Jonathon Marsden: ‘My Dad taught me so much, including how to fly’

Hobsons Bay Councillor Jonathon Marsden reflects on fatherhood and his own father ahead of Father’s Day 2018.

More than 10,000 fathers in Hobsons Bay will be honoured and celebrated this weekend, with Father’s Day providing an opportunity to recognise fatherhood and the influence of fathers in society.

Reflecting on his own father, Hobsons Bay Councillor Jonathon Marsden recalls many memorable moments, including one from almost forty years ago which inspired him to learn how to fly.

“My own Dad was formative in my own development and taught me so much, including how to fly. Once he took me flying around the highlands of Papua New Guinea picking up sacks of coffee from remote airstrips,” Cr Marsden said.

“(He was) moonlighting from his regular job as a flying instructor in the Papua New Guinea Defence Force. I can recall every minute of that trip, even though it was almost forty years ago.”

It was the profound influence of his father that made Jonathon Marsden follow a similar life path in which he carved out a career in aviation and served his country as a helicopter pilot in the Australian Army.

Now he serves his local community as a Councillor at Hobsons Bay City Council, Member of the Metropolitan Transport Forum Executive, a Director of LeadWest, and Chair of the Western Transport Alliance.

Jonathon Marsden also works in the field of active transport infrastructure as an analyst of cycling and walking networks, though as a father himself, it is transport that has him worried about any parent’s worse nightmare.

“I fear that she’ll be run over when walking around the neighbourhood. That’s a bit dark, though! My daughter loves to walk around the streets, patting the dogs she finds along the way,” Cr Marsden said.

Reflecting on the precious moments and times spent with his daughter, Jonathon Marsden said he often thinks about all of the fathers who are not so lucky, which fuels his passion for change in advocating for one year of paid paternity leave for every worker.

“It would supercharge the child’s early development if both parents could afford to spend time with their child during the critical first 1000 days, one caring for the child while the other parent worked, while still receiving a living wage,” Cr Marsden said.

“The pay and conditions for early childhood educators would improve, too, as Dads would see what it means to care for and educate a child full-time.”

It would certainly allow Jonathon Marsden more time to teach his daughter the art of cooking poached eggs on toast slathered in butter and Vegemite, which happens to be his favourite, for many more Father’s Days to come.

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