Ex-radio announcer's one-man show provides insight into the human condition

RETREAT: Anthony North at the meditative retreat on his property at Warnertown. He wants to share his journey through life with others who may benefit.
RETREAT: Anthony North at the meditative retreat on his property at Warnertown. He wants to share his journey through life with others who may benefit.

The words rolled off Anthony North’s tongue as he sat in his four-wheel-drive vehicle overlooking the picturesque site of his latest project.

The one-time breakfast radio announcer talked about his relationship with his father, his high-flying – and otherwise – business ventures and the need for men to truly love their families.

As builders put the matchsticks together of a meeting room overlooking a dam where ducks and hens frolicked, he quoted the late Mother Teresa.

“She said, ‘If you want to change the world, go home and love your family’. Men should listen to that,” he said.

“We talk about our lives at work, but you should run your family like a business, if you could put it like that. 

“When we are at work we listen to others and follow commands, but we should be more responsive at home, too, to the needs of family members.”

As we spoke, kangaroos hopped about the land that is owned by Anthony and Andrea North at Warnertown.

He and his wife want to develop the site as a meditation and counselling venue for people with mental health issues.

The meeting area will be available free to community groups while two chalets have been built for hire by for groups of about 20 who are seeking to improve their lives.

In his modulated voice, he outlined his journey from shearer to vacuum-cleaner salesman to media advertising representative to breakfast radio announcer, in Port Lincoln and Port Pirie, and then owner of the Port Germein Seaside Restaurant, the One-Stop Water Shop and North Quarry.

“I got to the stage where I resented people coming to buy items from me,” he said.

“I would carry the heaviest load, jump the highest building, no-one could do it as well as me and, if they did, I would not acknowledge it.

“I spent pretty much every day feeling angry. It is just a sh--- way to live and us boys do that … but who wants to finish their life like that?

“I had knee, back and shoulder problems at the time and these were wearing me down. It was a case of do something different or die within a couple of years.

“The trouble with a lot of blokes is there are many people willing to help you, but you never ask for that support.

“My wife Andrea and I were just burnt out. I kept finding fault with our workers. I would not put on extra help. I would just work harder myself.

“I didn’t really know how to look after my staff and have them working with me. Andrea is a life coach and she started helping me.

“I went from a bloke who had never cried in his life to one who could not stop crying. I engaged a life coach from Melbourne instead of a psychiatrist.

“She broke me into pieces. I hung up on her on the first night, but I had a total of eight sessions.”

When you ask Mr North whether he is happy now, he responds with, “that is a really weird concept”.

“I know retired people who are unhappy or people who have bad relationships or have forgotten things they used to do on a daily basis,” he said.

“Too many of us have learned to suffer in silence.” 

Mr and Mrs North want to share their goodwill with everyone. They plan, with Red Cross, to roll out “roadshows” in the country to talk about depression, other mental health issues and relationship building.

The journey always ends for Mr North at his beautiful spot near the Augusta Highway and the trans-Australia railway track.

Up the hill near the venue-under-construction was once the old Warnertown pub and there are blocks of land available under a subdivision that was performed by a surveyor called Hughes.

His name was given to the dam on the property as well as Hughes Gap and Port Hughes.

But was Mr Hughes a happy man? Mr North doesn’t profess to know, but he is steadfast in pursuing his dream of a better life today for all.


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