John O’Malley has fit a lot into his 85 years—TV executive, professional tennis coach, plasterer, window dresser, husband, and father.

John has had an eventful and colourful life, but it’s also one that has been tinged with sadness.

At 21 years old, John discovered he was adopted and spent his early years in an orphanage after enquiring at the Registrar of Births in Edinburgh, Scotland. He never confided in his adopted parents that he knew the truth, but he said it explained a lot.

“My father wasn’t interested in me at all,” John said.

“I never experienced any love from him. I don’t recall him ever hugging me or showing me any affection.”

John has lived in Scotland, New Zealand, Germany, and Australia. He went on to have more than 25 jobs and three beautiful children.

However, John suffered from extremely low self-esteem and untreated depression for a large part of his life. He said this resulted in him being a “pretty absent and uncaring father”.

John encourages anyone struggling with their mental health to ask for help.

“Mental illness is debilitating, and it not only affects you but everyone around you,” John said.

“I just wish I had sought professional help for my psychological problems as a young man.”

John has been separated from his wife, Norma, for the past 40 years and the last time John spoke with his daughter, she told him not to contact her ever again. Sadly, John has also had no contact with his youngest son, Gary, in five years despite repeated emails to him.

John hopes his self-published memoir A Lifetime of Many Stories Adventures, Regrets and Reflections—the result of seven years of writing on and off—may provide some answers to his family and go some way towards healing his strained relationships.

John has lived at Regis Alawarra Lodge for the past 18 months. His fellow residents and the Home’s employees joined John for his official book launch, including a book signing and morning tea on Friday 22 April 2022.

To purchase a copy of John’s book, please email