Kerry Finch was just 15 when he left school at the end of grade 9.
Fifty-six years later he is leaving the Legislative Council as the longest-serving member of the current Tasmanian Parliament.
He has been the member for Rosevears for 18 years and has earned the title of the 'Father of the House' - bestowed on the member who has had the longest continuous service.
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"Father of the Parliament - who would have thought it, eh?" Mr Finch laughs.
"That tells me that I have a modicum of experience from 18 years.
"During that time I have looked to share my knowledge, advice and skills with my colleagues at every opportunity without being pedantic.
"I have always felt the need to set a good example so that we improve the reputations of parliamentarians - who are often held in low esteem."
Politics was furthest from his mind during a happy and adventurous childhood growing up on kunanyi/Mount Wellington at Fern Tree.
"I had all the adventures of growing up in the country but being only 10 minutes from the city," he said.
"I passed the 'Ability Test' and went to Hobart High School.
"My headmaster, C.Dwight Brown and I came to an agreement that I should depart at the end of third year and off I went into the workforce as a control operator at [radio station] 7HT Hobart."
And so began a long and successful media career.
At 18, he became the youngest capital city breakfast announcer in Australia.
After five years with 7HT he wanted to travel and broaden his horizons and become a better broadcaster.
"So it was off to Savage River to earn the money to get to the North West of Western Australia to earn the money to get to England, a bit of a Mecca for young Australians in the '60s," Mr Finch said.
"I resumed my radio career about three years later at 2MW Murwillumbah and after another couple of years at 2KM Kempsey and Port Macquarie and then it was off to the big smoke with 2CH in Sydney."
He then moved to Launceston to introduce the new 'good music format' presenting the breakfast program and "sell the idea to the business community".
The young presenter came to the attention of the ABC who headhunted him.
Mr Finch was with the ABC for a quarter of a century before leaving in 2000 to run his own media company.
Already active in the community in theatre and sporting groups politics became an option when the member for Rosevears and president of the Legislative Council, the late Ray Bailey, retired in 2002.
Mr Finch had rejected approaches from the major parties to run for them but decided to give it a go as an Independent.
"After investigating how the system works with friend, former President, Don Wing, it was obvious that the best place for me was in the Legislative Council as an Independent and with my family it was given due consideration.
"I felt I could be as good a community representative as anybody, threw my hat in the ring and won the seat of Rosevears.
"There were nine candidates and I went in it to win it.
"Politics played no part in my early family life and it was only at voting time later that I embraced the issues, the candidates and the needs of the electorate and Australia.
"I have always been, and still am, a swinging voter."
After winning on his first attempt the jocular Mr Finch took to the Legislative Council like a duck to water.
"Parliament obviously is quite different (to radio) but it's about people voting for you to go there as their representative and then finding out how best you can achieve that with the skills you possess....and generally each member brings something quite different to others," Mr Finch explains.
"I have always seen myself as a community representative in Parliament rather than a politician.
"Thoroughly enjoying the freedom as an Independent, speaking without fear or favour but doing the work of approving, enhancing or rejecting legislation based on it's value to Tasmanians and our future."
Mr Finch is proud that while once seen as an old boy's club the Legislative Council today has eight women.
"I'm so proud that Tasmanians are prepared to elect women to Parliament and that we are the first Parliament in Australia to have over 50 per cent female representation.
"One of the main things I'll miss about my Parliamentary work is the debates, particularly about social and controversial issues.
"The chemistry of the viewpoints, personalities, philosophical beliefs, values all play a part in the voting patterns that emerge.
"I pride myself on my independent, unopinionated, openness to debates and I hope my colleagues recognise my desire to be seen as as a good listener."
Mr Finch is adamant that the Upper House plays a vital role in democracy. He firmly rejects any suggestion it be abolished and Tasmania adopt a single house system like Queensland or that it does not sit often enough.
"Criticism generally comes from within Parliament because governments of the day would prefer to have their election mandates and ideologies unimpeded for progress through to laws.
"It's incumbent that scrutiny and oversight of legislation occurs to ensure that laws are for the betterment of all Tasmanians, not just those aligned to the government of the day.
"The suggestion that the Legco doesn't sit often enough are unaware of the work of parliamentarians.
"As well as attending for sitting days that are at the behest of the government of the day and their legislative program, there is the committee work on joint standing committees like public accounts and subordinate legislation.
"Then there is the constituent work to solve any State issues that people in our electorates might have. Let alone ensuring a complete knowledge of the development of health, education, employment, infrastructure needs and the general welfare of the community.
"So often we hear 'thank goodness for the Legco' because there is another avenue for investigation of legislation, otherwise the government of the day would have free rein to introduce whatever laws suited their ideologies."
As expected, Mr Finch reflects on the positive and negatives of his three terms in the Upper House.
"The high points are the success of social issues like marriage equality laws, the expungement of gay criminal records and the recognition of gender diversity.
"The low point would be that after four years of earnest work by all sides of the forestry industry to come to a Tasmanian Forest Agreement and for it to be torn up with the advent of a new government."
He also presented an anti-pulp mill petition one of the biggest petitions to Parliament with 21,360 signatures of people opposed to the Tamar Valley pulp mill.
Mr Finch is proud of his nephew Andrew Finch who is chief of staff to Premier Peter Gutwein but says when they meet they usually just discuss footy and family.
He believes Tasmania will emerge from the pandemic but "we mustn't put all our eggs in one basket".
"The pandemic has shown us that economic diversification will be vital for our future.
"We have shown that with tourism, primary industry, a well-considered forestry industry, manufacturing ....the list goes on. Employment, of course, is always on the radar and so is the nurturing of our young people, our health system, looking after our disadvantaged and people with disabilities.
"Tasmania is well placed for a successful re-emergence from the pandemic."
He is looking forward to spending time with his wife Carole and family.
I have always been, and still am, a swinging voter.Kerry Finch
"After 18 years I'm ready to explore life after Parliamentary work.
"More private time with Carole and the expanding family will be high on the agenda but at this time I don't have a road map. I'm interested to see what unfolds.
"But there is a signal that 'the time has come, the Walrus said'.
"I'm making way for new energy and enthusiasm for somebody else to represent the fabulous electorate of Rosevears.
"Crikey, it has been a wonderful experience."