Spontaneity in life

Headshot of Nicolette Barbas
Nicolette BarbasHarvey-Waroona Reporter
Harvey deputy shire president Paul Beech.
Camera IconHarvey deputy shire president Paul Beech. Credit: Nicolette Barbas

From working on a dairy farm in Victoria to manning the streets of London as a police officer, Paul Beech has lived a life full of spontaneity.

But from the moment he laid his hands on a world globe, he knew he wanted to call Australia home.

“The first job I had since leaving school was working in a tax office,” Paul said.

“I had been working there for more than two years and went to work one day and the guy that sat behind me asked if I would fancy going to Australia sometime, and without a second thought I said, when can we go?”

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Only 17 at the time, Paul moved to Australia through the Big Brother movement.

“Coming from an agriculture background I ended up working in a dairy farm in Shepparton, Victoria,” he said.

“I happened to bump into one of the boys from the farm at the Shepparton show and he said he was going up to the Snowy Mountains, so I thought that sounds like a good idea, why not?

We travelled around Australia and worked along the way, and one day I was at the general store buying some small goods and thought, it’s probably time to head back to the UK now.”

In 1968 Paul went back to his home country for what was intended to be a short visit to see his six-month-old sister, but turned into a four-year trip where he met his wife.

“I was visiting my aunty in hospital and I met this nurse and the rest is history,” he said.

“I joined the police force in England just after I got married.

“I didn’t have much money or any real academic qualifications and the police force took you in on merit and provided you with a house when you got married and I thought that was a good deal.

“It was always my intention to go back to Australia, so in December 1972 my wife and I flew over to Perth and have been here ever since.”

Not too long after settling into Perth, Paul saw a business opportunity in the South West and decided to move to Harvey with his wife and two sons.

“As things started to decline a bit with our service station, I saw an advert to join the Shire of Harvey in 1985 as a pool manager, so I took that on and worked there for 15 years. “I then saw a general advertisement for a manager of economic and development services which I decided to apply for and worked at until 2008 when I first retired.

“I was retired for a few years before councillor John Sabourne came to see me and asked if I would consider being a councillor.

“When he first approached me I thought there was no way I could do this, but then I thought, why not, so in 2011 I stood for council.”

Two years later, Cr Paul Beech nominated for the deputy shire presidency and has been successful in that position since.

But being a councillor for the Shire of Harvey is only one role Paul plays.

As a husband, father and grandfather, Paul has always had an interest in first aid.

“Back in 1996 there was an advertising campaign looking for people to volunteer at the St John Ambulance sub-centre in Harvey, and I always had an interest in first aid,” he said.

“A friend of mine was a secretary at the time, so I joined up and haven’t looked back since.”

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