Douglas McPetrie

Doug McPetrie

Atkins Terrace, Ron Conn

Douglas McPetrie was a man of substance with a lifelong interest in philosophy, art and music, particularly rhythm and blues.

His mother raised the family in East Bentleigh. Doug became a keen surfer and was at one stage Victoria's Junior Spearfishing champion. 

Doug's love of education was such that he  gained entry to the University of Melbourne where he studied Science. An affinity for drink and drugs made completing his degree impossible, but he got a job in Marine Research at the Fisheries and Wildlife Department.

Doug suffered some dramatic setbacks; in 1972 his motorcycle and a semi-trailer intersected catastrophically, then in 1996, he suffered a stroke that paralyzed his left side.

We first got to know him when he came to live in our housing at Atkins Terrace in Kensington then, when his mobility became more restricted, he moved to Ron Conn in Avondale Heights.

He loved going to the Footscray Arts Centre of an evening,  always attending their major events where he would drink wine with old mates. He was offered a couple of roles at the Centre, however, with Doug, there was a tendency to put it off until he was ready. That was always the response. “When I’m Ready.”

At Ron Conn, Doug was the Kingpin; what he said went and all the residents respected him.

Out on his spot on the deck, Doug did all the wheeling and dealing around cigarettes. e.g. trade me that can of coke, or your recent bingo prize; here, swap you chocolate and chips for cigarettes - worked every time! He looked out for staff too, pulling residents into line if they became abusive.

Douglas McPetrie

Without fail, he would read people’s clothing; anything written on a jumper or T-shirt Doug would stop you and want to read it. He is pictured here, out on the deck with a couple of mates, showing off his CFMEU windcheater.