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Banker John - Book Review

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by Roxy Callaghan (subscribe)
I'm studying journalism at university and I love food, theatre and film.
Published June 19th 2014
His life and works
The name Edgecombe can hardly be a strange one to West Australians. Edgecombe Brothers in Upper Swan has been supplying dried fruit, wine and latterly asparagus to Sandgropers for decades.

The original brothers were Don and Frank Edgecombe and the base company was formed in the late 1920s.

Between them the two Edgecombe brothers fathered the current generation of brothers running the family firm - Wally, who sadly passed away only a couple of weeks ago, Alf and John. The company at the time wasn't big enough to support them all with their families and so John went into the other family business, The Bank of New South Wales.

The family patriarch, George Edwin Edgecombe, worked at the Bank in London late in the 18th century until he migrated to Western Australia after retirement.

[ADVERT]John, or as he later became better known to radio audiences 'Banker John', went to Guildford Grammar before starting in the bank, beginning as was then the custom, in the smaller branches of country towns.

His life, which he has now written, is a perfect example of life in Western Australia in the latter half of the last century.

You might think that it might be boring - after all, banking is not that exciting - but you would be wrong.

Written in a chatty, relaxed, informal style Banker John is John's story, told by himself, as he might at a particularly good dinner party.

He was heavily involved in sport of all kinds, foiled a bank robbery, made banking history by becoming popular, went on air often, sold huge amounts of mints for Lions, lived all over rural Western Australia and in Papua New Guinea, and raised a family.

His approach to banking is a revelation to those of us who only know banking in this century immediately before and after the Global Financial Crisis.

The book is profusely illustrated with documents, black and white and coloured photographs and includes a photograph of the Ellen Brook in full flood, something very seldom seen.

Copies of the book are available from the author by phoning 9296 7780, emailing or off the publisher's website here. The book costs $20 plus postage.

If you are interested in Western Australia, character, personal stories or a goodish read, you can't go past Banker John.
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Why? The life of an Australian man in banking, winemaking and sport
Phone: 6296 5161
Cost: $20 plus postage
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