Perth, Western Australia
In each edition of the Veritas it is planned to catch up with an Old Boy to reminisce about his time at the College and what he has done since leaving, and what he is up to today.
So who better to start with than the Suburban Boy himself, Dave Warner (Class of 1970).
Basis for this article was an interview (more like a friendly chat over a beer in a Sydney pub) I had with Dave in May 2010.
Dave Warner commenced in Mrs Crothers grade V class in 1963, in the newly completed Junior School building having come from St Joseph Pignatelli, in Attadale and soon became mates with Denis O’Hara and Richard Coakley. Being a boy from Bicton he also remembers the torturous bus run home with the 36 from the school to the highway, the 103 down Canning Highway, then the 148 from Hislop road thru Attadale and Bicton and a walk from the stop to home, the journey taking a full hour each day!
As Dave progressed through the Junior school he remembers in particular his Grade VII teacher Mr Flynn who introduced him to creative writing, the swimming lessons in the Canning River with the Jellyfish and the Walkathon that was to raise money for a pool and the hockey pavilion. He remembered the completion of the pavilion but not the pool, I advised him that the pool was completed in 1975, 5 years after he graduated.
In the Senior School Dave became involved in the debating, cadets and drama, in cadets he was involved in the signal corps and remembers all to well late nights manning the radio under the watchful eye of Br Marks, however drama was to become his favourite College pursuit. He appeared in the school productions of “The Little Man”, “Reunion”, “West Side Story “and “Antigone” with other notable thespians Ian Firns, Terry Serio and John De Souza. Dave made the comment that he remembers the Headmaster of the day Br. Leo Hassam as being very supportive and encouraging of the Arts at Aquinas.
Dave Warner matriculated from Aquinas College in 1970 and received the Cullity Prize for English Literature and the Ken Kelsall Prize for General Mathematics. He then went onto UWA completing a B.A (Hons.), majoring in psychology.
After a short stint in London in 1975, Dave returned to Perth and formed his second band Dave Warner and the Suburbs and had success with his anthem tune Suburban Boy, this success as a song writer and performer lead Bob Dylan to refer to him as his “favourite Australian songwriter”.
Dave formed his most successful band The Suburbs in 1977. The group developed a huge underground following, which lead him to sign with Mushroom records in 1978, releasing his first album ‘Mugs Game’ which went Gold within a month of release.
Dave and the Suburbs gigs were huge around the pub scene of Perth particularly the Subi and the Alberts Tavern along with legendary guitar man Johnny Leopard the band packed out these venues from 1977 to 1981.
In 1981 Dave retired from fulltime performing and turned instead to writing plays, novels and screenplays, and his first novel ‘City of Lights’ set in Perth and its surrounds (including the climax in the Rottenest gun tunnels) won the Best Fiction Work at the WA Premiers Book awards.
As a screen writer Dave has written a feature film, ‘Cut’ and co-wrote ‘Garage Days’, his credits in TV script writing include episodes in ‘McLeod’s Daughters’, ‘Canal Road’, ‘Sea Patrol’, ‘Packed to the Rafters’, ‘Rush’ and ‘Rescue: Special Operations’.
Dave has also completed a children’s novel, Charlotte and the Starlet which has been very successful and has resulted in the publisher commissioning 2 more novels in the series.
Dave Warner now lives in Sydney with wife Nicole and daughters Violet and Venice and son Gus, and catches up with Old BoysMick and Denis O’Hara, Mick O’Rourke, Terry Serio, Shane McNamara and Ian Golding.
He supports the Sydney Swans but still has a soft spot for the Dockers, but you would expect that from a bloke who grew up in Bicton and remembers prawning in the Swan when a couple drags would get you enough for a feed and Barry Wray ran the local SERVICE station where your petrol was pumped, your tyres, oil and water were all checked for free and the petrol was only $0.30c per litre!