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Barry Du Bois – Banking Memories

By Dan Hutton on October 19, 2018 in People

Banking memoris, by Jeremy Greive

You may recognise television tradie and all-round good guy Barry Du Bois as one-quarter of the popular Friday night Channel Ten lifestyle show, The Living Room, or as a familiar face from around the traps in Bondi. During the month The Beast caught up with the bloke better known as ‘Baz’ to talk about cancer battles, reproductive struggles, banking memories and why retiring at 45 was the right thing to do…

Where are you originally from? Newbridge Road, Moorebank, just out of Liverpool. Between Liver- pool and Bankstown.

So you’re a westie made good? I was good when I was a westie, don’t worry about that.

How long have you been living in the Eastern Suburbs? I was just trying to think about that. It’s an interesting story, actually. I was a very successful builder in my area, and it must have been during one of the property booms, so mid to late ’80s I’m guessing, and there was so much work happening that big builders were hiring guys like me to do jobs that they’d already priced so highly that they could just subcontract them out and still make money.

I got asked to price a job on Village High Road, Vaucluse. Now I’m from Moorebank, so I thought, “Where will I live?” I couldn’t travel that far every day, that’s an incredible journey. I’d priced the job back then for about $270,000 I think, which was the biggest job that I’d ever done at the time. Bondi Beach wasn’t such a trendy area back then, but I’d never been this side of the airport, so to speak. Quite frankly, I hadn’t been over here at all. So that must have been the late ’80s. I made a fortune off that $270,000, and I think the builder had priced it at $400,000. It was a really funny thing because the renovation was a whole house renovation, and the clients back then had put all the washing machine and fridge and freezer and all these white goods out on the road. I said, “What’s happening with all these white goods?” They said, “They’re for you to throw out.” I said, “But these are all perfectly good things, there’s nothing wrong with any of them.” My mum had had the same washing machine for 30 years. I said, “Can I buy them off you?” And they said, “No, you can just have them. Have whatever you like.”

The head contractor said to me,”It’s going to go in the tip and it costs us money to get rid of it, so it’s yours if you want it.” I said, “These people can actually afford to just throw away a perfectly good washing machine? What sort of people live in this area?”

It didn’t take me long to work out that the people who lived in this area weren’t any smarter than me, they just seemed to have more. I thought, “Well, I want to be in the middle of that.”

I moved into a little apartment above a shop in Vaucluse and did the job down there. I had a girlfriend who lived back out in the western suburbs, so I’d go home on the weekend and I’d say, “I’ve got to show you this place that exists. There’s this road called Lang Road, it’s like a movie.” And we drove along Lang Road really slowly and I was showing her these big houses, because I lived in the west in a fibro house and I thought the only guy in our area that had a brick home must’ve been one of the richest guys in the country.

I was just fascinated by that. So I drove her along Lang Road and through Centennial Park, and I drove her up to Watson’s Bay and just stood at Doyle’s and looked at the harbour. I said, “Did you know that this existed?” For a guy from the western suburbs who lived on a six-lane highway, this was fascinating stuff, and I knew then I wanted to be a part of it.

So I made it my business to make a home here, and because I was making so much money off the building works that I was doing, I was able to afford it. Because they were charging three times as much here as they did out west, I’d do the same work and get paid three times as much.
“The beautiful thing is that on one side of you you may have a long- term local who works on the council, and on the other side you might have the top brain surgeon in the country.”

What do you love about the area? Everything. Anybody who lives in the Eastern Suburbs should realise how lucky they are. We live five or 10 minutes from the best hospital in the country. I live 150 metres from where I believe is the most beautiful smile in the country, being Bondi Beach. That big smile, you know, it’s just perfect. There’s a real village-feel atmosphere here. My neighbour is my friend. It’s like it is out in the suburbs, you know? Probably more so, actually.

The beautiful thing is that on one side of you you may have a long-term local who works on the council, and on the other side you might have the top brain surgeon in the country. I’ve got some Orthodox Jewish people on one side and on the other side I’ve got some Islamic friends. It’s an incredibly diverse, beautiful place, and that’s a gift. To walk down a local Australian street and to be able to hear two or three other languages, and start talking to someone in a café who has just come here from another country, that doesn’t happen everywhere, and it certainly didn’t happen back when I was growing up.

What gets your goat about the Eastern Suburbs? The fact that we don’t recognise what we have here. We treat it like a bit of a dumping ground. We’re over-governed by the council as well. Everybody knows that the council cut the swing down out of my tree out the front, because they figured that a swing could make this area somehow more dangerous than it already is. The same council would have paid someone money to come up with the idea to put down pavers on Curlewis Street that are so slippery when it’s wet you can’t walk on them safely.

