Vietnam veteran, Paul Felsman has rubbed shoulders with prime ministers in his career.
Vietnam veteran, Paul Felsman has rubbed shoulders with prime ministers in his career. John Gass

From Nam to the corridors of power

HE'S had a very interesting and at times traumatic life.

But leaving behind the horror of the Vietnam War in the 1970's, Bilinga's Paul Felsman went to the other extreme.

As a security guard at Parliament House in Canberra for 23 years, he traded the gun for a cricket bat and tennis racquet as he took part in matches with prime ministers and high-profile politicians.

Working a 17-hour day, he met high-profile politicians and dignitaries at the airport and organised their transport and accommodation, as well as their sporting needs.

He got to play in the pollies team against The Wanderers, former first grade Australian cricketers, enjoying a barbecue at Bob Hawke's place after the match.

"It was just part of my job at the time," he said.

"I'd see and talk to people like John Howard and Bob Hawke, as well as some very famous media names like Peter Harvey and Laurie Oakes.

"They were all really nice guys.

"There was always a sense of fair play and good sportsmanship, despite them being in opposing political parties."

Bob Hawke was a very good cricketer and tennis player, according to Mr Felsman.

"But he really loves horse racing."

Gough Whitlam called everyone "comrade," according to Mr Felsman.

"We all started doing the same.

"John Howard was always really keen on cricket, even back then.

"He wasn't that well co-ordinated, but he always gave it a go.

"They were good days.

"Our politicians really threw themselves into sports as well as their political careers."

Mr Felsman has settled at Bilinga for a quiet life.

"It's a great spot," he said.

"I see it as an affordable paradise."



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