When Trevor Wrightson, 87, of Wyee Point retired as electrical foreman at Vales Point Power Station, he turned his hand to writing books and is now a globally recognised author.
Wrightson’s success story began with his first published book, Electricity for Beginners, now being distributed by Balboa Press throughout America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and England.
“It’s starting to take off,” he said, modestly.
“Now they’re trying to have the book available in libraries all over the world, too.”
Wrightson said he was disappointed to leave the industry at only 56, when he retired on a redundancy package as part of the staff downsizing when Vales Point shutdown one of its two stations, so he snapped up the opportunity to teach electrical theory to apprentices and tradesmen for five years at the then Hunter Valley Training College.
“I was disappointed because I had all this knowledge in my head about electricity, about power stations, how they run, and for about 40 years I’d worked on so many different things, you name it, I’ve worked on it,” he said.
Over the years Wrightson said he’d trained up to 500 apprentices, so it was a natural transition for him to carry on sharing his wealth of knowledge teaching at the college.
“When I started, I was given a book written by an engineer on how to teach electrical but I thought it was too complicated for newcomers.
“I went looking for books in layman’s terms but I couldn’t find one; they all had little practical information, so I thought, well, I’m going to write a book myself and I’ve hand-drawn all the diagrams, too.”
Electricity for Beginners is the book of which he is most proud – “it’s my baby” – and it’s the publication that set off his success as an author when Balboa Press picked it up, saying it was “just what we’ve been looking for”.
Wrightson has written six books, three of them self-published and originally written just for his family, recollecting his life experiences, places, people, events.
They are The History of Mannering Park Community Hall, a book of poetry called In Days Gone By, and Australia Through the Eyes of an 82-year-old Man.
Wrightson’s record of local goings-on is not just putting down the facts, he’s also captured the essence of a community in which he has played a well respected and major part, being right in the thick of things of almost every community group, and he still has his hand in as the community representative on the Vales Point Community Consultative Committee.
His latest books, Growing Up in Berrima, which is now on the shelves and available for purchase, and the sequel, A New Life, will be out in a few weeks.
Growing Up in Berrima gives readers a glimpse of the past as Wrightson recounts his life growing up in the 1930s to the 1950s on the NSW Southern Highlands.
He was six years old when World War II started and his home town was selected to train soldiers to fire guns, cannons, drive tanks and trucks, and they practiced marching through the streets of Berrima.
The book depicts the frightening effect the war had on a young boy and how his life changed after, with many interesting, life changing events during his teenage years, his development into a young man and, finally, his marriage in 1957.
There’s humorous tales of when he was only eight and got a job delivering meat for the local butcher, ferreting, fishing, playing cricket, school days, his first job as a woodcutter before getting his electrical apprenticeship, many life lessons, and then how he came to be tangled up in a murder investigation when he was about 20.
A New Life traces Wrightson’s married life with his wife, Helen, when they moved to the Illawarra region, then to Mannering Park to become electrical foreman at Vales Point Power Station and onward through the years to his 80s, when they moved to Wyee Point.
We’ll have to wait to read those adventures, because they’re under wraps until the book hits the shelves in a few weeks.