Meet our wonderful Ibis Care Miranda resident, Geoff Bleakley. Born in Portland, New South Wales, on the 9th of August 1945, Geoff spent his early years growing up in the country town of Lithgow. His father was General Manager of several Lithgow car dealerships and from those days, Geoff developed a special interest in cars of all makes and models.
Geoff’s mother was French and his father was born in Australia but had a heavy English influence. The strong English demeanour of Geoff’s father was down to Geoff’s grandfather who migrated from Ireland and always presented as a very proper English gentleman. His grandfather was a wealthy pastoralist with a large farm near Geelong, Victoria. Geoff recalls fond memories of holidays at the farm and the nearby surf coast beaches. On visits to the beach to relax, his grandfather would wear a tweed suit and only went as far as removing his shoes and nothing else!
Geoff’s family moved to Caringbah in his high school years where he attended Jannali High School and left at the age of 14 (Year 9). Geoff joined the Commercial Banking Company of Sydney Ltd (CBC) and his first job was as a junior employee at the Rockdale branch. Geoff worked for 15 years with CBC until 1974 and held numerous branch roles. He rose to the ranks of Accountant at the Gymea Branch where he was second in charge.
In his late teenage years, Geoff was an avid Squash player and the highlight of his career was, as a 19 year old, having a warm up game against Heather McKay who later became world female Squash champion. He thoroughly enjoyed the experience of playing against such a high-ranking competitor.
Geoff married when he was 22 and his wife was 21. They were happily married for 13 years and he has a son and daughter from their marriage. Their family home was in Lilly Pilli.
Geoff was conscripted during the Vietnam war and served overseas for 2 years from 1967-1968. He was posted to Terendak Garrison (Straits of Malacca) and the Khmer Rouge were active in this zone. During this time Geoff’s battalion was deployed a number of times to front line action in Vietnam. Thankfully Geoff was not physically harmed but acknowledges he and many others bore the scars of mental trauma.
Upon returning to Australia, a highlight for Geoff was the discovery that with wage equalisation provided during his 2 year overseas, plus numerous overseas allowances banked in Australia, he had accumulated a significant deposit on his first house – an apartment at Cronulla beach. This windfall started Geoff’s life-long interest in real estate and he bought and sold many houses and apartments in the Sutherland shire over time.
In 1974 Geoff joined Lombard Finance where he specialised in commercial property lending and financing car dealerships and small aeroplanes. Unfortunately, Lombard Finance failed due to the property crash in the late 70’s and Geoff decided to make a change to .
Soon thereafter Geoff moved into hospitality with his first role being barman at the Cronulla RSL. Over the years since he worked at numerous hotels in the Sutherland Shire. A highlight was when he ventured into the city as second in charge at the Catholic Club, Castlereagh Street, which was a complete change of scene and patronage. His final job was Manager of Rockdale Businessman’s Club where Geoff had many happy memories.
Geoff has been at IBIS care Miranda for nearly 3 years and always has a twinkle in his eye and a wonderful sense of humour. One of his passions is walking and looks forward to hitting the pavement again once COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.