I’m a New South Wales boy who’s called Perth his home for the last 20 years. I was born in Goulburn and spent my childhood and school years there and in Yass. I’ve had a good childhood, hanging around at the pool in Yass, playing lots of rugby league, touch footy and cricket. I worked out a lot when I was younger. I love my sports!
I moved away from Yass in 1990 after my best friend Aubrey died in a truck accident. I went up to Moree, close to the Queensland border, where I got married and had a son who made me a grandfather a few years ago: a little girl! I also have a daughter in her mid-twenties from another relationship from that time.
I moved back to Goulburn in 1999 when Mum got sick. Dad had died years earlier, and I moved back to spend time with Mum and to care for her until she passed a couple years later.
After I moved to Perth, I started going to TAFE to do my Certificate I, II and III in Adult Education – I passed all of them. I started working as a kitchenhand in stadiums around Perth. My work on the deep-fryer earned me the nickname “The Chipmaster” because my chips were always spot on.
I spent a lot of time playing rugby league until I had my final gamevfor the Goulburn Exchange Rabbitohs in 1999. My knees weren’t well enough to continue playing; sport and the hard work of being a kitchenhand deteriorated my knees over the years. I’ve had three surgeries on my right knee and one on my left. I still wouldn’t change a thing – I loved every second of the rugby league I played. I’m still a huge fan of the NRL, where I support the St George Illawarra Dragons.
About three years ago I found The Big Issue after I couldn’t continue my work due to my knees. I had a chat to a vendor, Donna, and she told me all about the work. I love the work, and The Big Issue helps me to get out of the house and out and about. I like chatting with my regular customers; it keeps my day interesting.
In my spare time, I love to watch all kinds of footy. My favourite AFL team is Collingwood. I also like to go for walks to keep my knee moving and enjoy catching up with friends over a meal.
I don’t like to look back too much to some of the bad times in the past, and instead focus on the good and my future. I want to stay happy in the place that I’m at and want to work on relationships in my life, especially on continuing to reconnect with my sister and my brother-in-law. I also would love to travel overseas, I’ve never been out of the country, but I’ve taken the Indian Pacific a few times, which was awesome.
Greg sells The Big Issue at Cloisters on Hay Street, Perth
Interview by Simon Grammes
Photo by Ross Swanborough