Interviewee: Mr Royston Adrian Hansen
Date of Birth: 5 July 1941
Interviewer: Judy McCall
Date of Interview: 11 April & 1 May 2019
Synopsis: Charlotte Whincup
BOHG No: 2019
Total Length: 2 hours
Born on 5 July 1941 in Kalgoorlie, Western Australia, Roy was the eldest son of Philip Joseph and Ena Mary Hansen (nee Clohessy). Roy has a younger brother and sister. Philip, born in 1909, at a farm along the Capel River near Bunbury, worked underground at the North Kalgurli mine and Ena who was born in Daylesford, Victoria, moved to Kalgoorlie with her family, where her father worked on the railways. Philip and Ena married at St John’s Cathedral, Kalgoorlie in 1935.
Philip enlisted in the second world war as a sapper in 1942 and was posted to Bougainville. His experience with working with explosives in the Kalgoorlie mines, became invaluable both during the war and after, for numerous reasons. Not only for the laying of booby traps during the war, but also for helping to gather food for his fellow army mates, by stunning the fish with the use of dynamite. Roy also witnessed this later on as a young child on holiday with the rest of his family, along the Capel River, where Philip again stunned the fish and the holiday makers at the local caravan park had a good supper that night! Philip, commonly known by his nickname, Hungry Hansen, due to the size of his appetite, was a character and Roy fondly told Judy some of the stories that his father got up to!
Roy’s love of music began at an early age when he asked his mother to have piano lessons and aged eight, twice a week, during lunch time break he would cycle from the school to attend lessons. His parents loved music and dancing, attending the local “cèilidhs” (the Caledonians). Roy also went and began to learn various dance steps, such as the Pride of Erin, Gay Gordons.
In 1960, aged 18, Roy left home and went to Claremont Teachers’ College after gaining a scholarship. During his two years of study, he commenced his acting career in Gilbert & Sullivan’s The Gondoliers, which he thoroughly enjoyed. The following year, Roy got the part of the Pirate King in The Pirates of Penzance. Roy also played hockey, which he had started to play back in high school and he reminisced of the times at the Embassy Ballroom, and at the Snake Pit in Scarborough. Roy remarked that he may have tried to have too much fun and got a reprimand at the end of the first term! He continued to attend church as he had done in Kalgoorlie, and later became a lay preacher.
After gaining his Teacher’s Certificate he was posted to Corrigin Junior High School for his first teacher’s position and it was in Corrigin where he met his future wife, Judy. Roy commented on how he had to teach Judy’s youngest brother! Some of Roy’s past students have been Ken Wyatt AM, current Member of House of Representatives for Hasluck, WA and Michael Smith a pilot for Qantas and Singapore Airlines. After four years at Corrigin, the newly married couple moved to Busselton in 1966. One of his neighbours, John Piper, who was a keen musician, suggested that Roy should go along to the Busselton Brass Band and try it out. Not knowing any of the music or instruments Roy took up the challenge (and the baton!) and it was the start of his connection with brass bands for over fifty years. He became self taught in playing the trombone, tenor horn, cornet and baritone and has taught others how to play these instruments. He became Busselton Brass Band bandmaster, conducting the band and regularly performed at the Busselton Festival. During this time he also formed a dance band called The Timbermen, performing at weekend dances in Collie and surrounds.
In 1973 Roy was head hunted for the position of Head of Primary and Head of Music at the newly opened Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, Australia’s first co-ed boarding school. Roy, Judy and their adopted children Dean and Travis moved to Bunbury, living first in Molloy Street. As part of his duties at the school, Roy established a choir for the Bunbury Cathedral from a group of Grammar School students and local Bunbury children. During this time, he was one of the founding members for the Bunbury Combined Schools Festival of Performing Arts which commenced in 1976, first held at the South Way Hall and eventually became the first performance to be put on at the newly built Bunbury Regional Entertainment Centre (BREC) in 1990. Unfortunately, due to a lack of interest shown from some headmasters and sponsors the festival ceased in 2011. The Festival, Roy and his fellow teachers are to be commended for 35 years of choral experience for the Bunbury and surrounding areas school students.
Roy became a member of Bunbury City Brass Band in 1974 and was made a life member in 1987 for assisting the teaching of new members in various instruments. He has participated in the Queen’s Cup, which is a competition for country bands, ranging from brass, concert, jazz and big bands and commented that Bunbury and Busselton Brass Bands enjoy a good battle! He has also played overseas and remembered playing at a beer festival in England, where he didn’t enjoy sampling the warm beer! Roy’s musical career also encompasses singing and has been a member of Bunbury Bel Cantos and one of the original members of Bunbury Men of Song, which was formed over 20 years ago by Myra Easton. For the latter group, Roy has been an accompanist and assistant director. He also formed a group called Jark, which now consists of eight men, who sing at the local nursing homes in Bunbury, Busselton, Collie and Donnybrook. Roy has also taken part in musicals at Bunbury Cathedral Grammar School, noting that he would have been the tiniest Tevye ever known, in Fiddler on the Roof!
Roy retired from teaching full-time in 1999, but has continued, in one form or another to teach music.
You would think that Roy wouldn’t have much spare time, but he has continued to play hockey since his days at school and will be part of the over 75’s division in the Master’s games being held in Bunbury later this year. He has already won an international gold medal representing Australia in hockey, but he did comment that he had to wait till he was over 70 to achieve it! I think we can let him off that!
Roy and Judy eventually adopted three exceptional children, Dean, Travis and Simone. They now have families of their own and Roy has 7 grandchildren. They have all taken on Roy’s love of sport.