Everald is ever ready

Everald Compton speaks to the North West Star about his life and passions


Life & Style
Everald and Helen Compton in Mount Isa.

Everald and Helen Compton in Mount Isa.

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Everald Compton tells us about his fascination with John Flynn and why people should aim to do "something tremendous about John Flynn".

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EVERALD Compton may now be in his eighties but he still has the energy and enthusiasm of a young man.

“I believe older people shouldn’t retire until 75, otherwise Australia will go broke and you’ll die earlier,” Everald said.

“So they should keep working, as long as they enjoy working.”

Everald Compton clearly enjoys his many-faceted work, the latest being a book about John Flynn, “the Man on the $20 Notes”.

“All my life I’ve been a fan of John Flynn since I was a little boy in Sunday School and I’ve always been fascinated about what he did,” he said.

”Most of the books on him are pretty boring and I felt it’s time we brought this man alive, in my view he is one of Australia’s greatest sons, he achieved more for Australia than anyone else so I wanted to tell the story of his life.

“He invented the pedal radio, founded the Flying Doctors, founded the School of the Air, built 25 hospitals around the bush, was involved with John Bradfield in trying to water the whole of Australia.”

Everald Compton and friend Don McDonald in Mount Isa.

Everald Compton and friend Don McDonald in Mount Isa.

Everald said he wrote it as a story rather than a history so people could get involved with the man, “basically about Flynn meeting people and reminiscing what happened.”

“Hopefully young Australians starting out on my career thinking I want to do something tremendous for Australia like John Flynn,” he said.

“I’m hoping we can produce more John Flynns because I don’t think we’ve produced one since he died.”

Everald said the day Flynn died, the ABC went off the air for two minutes silence, “something they’ve never done for anyone else, not prime ministers or kings and queens.”

“People wept in the street, he was the character of the nation for some people. He had this enormous vision for Australia,” he said.

Everald Compton might be too modest to admit it but he has some of Flynn’s qualities and vision for Australia himself.

He was a long-time friend of the Cloncurry McDonald pastoral family and instrumental in getting John Flynn Place set up as a bicentenary project.

“I was a fundraising consultant for my own business and we eventually raised money in 26 nations across the world,” he said.

“We ran campaigns across the world, the principles are the same, if you want to raise money you’ve got to ask someone.”

Mr Compton said he worked for an anti-apartheid party in South Africa during the apartheid era.

“We got enough seats in parliament so that (president) de Klerk couldn’t keep Nelson Mandela in jail any longer,” he said.

After he sold the business he joined up with Don McDonald to build an inland rail from Melbourne to Darwin.

“We worked together a long time on that and it will happen one day,” he said.

Mr Compton is a strong believer in modern technology.

“You can follow me in Twitter and I get on to politicians every day,” he said.

“I was also one of the founder directors of National Seniors Australia in 1976 as a voluntary job.

“It grew from the first branch in Brisbane and it now has 250,000 members in 150 branches across Australia and lobbies government about all sorts of issues.

“I was on the board for 25 years and when I got to my 80th birthday I retired before someone said ‘when is this old goat going to retire’.”

But instead of retiring he became chair of the federal government advisory panel on ageing.

“When Wayne Swan was treasurer we organised the largest increase on the pension in the history of Australia since 1908,” he said.

“I regard that as one of my big achievements in life.”

The story Everald is ever ready first appeared on The North West Star.

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