You’re a builder by trade, is that right? I started off as a carpenter, then I became a builder and I have an incredible passion for design and I was mentored by a fantastic architect.

How did you first get your carpentry apprenticeship? In the western suburbs of Sydney in 1975, you were going to be whatever your uncles or your father was, pretty much. I had one uncle who was a carpenter, one uncle who was a mechanic. I liked the outdoors so I went with the carpenter.

What did your parents do? My dad was a toolmaker, but he was a bit of an entrepreneur. He always had an extra business going. He had Moorebank Mower Service, but also later in life he was the guy who supplied stretchers for the New South Wales and Australian ambulance services.

What’s the heritage of your surname, Du Bois? It’s French. It means ‘of wood’. My father’s father was French. He came out here from Europe as a wool classer for the big fashion labels, so he would class the wool that would be sent back to Paris for the big fashion labels.

And on the other side I’m very English, because my grandfather, who lived in three centuries, was the personal valet to the King’s physician. He was present when they decided King George, who was dying of pneumonia and a whole bunch of other things, would have euthanasia so that his death could make the print the next day in the London Times. Interestingly enough, I think they injected 500 milligrams or something of cocaine into his jugular so he could die peacefully, and then the House of Lords debated for a year whether the common man could have that same right, and they voted against it.

You must have been quite successful in the building game, because I read that you retired in 2005 at the age of 45; is that right? I never look a gift horse in the mouth. I don’t take much notice of anybody else; I always back myself. I’d ridden a couple of property booms in my life. I had amassed a fair bit of property over that time and my plan was
to retire when I had X amount of money. I’d set a plan that would probably see me get there when I was about 55 or 60, to reach that amount of money and to have a home. Because of that last property boom I’d gone past that figure, so that’s one part of the story.

The second part of the story is that my mum had passed away in 2004, my wife then got cancer in 2005, and I had started to realise I couldn’t control everything. As a strong alpha male, when you can’t control things that’s a big fight, and like most men in Australia I didn’t share that frustration with any- body, I didn’t talk about it, and it manifested and got worse and worse
inside of me. So by 2005 I had more money than I’d ever dreamed of and I was manically depressed at the same time.

When a doctor suggested I start taking antidepressants and my wife was saying that I wasn’t the same guy that she married because I was doing a lot of stupid things, I said, “Well you know what? I’m going to reset here.” I’d said to myself that if I got to this point I was going to retire and sail around the world. Financially I was past that point, but mentally I was nowhere near that point. I was hoping that by stopping work and sailing around the world it might get me back to an even balance. And it did. So the retirement was partly because I was financially successful, but primarily because I was unbalanced and I could see myself doing something stupid if I kept going on down that dark passage.

Did you work much at all between 2005 and when your television career started in 2012? Not at all. I had six months of the year here in our beautiful home in Bondi Beach and six months of the year on our yacht, Bella Sogni, mostly in the south of France and Italy at that stage.

And you still sail now? Yeah.

Still got the same boat? Yep.

Where does it live? It lives in Turkey now, in Marmaris. We were there last year and we’ll be there next year.

Are you an accomplished sailor? I’m an accomplished everything. There’s nothing I wouldn’t take on.

Have you done any races or anything? Have you done Sydney-Hobart or anything like that? When I wanted to become a sailor I said to Udo Edlinger, a North Bondi local, that I wanted to sail. He was a boat broker at the time. I said, “Keep an eye out for a little boat for me. Find something I can tinker with on the weekends, sail a little bit, because I want to sail more.” I’d always had boats of some description. I knew on the water was somewhere I could find some peace.

Udo found me a little tender, a mooring minder, and myself, my dad, my brother and Justin Rogers, another great local here, we picked the mooring minder up and we sailed it around to a block of land I owned in Middle Harbour, and I paid for a mooring there. We just loved it. So from there Udo said to me, “Well mate, if you’re going to have a boat you may as well learn
to sail properly. Come down to the CYC and I’ll put you on a boat with a mate of mine and you can pick up some knowledge there.”

I met an incredible guy by the name of Fraser Johnson, who at the time had sailed about 33 Sydney to Hobarts, 12 Admiral Cups; he’s a genius. What he does is deliver yachts all over the Eastern Suburbs, all over Australia. He used to take me drifting, and that’s when I was retiring. He knew I was struggling emotionally so he said, “Why don’t you come and deliver a yacht with me up to Hamilton Island?” So we picked up the boat at the CYC and we sailed it 10 days straight to Hamilton Island.

