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Just over a week ago, my family and I flew to Hobart to celebrate the 80th birthday of my father, Tony.

It was a small family occasion on Saturday night as we shared stories, food and drink.

It’s hard to comprehend how different the world was on 25 February 1934, when my father was born, the youngest of four children to Alfred and Edith, who worked the family farm two hours south of Hobart.

The impact of the Great Depression was being felt across the world and the start of the Second World War was still five years away.

My paternal grandfather, Alfred James Clennett was an ANZAC, who passed away in 1950 when my father was 16, having suffered a heart attack at the age of 62.

Ross and Dad Feb2014


With Dad at home in Hobart celebrating his 80th birthday.
February 2014
I have had the benefit of having my father in my life as a child, teenager, young adult and as a father myself. My father didn’t have that benefit of those final two life stages with his father.

Dad set the standards in my life for respect of others, courage, hard work and commitment to family. Dad didn’t need to say much; his actions did all the talking.

He let me find my own way in life, never preaching nor interfering, just encouraging and setting the standard for the behavior he valued. As a father of three very independently-minded children, I now understand how challenging that can be at times!

My father has been my biggest supporter. He’s been there for me through thick and thin, encouraging me and believing in me.

Those tough times (a marriage breakdown, a career failure and a business failure) were times in my life when I needed him the most and Dad was always there to give me what I needed at that time.

Happy birthday, Dad and thanks; you’ve been the best father a boy and man could possibly have. I hope I finish up being at least half the man and father you are.


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