Spotlight on Dr Tony Rogers – Mobilong, Adelaide Women’s Prison and Adelaide Pre Release Centre volunteer
When did you start volunteering with DCS? I guess it was March 2016 that I put my name in but it wasn't until December that they suggested a particular job. I started at Mobilong in January 2017.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? I have a PhD in educational History from the University of British Columbia (Vancouver). I taught in the School of Education at UniSA from 1991 to 1999. Before that I lectured at UBC while completing my graduate degrees. Before that I was a school principal on an island off the west coast of Canada and before that taught in Vancouver schools apart from three years when I was teaching for the Canadian Armed Forces schools in Germany. In the past few years I have written a number of books for the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Meteorological Association and the Royal Society for the Blind. I've just finished another one which I hope will be out in Sept/Oct. Profits from several of my books have gone to charity. I am about to start an oral history of the Hydrological Society. This too is as a volunteer. My new book came out in December 2017. It's title is The Weatherman from Greenwich.
Why did you decide to become a volunteer and how has volunteering benefited you? I've been a volunteer for a number of years with different organisations, each with different roles. All my work at BoM is as a volunteer which is why all book profits can be donated to charity. Officially I volunteer because, now I'm retired, I can give something back to society. The real reason is that I thoroughly enjoy myself and hate being bored.
Which Prison or Prisons have you volunteered at? Mobilong, Yatala and AWP.
What do you do in your volunteer role at the prison? I teach a creative writing course at Mobilong. We are about to expand it from once a week to twice a week at the request of the participants. I also taught a creative writing course at Yatala for a time. I have designed and taught a Prisoner Employment Skills training course at Mobilong. It's a four week course and I have now presented it three times. I have also given it at AWP. We are about to start a book club at Mobilong.
What do you enjoy most about your role? I love teaching and interacting with people. The Creative Writing group is talented and enthusiastic. It's a real thrill to help them with their writing. I find it interesting that the participants tend to write autobiographically and I am impressed with what they write, their insights and their hopes for the future. Hugely impressed with what Guy Loasby is doing at Mobilong.
What is the last great book that you've read? Definitely Vanity Fair, and almost anything else by Thackeray, but recently I have been greatly impressed by Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.
What else do you like to do when you're not writing? I guess I'm an aged gym addict. I like cooking. I like travelling to see new places or revisit old, and to see the daily life in those places but hate formalised tours. I like meeting new people