I was hooked for life then. I said, “This is what’s going to make me happy.” I said to myself, “I’m not going to buy a yacht here in Australia because I’ll probably never leave the harbour, but if I buy a yacht in France I’ll probably sail it home.” My wife was incredibly supportive, so hence the retirement. I sold a bunch of property, capitalised on a over-exaggerated market, and the market then crashed while I was sailing around the south of France.

How did you first get your start in television? One of my greatest mates is Peter Colquhoun – local legend, a renaissance man. He’s an artist, so he’s a free spirit and a lateral thinker…

He designed North Bondi Surf Club, didn’t he? He was part of that, with Neil Durbach. He’s just an amazing guy and we’ve been great mates since the day I met him, and that was the day I met my wife as well, which is an interesting story itself. There was one café at North Bondi at one stage, before Sean’s Panaroma, before all those things, and it was called Dooley’s Café. Brett Dooley and Leonie, my wife, owned that together. Brett was a local photographer, painter and a good footy player too.

I was building a house at Dover Heights, I think, and I walked into Dooley’s Café, opposite North Bondi Surf Club, and there were all these pictures of these guys on the wall, local athletes – Jimmy Walker, Scotty Thompson, David Campese, Scotty Van Houten – they were all on the wall there and I thought it was fascinating. I was still very much a westie, although I was living up at Vaucluse, and I was talking to the girl behind the counter, who was a great sort, and I said, “Who are all these people? This is fantastic.” And I’m sitting there at Dooley’s, looking across at North Bondi; when you grow up on a six-lane highway that’s just glorious, you know. We take it for granted when we see it, but it’s just gorgeous.

Sure enough, Pete Colquhoun walked in. He had been a profes- sional ironman and the girl behind the counter said, “One of those guys just walked in.” Pete being Pete was very confident. He introduced himself and we started talking. He was interested that I was a builder because he was an architect, and I said, “What’s this all about, how come you’re up on the wall?” And he said, “I was an ironman. I grew up here so I was reasonably good at the surf skills and stuff like that.” I think he asked me if I could swim, and if I was competitive. I said, “No, I mean I can swim but I’m no athlete.” But me being as confident as I am, I said to him, “If I had have grown up here though I’d be up on that wall for sure.” He thought that was brilliant, and we’ve been great mates ever since then.

So the good-looking girl behind the counter was Leonie, who is now your wife? Yeah, it was her café.

So getting back to your start on television… Well, Pete and I had travelled a little bit together. So what happened was, Pete would come over and spend some time with me on the boat, and we would always go to these out of the way places. Leonie liked the Riviera in Italy, whereas Pete would say, “You reckon we could sail to Malta this year?” And I’d say, “Yep, for sure.” Then one year I rang him up and he said, “Where are you?” And I said, “I’m in Italy,” and he says, “Why don’t we go to North Africa?” I said, “Yeah, fly over, we’ll sail to North Africa.”

He ended up having to meet me in North Africa. I sailed single-handedly from Italy down to North Africa, via Sicily, and met Pete. At the time he was doing that show, Great Australian Sandcastles, which was a great show. I think it’s now called Great Australian Homes. So Pete was taking a lot of footage of this journey, because we were meeting troglodytes who live under the ground, and we were in these really strong Islamic countries with beautiful Islamic architecture. He was doing all these pieces to camera and he had this idea that him and I could sail to these amazing places and we could decode the history of the city via the sea gateway and via the architecture of that city. He said, “I’m going to put this together as a pitch and if someone buys it, we can spend two months of the year making a TV show on your boat.” Genius. I said, “I don’t really have the head for it, but if you want to do that, do it.”

He did that and then some of that reel was seen by the executive producers of Shine, who were making the TV show The Renovators and they said, “I love that builder guy that’s on the yacht.” They rang me a couple of times and said they’d like me to come in for a casting. I said I wasn’t interested in doing a casting because I didn’t like TV. I thought the people on TV had butchered renovation. I kept saying no, and then you wouldn’t believe it, on the day I found out that I had plasmacytoma myeloma and the doctor had said that my lifespan could be as short as three to six months, the casting agent rang me up for the fifth time and said, “Baz, we would do anything to get you in for a casting for this show. The EP is really keen to see you.” And I said, “I’ll tell you what, I’ve had some bad news but if you call me in three months and I answer the phone, I’ll do the job.” I was on the show the next year.

