Rod Parham, ‘I am Derwombat.’


I was born on Sunday, 16 November, 1947 at Wakefield Street Hospital in the morning.
My parents were Albert (Bill) Parham and Mabel (May) Parham,
They named me after the British Warship HMS Rodney. My first nickname was Caxton, the first English Printer.
I went to Primary School at Forbes Primary and was called Napoleon. At Plympton High I was nicknamed Humphrey Darling.
I started work as a Hot Metal Comp apprentice at National Paper Industries on the Port Road in 1965, where I mastered the Ludlow typograph, sweeping up and doing foreign orders for the factory workers. My nickname here was the Tunku.
I finished my last 18 months of apprenticeship working under Alf Freeman and Snow Bennett at the Griffin Press on Marion Road, Netley. My nickname here was Puppet.
Then it was off to the United Kingdom working at the Kent & Sussex Courier in Royal Tunbridge Wells in Kent. Then some time in New Zealand working for a trade house in Auckland before starting at the Government Printing Office in July, 1973.
I spent a great ten years at the Old Guv. My nicknames here were Honky Tonk and Brother. I left in 1983 to work as a Union Organiser with the Printing And Kindred industries Union (PKIU).
The Printing Union was a great Union with a real commitment to servicing its members.
I can confidently say that my best times at work were spent at National Paper, Griffin Press, the Old Guv and the PKIU.
Some Highlights from Rod Parham’s Life…
1. He tried to hide a life size plastic blow-up dolly bought as a birthday gift by his Old Guv “mates”. When his terrified mother found the dolly in his wardrobe he spent hours explaining to mum and dad why he didn’t need urgent psychiatric help!.
2. He Won the hearts of many of the girls in the Binding Room with his enlightening speeches at union meetings. This was achieved with the careful use of swear words and discreet knacker scratching whilst speaking.
3. As Winner of the 1968 Delmont Medal for all round brilliance (see above photo) he was “bullied” by his jealous and envious bastard workmates when he started in the Old Guv Comp Room. This included cutting his type gauge in two, setting him up to drop and destroy an eight page monotype forme. But worst of all, was getting him to frighten poor old Cyril Barson with a Toy Clown on a Stick. All this in his first two days..
4. When he left the Guv in 1983, he was thanked by hundreds of his work comrades with a very embarassing FATAGRAM in the deserted monotype room by a large, short sighted lady stripper. This delighted the workers but not the Government Printer.
Victor Potticary’s Testimonial
When Rod started at The Guv he would run to the Rex Hotel when on the Hansard Shift, then run back, work 5 hours O/T and then go for a 10 km run at West Beach. He bought a racing bike from his mate Myles Conlon, but came to grief near the Adelaide Zoo after shaving his legs for the very first time. “It’s not natural”, he said.
“Rod Parham you are an Arrogant Fellow, Great Orator, Raconteur, Film Critic and the best bloke to have on your side in an argument.
You are a Legend.”

2 thoughts on “Rod Parham, ‘I am Derwombat.’

    • That’s me, a cross between Spike Milligan, The Pythons, Frank Hardy and a great student of workplace language. I had never heard the word F**K until I was 18.
      It’s true,
      Best wishes Rod

      Liked by 1 person

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