Simon says it's time for a sea change

SIMON Thresher went from wielding weapons and tracking pirates, to tightening hair-buns and writing essays.

From life as a former lead seaman for the Royal Australian Navy to becoming a full-time stay-at-home dad, he proves that it is never to late to change your life completely.

After eight years serving in Australia’s Navy, he gave it all up to begin a family with the love of his life.

Born and bred in Port Macquarie, a young Simon always loved the water.

An avid swimmer and fisher he fostered a unique relationship with the ocean, which would later lead him to take-on a traineeship at Sea World during high school.

His future he thought, would involve marine science, but a fortuitous trip to a visiting Navy recruitment centre in Port Macquarie would set his life on a different course entirely.

“So I signed on the dotted line just after I finished school,” Simon says. 

“At the time, no, I don’t really think I knew what I was getting myself into.”

After a three solid months of ‘yes sir’ ‘no sir’, the idea of a marine science career slowly moved to the back of Simon’s mind.

To the forefront came the exciting world of exploration and companionship that came with living life at sea.

“You sort of leave your old life behind, and you start a new life.”

His journey would take Simon across the globe from the shores of the Americas to South-east Asia and from Korea to the South-west Pacific.

Fortunately, Simon says, being in the Navy in a pre-September 11 world meant a peacekeeping mission to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea would be his most spine-tingling mission.

“It was pretty overwhelming when we were told to pack our bags and go, but we were pretty lucky on that trip.”

In 2000, Simon would tie the knot with the woman of his dreams.

His wife Kerrie would become the bread-winner, and Simon would give-up the sea-fairing life to start a family.

Oddly enough, he had spent less than 12 months on land in almost a decade, but his new line of work would be completely vested in solid ground as a landscaping design and construction manager.

“I always had a bit of an interest in plants and that sort of thing,” Simon recalls. “It was sort of the trend of the moment and the era of Jamie Durie and the do-it-yourself stuff.”

He would manage everything from smaller projects to multi-million dollar plans.

Some five years ago the family decided to move back to Port Macquarie.

And with Kerrie constantly travelling for her work as a mechanical engineer – Simon became the full-time parent for his eight-year-old twins Rebecca and Samantha and his 10-year-old son, Jeremy.

He is also studying a masters degree in environmental science to diversify his qualifications.

He is renovating the family home –  and as if that’s not enough on his plate, is the president of the Port City Hockey club, and the volunteer welfare officer at the Port Macquarie RSL Sub Branch.  

If Simon thought the Navy was hard, juggling the responsibilities of his new life would prove even more challenging at times.

“I do love it, but it’s really about readjusting – you do have less time for yourself and you make more time for the kids,” Simon says. He meets his university obligations via distance education. When the kids are at school, so is Simon.

“It’s a delicate balancing act.”

But Simon believes he’s perfectly cut-out to be a stay-at-home dad.

“Males and females have different ways of doing things but I know that I’m more than capable of doing it.”

Even despite his girls reminding him of his poor taste in fashion.

“I was always getting in trouble for putting the wrong colours together,” Simon says, laughing.

“But I’ve gotten pretty good. I even do their buns for dancing  – they do fall out sometimes but I’m much better now.”

As for living without mum for weeks on end, Simon says the children do pretty well.

“They do miss mum a lot, but they’re pretty balanced kids. 

“I make a point of eating together too.”

Despite, his life-turning upside down and taking a completely different course, Simon says he wouldn’t have it any other way.

And believes anyone can make a life-change if they need to, and if they want to.

“As they say, it’s never too late - it’s definitely worth it, just bite the bullet and have a go.”

From sea to landscaping: Topping the ranks of the Royal Australian Navy to taking on a role as a full-time father and  landscape design gardener (right), Simon Thresher has spent a lifetime walking in two very different pairs of shoes.

From sea to landscaping: Topping the ranks of the Royal Australian Navy to taking on a role as a full-time father and landscape design gardener (right), Simon Thresher has spent a lifetime walking in two very different pairs of shoes.


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