So you never saw yourself as being on television? I hated it.

Were you planning on remaining retired? No, I had invested in a small boutique bank, an investment bank, so I was lending my investment skills and knowledge of development and real estate to that company as a consultant and I was looking to get back into business one way or another.

Was it partly out of boredom? Not boredom, no. The story that you get bored when you’re retired is absolutely rubbish. There is no boredom on a yacht in the Mediterranean.

You’re now one of the four regular panel members with Amanda Keller, Dr Chris Brown and Miguel Maestre on Channel 10’s lifestyle show, The Living Room, which has been going since 2012; what’s it like working with that motley crew? It’s incredible. They’re three amazing humans. I met Amanda at a function at the end of the year that I’d worked on The Renovators. We hit it off straight away.

Did The Renovators get canned after its first year? Yeah, it got canned after one year but they said to me that they wanted me to hang around. They thought they had something for me and then, as I said, I’d met Amanda and we hit it off. We just talked constantly all night and I felt like I knew her in a past life, I really did. I know now she felt the same way. We’re a similar age, we both struggled with having children, we both lost our mums – there was a whole bunch of things there, so we had a real connection.

When it was all coming together the four of us met in a rented apartment in North Bondi, just above the Icebergs, and what the makers of the show wanted to do was get the four of us in a room and see that our egos didn’t clash too much. It was such a nice day. I knew who Chris was because he was even a superstar then and everybody knows who Amanda is. I had no clue who the Spanish chef was, but my wife said he was a really handsome, veracious sort of a character who did lifestyle shows on the cooking network.

We came from four different corners of the Earth but when we met we became one. We’re very close. We’ve been great friends from that day.

Do you guys have a contract for a certain period of time or do you just take it year by year? They contract us every year. I think they contracted me for a couple of years. I don’t even know. If I wasn’t having fun I’d be gone, and I think the other three are the same. We’re only really tied to the show because of each other.

If Amanda left that would be the end of me and I think it would be the end of the show as we know it today. The show isn’t a show, as such, it’s about four people who love each other and offer themselves up to be invited into someone’s lounge room every week, and lots of people invite us in.

Your wife was diagnosed with cancer in 2005; how did you find being the support for her at that stage? I don’t think I did a great job of that. I did my best for a while. Listen, I’m an alpha male. I’ve got two philosophies in life and first one is this: I’ve never made a mistake in my life, there’s just a shitload of things I’m not going to do the same way next time. The other one is this: everything I’ve ever done, I can do 10 per cent better. I can love better, I can teach better, I can run better. Everything I do.

At the time of my wife’s diagnosis we had been through about 10 or 11 attempts at IVF to have
a child, so this was the start of my depression because as an alpha male I thought I would make love to my partner and we would bear strong, healthy children in the next nine months. There would be a picket fence and two cars and everything would be perfect.

Then she got cancer, which makes sense if you pump drugs into yourself for a couple of years of IVF, it’s going to imbalance something. We discovered after the 12th attempt, I think, where she was pregnant with twins and miscarried again, that she had a growth there, or some abnormal cells. That started the journey of finding out that she had severe cervical cancer and had to have a complete radical hysterectomy. That ended any chance of having children.

So this alpha male, whose only real job on Earth was to procreate and move on, couldn’t fulfill that part of it. Then I couldn’t help my mum when she was dying and then I couldn’t help my wife. When you’re sitting in a room and you’re the third person, and a doctor’s telling your wife something and you can’t do anything about it, it’s really emasculating and deflating.
So that was the start of my depression as well. My mum was dying and I, with all the money I had, couldn’t fix it. Then Leonie got sick and I couldn’t fix that either. You start to question yourself. What can you do? What is your worth?

I didn’t get a lot of enjoyment out of the work I did at the time. I was very good at it but it didn’t give me a sense of worth because there was a property boom and every man and his dog in the Eastern Suburbs was a developer. I was just one of those losers who couldn’t do anything else.

I wasn’t in a great mental state when Leonie got sick. I was an emasculated alpha male. So when you ask me if I did a good job, I don’t think I did anything to my utmost ability back then. I don’t think I even loved as well as I could back then, for that period. I know I wasn’t mentally 100 per cent, so what I did was I cared and I loved her and I would have done any- thing, wrote any cheque or held her hand, but I felt I could do nothing.

