On arrival in Melbourne in autumn of 1952 I visited the General in order to apply for a job. The General was in fact the General Motors Holden Company, fully owned by the American giant the GMC (just like another American firm that owns Vegemite).  In November 1948, a couple of months before arriving on these shores GMH launched its first Australian model - the Holden FX - and it was an instant success. The company offered me a job on the assembly line which I accepted. Very soon they realised that I could be of a greater benefit to them as I was pretty fast at counting numbers of nuts and bolts and placing them in little bags.

 I was given a job in the tool store on the afternoon shift. This job represented a real promotion, as I had my own little office with a window through which I dispensed tools to whoever presented me with a requisition. I hardly spent more than 2 hours per day on this task. At that time, I was seriously considering broadening my bookkeeping qualifications, as my Czech Commercial Academy qualification did not seem to carry much weight in Australia. The Hemingway Robertson Institute offered a correspondence course which would take me to a stage of presenting myself for examination by an Accountancy Body. There were a number of Accountancy Institutes then and there was no official tertiary body examining.   I took up the Hemingway Robertson course and was supplied with a set of booklets and exercise questionnaires which I found very easy to follow. I was able to pass my Intermediate stage examination with one of the Accountancy bodies – a 2 year course – within 9 months. The exam was held at the St. Kilda Town Hall,

By the time I left Melbourne to return to the Big Smoke, I thought I was ready for such a complex task as reconciling Cash Books in an office, a step not to be taken lightly in Australia. I was asked for some document with a Latin title: Curriculum Vitae, which I diligently compiled by telling prospective employers how well I performed on the assembly line and in tool stores and they all thought that an office job was too difficult a step for me. I came upon a brilliant idea of asking one of my Melbourne friends who had a business name and a printed letterhead to let me have a blank letterhead which I could then fill with some highly fictitious material about the clerical duties I had performed to satisfaction in some non-existent firms.

 I got the first job I applied for and was greatly admired for my skill in “jumping” into the middle class by my erstwhile factory mates.

The motto of my country of birth reads:


Had I obeyed these lofty principles I would still be a Nut-Counter, instead of the much more socially elevated Bean Counter.