An eight-year old Gerard Malouf witnessed his father crying, while telling him the deepest wish in his heart was that he just wanted Gerard to be the best he could possibly be, at whatever he did in life. That conversation has stayed with the young boy right through his life as an impactful reminder to always excel in every endeavour, and at every opportunity.
Gerard Malouf believes “knowing someone’s background is a portent of their morality, their future and what they might ultimately want to achieve in their life.”
If that’s true, go to your favourite map app and search for Normanton, Queensland, because that’s the unlikely starting point for his story, and you may well have no idea where it is.
Imagine you’re a young Christian Lebanese couple, a hundred and thirty-five years ago, back in the 19th Century, and you’re looking for a country to migrate to where you would be free to openly practise your religion.
No such thing as a map app back then, not even accurate paper maps; in fact, they were probably still relying on Captain Cook’s navigational drawings!
As Gerard recounts, “that was the situation my grandparents found themselves in, desperately seeking a bright new future in a country far, far away. Their search began at the beginning of the alphabet with the letter ‘A’ and Australia seemed far enough away.”
Not only did his grandparents emigrate to a country that was as far away as you could get, they found themselves living in such an isolated part of the country that most Australians couldn’t tell you where it was.
Ironically, they went from the Gulf area of the Middle East to the Gulf country of Australia, just a stone’s throw from the Gulf of Carpentaria.
It’s still a mystery exactly how his grandparents ended up in Normanton, but they did, and “my grandfather, who was as tough as they come, about five-foot high and six-foot wide, ran the pub.