The foundation of the author's learning and social and cultural awareness came during his early years - from his birth in a country town in South Australia in 1931 at the height of the great depression, to 1956 a decade after the end of the Second World War. Originally from Victoria, his parents settled in Adelaide in 1935 where their three children were educated in a state primary school, private secondary schools, and the University of Adelaide. John did well in sport and music, reflecting his parents' interests. At university, he combined an honours BA degree in history and political science with a professional diploma in social work, a rare choice at the time for a male straight from school. As 1953 South Australian Rhodes Scholar, he read PPE (philosophy, politics and economics) at Magdalen College in Oxford. His fiancEe Patricia Berry accompanied him overseas, sharing Rhodes House activities and holiday touring experiences in Europe, England and Scotland, while living in Oxford.