TriCare Retirement Communities are wonderfully diverse, and everyone has a story to tell. It is a privilege for staff who get to hear from residents first-hand – in fact, the tales are so rich that they deserve a bigger audience. We hope these blogs provide insight into the amazing lives of our remarkable residents. In this week’s story, we meet Des Diggles, resident of TriCare Stafford Lakes Retirement Living community, and find out about how his interest in technical writing led to Des becoming a published author.
A passion for learning and giving back
Hailing from the north Brisbane suburb of Windsor, Des grew up as the oldest child of parents Ossy and Hazel, with siblings Gary, Wendy, and Warren. His early years were spent at Windsor State School, before he moved on to Kedron State High School to achieve his Junior Certificate in 1959. After finishing high school, Des took up a cadetship with the Queensland Government as a Survey Draftsman. This was the beginning of a long career for Des, in which he was able to use his skills in mathematics and technical drawing. Des achieved great success along the way, becoming the inaugural officer in charge of the Digital Section in the Department of Mapping and Surveying, and also serving as the State and Federal President of the Mapping Sciences Institute of Australia. In recognition of Des’s lifetime of service to Survey and Mapping, Des was awarded an OAM in 2011.
From the time he was a teenager, Des also gave back to the community by enlisting in the Citizens Military Forces (CMF), now known as the Australian Army Reserve. “I thought I might be able to gain some life-saving skills if another war broke out,” Des says. This was just the beginning of another long career for Des, this time in the Armed Forces, in which he continued to use his technical skills. After a 50-year career during which Des served in the Royal Australian Engineers (RAE) and the Royal Australian Corp of Transport (RACT), he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel, taking with him many life lessons he learned along the way.
But it wasn’t all work and no play for Des! In 1964, Des married Wendy White, and the pair went on to have three children, Michelle, Scott, and Paul. As time passed, Des and Wendy soon became proud and loving grandparents to six wonderful grandchildren – Finn, Oliver, Ethan, Makenzie, Taylor, and Joshua.
The writing bug bites
While at school, Des had never enjoyed writing essays, and it was not until he reached a senior position in his work, that Des discovered a love of writing submissions, technical papers, and manuals. This interest led Des to return to university as a mature age student in 1989 to extend his skills and knowledge. He graduated from the University of Queensland in 1991 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Computer Science, Government, and Geography.
After retiring in 1999, and with his research skills honed from his recent study experience, Des authored and self-published a book titled Mapping Queensland – a history of mapping in the state over the century from 1859 to 1959.
Having dipped his toe into the publishing world, Des was ready to take the plunge into writing fiction. What followed was Wenlock, a crime and mystery novel set in Weipa, in North Queensland. The story follows the fates of three families linked to one property, and drawn together over long-held secrets, murder and a search for justice. Wenlock was released in 2022 and can be purchased in paperback or e-format through Booktopia, at this link: https://www.booktopia.com.au/wenlock-desmond-v-diggles/book/9781982293178.html
And look out for the personal touch on the cover – the book’s cover image is actually Des’s wife Wendy driving the family’s Nissan Patrol through a ford on the Wenlock River during a trip to Cape York!
After a busy and fulfilling career, Des now enjoys his retirement at Stafford Lakes Retirement Community, pursuing his interests. When Des isn’t writing, he likes to dabble in playing golf and building radio-controlled model aircraft. With such a wealth of experiences to his name, we’re sure Des has another exciting novel up his sleeve!
To find out more about Stafford Lakes Retirement Community, click the link below to book your private tour.