Bellingen High School Principal and President of Bellingen Men’s Shed Paul Holding, could be described as the ‘no fuss’ quiet achiever, who manages to make a difference in the lives of the local youths and adults alike through his involvement in the community. But underestimate this humble man when he walks onto the tennis court at your own peril. Rod discovered early on that behind this gentle soul lies a fierce competitor and hoped that through this interview he could gain some insight into the man, his passions and his wicked forehand.
Paul, what is the most rewarding aspect of being Bellingen High School Principal?
People stop me in the street and introduce me to their kids, telling them about me being their teacher when they were at school and about something I did for them or how I treated them that had a positive impact on them.
What do you prefer, being a teacher or Principal?
There are times when I miss the classroom, my space, my kids and my way of doing things. I do however enjoy the opportunity to share my experience as a Principal.
Best tip you could give a student to succeed?
Finish what you started to the best of your ability.
What’s new or exciting at Bello High?
This term we have welcomed our new Deputy Principal, Tim Laverty. We are also very excited that
three of our HSC music students have been selected to Encore in Sydney. Only a select few across the state have this opportunity.
Tell me about all the community groups you are involved in?
I was invited to join the Camp Creative Committee when I became Principal at Bellingen High School. I’m the President of the Men’s Shed Bellingen. I was the President of the Bellingen Park Tennis Club for many years.
Will you ever run for Council?
No way. I respect the community members who put themselves up for election and who devote their time. I see the responsibility as ‘no win’ when it comes to decision making and trying to support the diverse community in the Bellingen Shire.
You have just been made a Life Member of The Bellingen Park Tennis Club. What’s so special about the club?
The tennis club is a community facility that is shared with all who come to play. The courts are great to play on and Members are very welcoming to new players. Mate-ship is more important than how big a serve you have.
That’s easy for you to say Paul!! I have this friend who has never beaten you on a tennis court. Any tips for him?
I have built my game around the three hit rule. This is about getting at least three shots back. If you can do this, you will win more points than you lose. The other key thing that my father impressed upon me when I was hitting with him was that ‘to be competitive you need to win your serve’.
Your best childhood memory?
Family camping holidays all over the state and Christmas holidays at Budgewoi camping ground.
Your best sporting moment was?
Being selected as the catcher for the Newcastle Representative Baseball Team.
What would you like to be remembered for?
Being a good person.
Friends say that you are?
You will have to ask one of my friends. I hope they would say that ‘he is there if I need him’.
What do you avoid in life?
The forces of darkness that take the light.
What are you reading right now?
‘Working Class Boy’ – Jimmy Barnes.
What secret can you share with us?
There are a lot of good people out there.
I had the wisdom and resources to be able to solve the plight of kids who are born into families where alcohol, drugs and violence are consider as the norm.
What really annoys you?
Drivers of 4WD vehicles designed to go off road who brake and go very slowly over speed bumps. What’s that about?
The best lesson your parents taught you?
Family are there when you come into this world and there for you when you leave.
The last big belly laugh you had was?
Having a few drinks with friends after tennis.
What project are you currently working on?
I am working on some modifications to our back decking. New roof, ceiling lining, handrails and painting.
Who inspires you?
How do you relax?
Tennis, working in the shed and renovating.
Favourite shire eatery?
Little Red Kitchen
Best coffee in town?
Amelia Franklin Espresso Bar
The previous career you wish you could forget?
I started out as an Apprentice Boilermaker and soon worked out that this was not for me. I did listened to my father when he told me to finish what I had started. It ended up helping me with University entry to study Industrial Arts Teaching.
Your current passion is?
First grandchild – ‘Archer’.
Favorite country to visit and why?
Can’t say I have been one for overseas holidays. Wendy and I went to New Zealand South Island last year. Mt Cook and the drive was outstanding. I loved the yellow center lines and obvious lack of stop and go workers.
Yes or No. Soap on a rope?
Yes or No. Two steps at a time?
Yes or No. Camping?
Yes or No. Good luck clothing?
Yes or No. Kissing on first date?
So any further tips for that mate of mine who would really like to smash you on the tennis court?
Maybe get some tennis coaching.
Ouch that hurts!!
Finally, in the movie Holding-Gate, who would play you?
Tim Allen (Tool man)
Men’s sheds or community sheds are non-profit organisations that originated in Australia, to advise and improve the overall health of all males. They normally operate on a local level in the community, promoting social interaction and aim to increase the quality of life.
The Bellingen Men’s Shed Committee:
Martin Hicks (Secretary) Michelle Stockton (Vice President) Diana Christian (Treasurer) Jim Thompson, John Piggott Leon Sinclair and Eddie Siladi (Committee).