After enduring and overcoming one family cancer battle, all of a sudden 2010 comes around and this time it’s you in the firing line; is it true you were out surfing when you encountered the first symptoms of what was eventually diagnosed as plasmacytoma myeloma? Yeah, that’s right, I cracked my neck. Typically, it was Christmas time and it wasn’t until March that I went to see the doctor, three months later. Being that alpha male I thought nothing could harm me, so I was like, “Yeah, okay, I’ve got cancer. I’ve had a great life. Nothing will beat me.” I’ve never thought anything could beat me.

What was the process like after you were diagnosed and found out that your neck was cracked? It was pretty horrific. I’d never been in hospital and I had huge surgery. There are six or eight rods and half a dozen screws in there and a bracket to hold my skull on. There are another couple of screws in my skull. I’d lost my C1 vertebrae completely. I’d physically lost the bone connection between my spine and my head. The only thing that was holding it on was nervous system and the muscles in my neck. That was pretty daunting, but I handle my own health differently to how I handle everybody else’s, as most men do. We feel that we’re unbreakable and unstoppable and everybody else is fragile.

How much treatment did you have to undergo? I had major surgery, then nine weeks of radiotherapy. Then I went from 115kg down to about 78kg. It was a rough time but I was focussed on becoming well again.

How long was it before you were in the clear? Well, you’re never in the clear with cancer. I was having monthly then bi-monthly, then every three months, then six-monthly check-ups and they were all clear, so we put it out to about six-monthly and then I’d missed three checks in a row, so it had been 18 months before I’d seen a doctor and that was about six or seven years later. I had a funny pain and I hadn’t been to the doctor for a couple of years, so I thought I’d better go and check it out and that’s when I found out I had the second cancer, which was last year.

How was it dealing with the cancer’s return? The second time round was very different. This time I had five year-old children, which made it a thousand times more emotionally taxing. We’re not here for us, we’re here for them. In my view, I haven’t banked anywhere near enough memories for them to remember me yet, so I’ve got to do that.

Are you still undergoing treatment? Yeah. I’m on a second treatment now. The multiple myeloma that I’ve been diagnosed with is not a curable disease, but it’s something that’s manageable with modern science and a healthy lifestyle of good nutrition, exercise and mental wellbeing.

Medical science believes it’s manageable for five years or so. I believe that combining medical science with the science of nutrition and the science of physiology and mental health I can push it out a lot further than that and bank on the fact that the medical science boffins will come up with even better treatments in the future. All the talk and all the hope is for immunotherapy. It’s an external thing that has given me this cancer and it’s my own immune system that has let me down. If I can build that immune system, that’s what will beat those internal problems.

So you’re reasonably content with your prognosis, for lack of a more appropriate adjective? Sure, I never put any investment into a negative thought anyway. I just refuse to. I’ve learnt from all my time of investing and analysing things that a mental investment in a negative thought gives me no return on my money, zero. I don’t have to have a positive thought either, but a positive thought or sensation or belief always seems to give me a little dividend of something.

Do you think that your cancer could be a result of the toxins you’ve been exposed to in your trade? I think all cancers are a result of some sort of external lifestyle influence. I used to think that I should really stress out about that and I should probably change the world and fix that, but maybe it’s just going to take some time and innovation. Do I think that we should have a phone next to our head all the time? No, I don’t. Do I think that the road should be made of tar when it’s a level four carcinogenic? No, I don’t. We’ll either get used to it – that might mean we have two heads and three assholes in 1000 years – or they’ll change it. But we’re just a part of it, as we were when we learnt to cook meat on a fire in front of a cave.

Speaking of cooking meat on a fire in front of a cave, can you please tell us a bit about the book you’ve written with Miguel and how it came about? Yeah, it was very special to me. As I said, you and me are very lucky. We are really lucky to live right down the road from the best hospital in the country. I have amazing nutritionists, one of which is my wife, giving me so much incredible information on the value of nutrition. My wife’s also a personal trainer, so physiology is something I’ve learnt that can add to this success of my life. When my mum passed away in 2004, she was in a regional hospital that I believe, in hindsight, was a bit of a conveyor belt to death. There was no pitch for a long life there. It was a case of you’ve got this, your prognosis is that, let’s take as many drugs as you can until you die.

I wanted to share the importance of nutrition. I know that I have the best of the best – I have great friends, I have a full family, I have a whole life, I have everything. I know that through my platform on television there are a lot of people out there – single mums and dads, people who are struggling financially, people who don’t have all the things that I have – and I want to share the things I know with these people.

