote which flowed from ‘balance’ being one of the immutable laws of leadership: ‘If you get too far in front of your troops, you start to look like the enemy’. By coincidence, I studied Shakespeare’s King Henry V while at Leederville Technical School in 1957 and I agree with you when you state: ‘What would Shakespeare think of our mining industry?’

In some respects you have similarities to adventurer Dick Smith in that nothing seems to stand in your way and if there’s a mountain in front of you, then you climb it. Your life has been a series of experiences and this has instilled in you a philosophy of supreme optimism which enables you to confidently meet life’s challenges. The Warren Buffets,  Arvi Parbos and Leonard E Reads of this world have all helped to shape you as a person but I’m certain that your networking ability and your refreshing enthusiasm for getting things done would have made a profound impression on these men.

In ‘Never a Dull Moment’ (page 29) your dear mother mentioned Mr H Thomas whose small daughter used to come into the classroom and sit on a tiny chair. Mr Horace Thomas was my grandfather and he later became Inspector of Schools. He had 9 children excluding the one that died (my mother was the nursing sister at Kalgoorlie hospital). The surviving family members have gone into overdrive trying to work out who that child was because they know the child that died was not born at that time. They have concluded that it was a boy with golden curly hair named Archie and he must have looked like a girl. Archie was a prisoner of war in Singapore, returned and bought RM Black Stockbrokers in Perth, and was for many years President of the Freshwater Bay Yacht Club. On page 230, Monty Montefiore and his first wife Phil were groomsman and bridesmaid at my parents wedding in 1937.

You’ve probably had many people writing to you about their slant on things that have appeared in your book so I won’t bore you by continuing in this vein. Before I finish I want to say that your escapades and the myriad people you have met (such as Mona the Madam, Prince Leonard of Hutt) have been skillfully woven into the fabric of Kalgoorlie’s history. As far as experiences go there is one which stands out as a million to one chance of occurrence and that is to arrive at a plane crash on a motor bike while experts were trying to find it. I distinctly recall that it occurred in 1951 (possibly the same year as the Pedestal mine affair) and it was found near Lake Kurrawang. Imagine Ron Manners on a motorbike discovering the wreckage, borrowing the pilot’s map and then letting the search party know where it was – incredible!

Keep the search going.

Kind regards

Gerry Clarkson

PS. I used a technique of yours to advantage recently. I tried to get into the Eumundi market on the Sunshine Coast without buying a parking spot beforehand. This is how the conversation went with the parking officer.

Officer: Excuse me sir, do you have a ticket for parking in the market?

Clarkson: I’m a Poet of the Revolution and I was told I don’t need a ticket.

Officer: What’s that?

Clarkson: I’m a Free Enterprise Libertarian.

Officer: Shit! Is that something to do with increasing the size of the market’s parking area?

Clarkson: That’s what it’s all about, officer.

Officer: Dad, let this bloke through. He’s fighting the council on our behalf.


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