Trevor Hamilton’s first job after graduating from university more than four decades ago was as a computer programmer for insurance company MLC.
“But after three years I thought: can I see myself sitting at a desk for the rest of my life?” said the Springwood resident.
The answer, as it turns out, was no.
Mr Hamilton switched careers to teaching and never looked back. He was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s Birthday honours for his service to the Blue Mountains community.
Mr Hamilton, 69, moved to the Mountains in 1974 when he started his teaching career at Nepean High School. He transferred to Springwood High School after 10 years before beginning a long connection with Winmalee High where he still teaches causally today, 10 years after his formal retirement.
“I still have a good memory for the kids [I’ve taught over the years], not only for their names but what they did at the school and my involvement with them,” he said.
And this involvement has been extensive.
Mr Hamilton started Winmalee High School’s ski racing team program in 1987, taking four students to the snow that first year. It is now an institution at the school with many students going on to compete at national level.
The mathematics teacher also instigated a year 10 leadership camp at Winmalee High School and has helped run its Duke of Edinburgh scheme.
When two Winmalee High students asked him to coach them in water polo, Mr Hamilton took up the challenge despite never having watched a game before. This began a 30 year involvement with the sport, including seeing students Jake Burton, Josh Watkins and Sam Nangle represent Australia.
Mr Hamilton’s community involvement extends beyond his teaching career, including a 10 year stint on the Springwood Foundation Day committee. He has ‘legend status’ at the City2Surf fun run, having competed in all 47 races (“I did have a torn cruciate ligament one year and had to do it on crutches”).
Mr Hamilton is also a life member of the Sydney West School Sports Association and Nepean Triathlon Association.
But he is quick to credit others for the work has done for the community, including his wife Helen and daughters, Nichole and Rebecca.
“All the stuff I’ve done throughout the years has taken me away from home so I couldn’t have done it without the support of Helen and my immediate family and friends,” he said.
“The teachers at school were always great as well – I would average sometimes 40 days off a year running carnivals or doing this and doing that, and the other teachers would step in to run my classes.”