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Creative flair keeps Rod busy at Fairways

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Born under the stairs during an air raid in Devon, Torquay was quite a way to enter the world and since then Bolton Clarke Fairways, Bundaberg resident Rod Hingston has had a few close calls.

That hasn’t stopped him enjoying the peace he finds in his art, music and the Bundaberg retirement lifestyle.

Rod was born in England and came over to Australia with his family when he was 15 years old.

“It was too late in my education to return to school so I took up work on a dairy farm where I worked until the owner of the farm unfortunately had a heart attack and I lost my job,” he says.

Faced with a decision about what to do next, Rod enlisted in the Army at 16 as an apprentice musician playing the bass tuba.

“Three months before I was due to graduate, I went out with a group of friends to the movies one night. Afterwards we were looking for a ride home as we had no money. We met a friend who said he could get us home if we pushed his car to the petrol station,” he recalls.

“I was helping push the care when I was struck on the road by a taxi driver who had been drink driving and technically died on the scene. Fortunately, the accident happened outside the local hospital where I was able to receive immediate medical attention and was resuscitated three times.”

The accident left Rod with catastrophic injuries including broken bones in both legs, his spine and skull and he ultimately spent 12 months in hospital.

Despite the injuries he kept his job in the Army, going on to serve 22 years. He completed his graduation in hospital with five years’ service in the military band before he transferred to be a Warrant Officer which had been his career goal.

Rod met his wife Janet while he was living in Wagga. Every Thursday the Army band would perform a concert in the park. As fate would have it, Janet came along one week, and a friend introduced them.

“It was love at first sight, we met in January and a few months later we were married at 17,” he says.  

After his years of service with the army Rod discharged himself for a more permanent lifestyle and settled in the New South Wales coastal town of Nambucca Heads with Janet and their two teenage daughters.

“I then took a job in the Golf Club before I moved on to managing the Leagues Club, but unfortunately I fell ill with Chron’s Disease losing parts of my stomach making eating certain foods and drinks little difficult - but I do like a good Scotch.

“We travelled to Scotland for my 50th Birthday and spent time in the highlands, I went into a bar to try their single malt whiskey’s the bartender said we have 98 – I only got through about four.”  

After another 13 years of work Rod decided it was time to retire.

Regional Queensland was high on his list, with all the services he and Janet needed but none of the hustle and bustle of a big city. The couple wound up in Bundaberg and have been living at the Fairways retirement community for the last 18 months.

“We think that we got the best spot in Bundaberg, we have a beautiful outlook and a lovely open space. We have made friends with people in the village, and there is another army musician who lives next door. Everyone keeps an eye out for each other,” Rod said.   

He still has a love of music but has now expanded that to include painting water colours, taking art classes in Bundaberg and producing about one painting a week.

In addition to this he is also a member of the Bundaberg Railway Club and has a keen interest in model trains and is also an ornithology enthusiast.