• Bill Manning

Characters I have known Part 4

These blogs are anecdotes of characters I have known from Barker College, Roseville Junior Rugby Club, Gordon Rugby Club, Sailing and Coopers & Lybrand (PricewaterhouseCoopers). Read on.


Malcolm Levy

I had lunch with Malcolm Levy last week and he quoted a limerick about the Duke of York which is worth a repeat here is this blog.


The 1822 version

The Grand Old Duke of York

Oh, the grand old Duke of York

He had ten thousand men

He marched them up to the top of the hill

And he marched them down again

And when they were up, they were up

And when they were down, they were down

And when they were only half-way up

They were neither up nor down


The 2022 version

The Grand Old Duke of York

Oh, the grand old Duke of York

He borrowed twelve million quid

To give to someone he did not know

To pay someone he never did


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Malcolm Levy

Malcolm was a member of the Norske crew, owner of the Polar Bear and a previous Commodore of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Malcolm has featured in these blogs previously, specifically on six occasions from November 2019 to August 2020.


He was a participant at the mid year annual get-to-gethers of the Norske crew held at Brice Dickson’s property at Oberon (approximately 200k west of Sydney) in June/July. At these occasions it was often the case that we selected a theme to dress to. On one such occasion a French theme was nominated by Malcolm. He came fully dressed as a French postman with the correct uniform and cap. He then proceeded to distribute French letters to all attendees.

The Dicksons (Bruce)

There are many stories about the Dicksons. Here are just two if them. (Again I have previously published articles about the Dicksons namely November 2019 and July 2019). Again regarding the afore mentioned trip to Oberon here is a photo of this trip.


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Bruce Dickson and myself dressed for the ‘French’ weekend at Oberon

Bruce’s dad, RA Dickson (Dicko) was a long time director of EPT Ltd (Electric Power Transmission) a large Italian owned company listed on the Australian stock exchange. In appreciation for his long service as a Director of the company he was given a Ferrari sports motor car. Came the time to take the new car on its maiden drive to the family property at Oberon. He organised Bruce to follow him to Oberon in Bruce’s car, an FJ Holden. Bruce collected his wife and three young children in the car to travel to Oberon 200k via the Bells Line of Road to leave Sydney together. Dicko was travelling with his wife Anne in the Ferrari.


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A 1980 Ferrari car of the type owned by Dicko

Well, Dicko took off and went though the gears at a great pace. Bruce was attempting to follow him closely but soon Dicko was out of sight. Bruce’s wife Diana and the children were soon complaining about the speed of the Holden, being tossed around and were being car sick. This went on for about 2 hours and they soon came to Oberon. Going through the town there was still no sign of the Ferrari.



Bruce then left the town and resumed the 100k per hour speed as he travelled the last 5km to the gate at the family property (Middle Creek Estates).


As he approached the property he came up and over a small hill and then turned a sharp right into the driveway prior to entering the gate. BANG. Bruce ran fair up the back of the brand new Ferrari as Dicko was opening the gate. Well the cars remained where they were and the police were called. Arriving some 30 minutes later Bruce and Dicko were asked to produce their licences. The examining police officer said ‘Are you two related?’


“Yes’ said Dicko ‘and I want him prosecuted’. He was a hard taskmaster.


Incidentally at the Middle Creek Estates Bruce bred Polled Dorset sheep in a stud which for a number of years were always in the top three prize winners at the Sydney Royal Agricultural Show. He was the owner of the yacht Norske and a previous Commodore of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

The Dicksons (Peter)

Peter was the younger brother of Bruce. They were both over six foot and both were locks (2nd row) for the first grade at Gordon Rugby Club. Both of them rowed at Shore School but Peter was bigger than Bruce. He was a silver medalist at the Mexico Olympics in 1968 in the rowing eight.

When Peter was married he took his wife to the Fijian hotel (in Fiji) for his honeymoon. After they settled in Peter looked around for something entertaining to do. Down at the beach he came across a small Indian man who conducted a water skiing facility. Chatting to him they made arrangements for Peter to do some waterskiing the following morning. Peter arrived as arranged and noticed the tow boat was a little small for a large man like himself. They discussed this and Peter was assured the boat and equipment was sturdy enough for the waterskiing. They decided on an off the beach start.


In a broad Indian accent the speedboat driver said that Peter must be ‘A very experienced skier to do a beach start, when you are ready grab the ski rope handle with both hands and I will push the throttle down to pull you off the beach’. This Peter did and the driver pushed the throttle down to pull Peter off the beach. Peter then did not move but he then retrieved the rope at the end of which was the stern of the boat attached to the outboard motor. He then assisted the Indian driver to swim ashore with the hull of the boat.


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Peter Dickson is 5th from the bow

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