News & Events

Paul’s happy life at Currie Park

April 8, 2020

Like most OCAV residents Paul Taylor didn’t anticipate living in a community of elderly people. ‘I thought I’d spend my sunset years living in the sun,’ he says at his Currie Park home. ‘My wife Suzie and I planned to spend winters in our Port Douglas apartment and summers at our home in Woodend.

‘It wasn’t to be. Life came at us hard – very hard. Suzie died in 2012, of cancer, and with her died the life I’d been blessed with.’

But wait – there’s more: there’s a happy ending. Three years ago Paul fell in love at first sight with Helen Bell, a solicitor. He persuaded her to apply for residency at Currie Park. Now Helen lives just 27 paces away and they are enjoying, he says, the happiest time of their life. “To find such love at my venerable age is wonderful. And to have it in a community where we all get along and help each other is a bonus.’

Paul’s life began in Melbourne in 1941. ‘In my first couple of years I grew up in an atmosphere of fear. As a three-year-old, waiting with my mother for the 57 tram home to Pascoe Vale South, I saw a building bolstered with sandbags. I asked Mum about it. She told me why, and when Dad started digging an air raid shelter in the backyard between the apricot and the peach trees I began to have serial nightmares that the Japanese were invading 33 Royal Parade, Pascoe Vale South.’

As it happened the Japanese never got that far. They were turned back in New Guinea by Australian infantry, some of them only 14 or 15 years older than Paul, and thanks to them and the Battle of the Coral Sea, Paul grew up in a loving family, living an uneventful, happy life.

‘Then my life changed forever, really, when I heard that the Sporting Globe was looking for copyboys; kids to fetch and carry in the newsroom. I loved it at once. “The journalists are like big kids, Mum,” I told her, “I want to be one when I grow up. They muck around all the time and anyway I reckon I can write as good as most of them.” I was in short pants at the time.’

Paul did become a journalist on The Sun News-Pictorial, married Herald journalist, Maggie Miller, and together they had two children: actor Noah Taylor and poet Jack. Paul worked on nine newspapers in Melbourne, Wellington and Fleet Street, and came home to be Features Editor of The Sun and then the Herald before becoming an advertising copywriter. His ads for Fosters Lager, with Paul Hogan, won international awards. In 1984 he married Suzie Howie, Australia’s top  entertainment publicist, and for the next quarter of a century the pair led a glittering life.

Paul has written a dozen non-fiction books. One of them came in handy a few weeks ago. ‘Helen and I were in an Irish bar in New York. We were surrounded by a dozen or so Irishmen, brawny lads who demanded to know where we came from and what we did.

‘They were pleased when we told them that we were Australians – New York Oirishmen are not fond of Brits – and they were delighted when I told them I was the author of Saving Ireland’s Soul, about the Dublin rebellion of 1916. That got everyone in the pub singing. An experience Helen and I will treasure.’

Helen, Paul says, ‘is a helluva cook.’ He too cooks, and has a word of advice for all cooks. ‘It’s from my yet to be published book, Living Beyond Your Beans,’ he says, ‘and the word is anchovies. As I say in the book, “Give anchovies a try. I use them in so many recipes; practically everything except peaches and cream.”

‘Which brings me,’ says Paul Taylor, to the question of the meaning of life. ‘Life is just a bowl of cherries. But with my anchovy secret, I guarantee, your life will be much more enriched.’






Keith White, who had heart surgery two years ago, reckons he’s better now than he has ever been. He puts his state of health and well-being down to the life he has found at Currie Park, OCAV’s village in Euroa.

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