I said to Miguel, “I want to help some people and what is helping me is nutrition.” I could see a real noticeable difference in the way I was handling the treatment because of nutrition and exercise and meditation. Miguel is an amazing cook who has an amazing platform. I said to him, “People are gonna see me on television go from a healthy guy to a very sick guy, and with the help of you and my wife, I’m gonna come back to a very strong guy. And we will be able to take people on that journey with us, and they can learn from the things that are happening to me.”

So that was the idea and Miguel was all over it. We talked to the nutritionists at the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, who were really keen to have input into it, to let us know certain food groups that would really help and those sorts of things.

I had a ghostwriter, an incredible local guy called Derek Rielly, who I knew from out in the surf. He helped tell my story in the book, from where I started out to where I am today, and the rest is history. The book’s called Life Force and everyone should go out a get a copy, whether they’ve been touched by cancer or otherwise.

You’ve now got two beautiful children, six year-old twins, and you used a surrogate to bring them into the world. While it’s a relatively common practice these days, it’s not often talked about. Can you walk us through the process? I don’t think it’s very well understood. The conservative governments don’t like same-sex people to have children, so they don’t like surrogates. They’ve painted a pretty bleak picture of it. But it’s an amazing thing. We used the science again and we got some donor eggs, then we fertilised those with my sperm and because we found out that my sperm had some problems with it, we were able to magnify it and we were able to hand select the good ones, so to speak. Only five per cent of them were
any good, but apparently they were magnificent ones.

After seven attempts – we had started surrogacy years before I got cancer, but it was only when I got cancer that I had my sperm frozen and they magnified it to make sure it was worth freezing and found that only five per cent was any good – it finally worked and now we have our two angels.

What’s it like becoming a dad at 50-plus? Incredible. I think there are a lot of plusses to being a mature dad. Like I said, my career is intact, I don’t have financial woes, I’m not interested in going out on Saturday nights, that’s for sure. And I waited so long for these children. I think it’s given me the opportunity, if it’s at all possible, to love even harder.

What was it like emotionally having worked so hard to make it happen? And because of that do you ever feel that you’re overprotective of your children? I think all parents must be. I think we’re all overprotective.

I think my children are the most beautiful children on Earth. I’ll die for them as you will die for yours. You can’t go to a higher level than that, you know. I love them more than life itself.

Has parenthood changed your perspective on life? Yep, definitely. I used to think, “I’m not gonna change my life much when kids come along, I’m gonna still do what I want to do. I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna do that.” But your children are your life, in my case anyway. Every spare second I have, I’m with those kids.

How do you find balancing work and a young family? I think if you didn’t have a balanced life you would find it a stress, and that’s a great indicator that your life is out of whack. If your children are frustrating you, life’s unbalanced.

You and your wife recently celebrated your 19th wedding anniversary; what was it that initially attracted you to her? Everything. I mean she’s a beautiful girl. I was probably a bit of a male chauvanist in those days. She was a bit of a leveller for me. She put me in my place, which I found quite fascinating, and also attractive.

What’s the secret to a lasting marriage in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney? Self belief, honesty and integrity – a good answer to anything.

Have you got any big projects in the pipeline? Yeah, my children. There’s no bigger project. I will say, and this is a hard one for me to say, but growing up there was a photo in my mum and dad’s house of my dad sitting on the knee of his father, and I used to ask him as a kid how old he was in the picture and he was seven. We obviously live in different times, but my dad had no physical memory of his father.

Did your father’s father pass away soon after that? Yeah. And my children are six now, so if I was to go, would they remember me? I need to bank memories, not so that they remember me, as such, because that’s narcissistic, but so that I can teach them some stuff. My
dad knew that his dad was a hard worker, because his mum had told him that his whole life. I want my kids to know what a work ethic is, I want them to know what love is. I know they would anyway through my wife, but still, my biggest project is that.

Do you support any charities? Yeah, I’m on the board of R U OK? Day and I’m a proud ambassador of R U OK? Day. Gavin Larkin, an Eastern Suburbs guy, founded it. His father, whose name was Barry, took his own life and it scared Gavin. From all accounts, Gavin’s dad was very similar to me – a successful guy in the community who had a dark story like I did.

I think it’s important to share with other men particularly that they shouldn’t be scared to talk about problems. It’s important for me to share that message because I know it helps. It helped me. It was when my mates questioned my stability and told me they were worried about me, and I told them my story, that things started to get better for me.

In an ideal world, what does the future hold for Baz Du Bois? I live in an ideal world, so whatever happens tomorrow…