Trader’s last day on Queenscliff Beach, Sydney in March 1950 before leaving for London.
The nickname Trader was established following an episode when Ronald was just seven years old. Money was tight during the 1930s and his father John helped to make ends meet by distilling whiskey which was then sold to friends in the neighborhood. He had been bottling the latest batch of his potent brew in the bathtub and had some left over, providing little Ronald with an opportunity to solve a dilemma.He had just come off very badly in a game of marbles, losing every single one of the hundred marbles (including the all-important “tor” that his dad had bought for him) and was desperate to get them back. He climbed up a ladder and entered the locked bathroom, pilfered the remaining brew and swiftly exchanged it in the playground for the lost marbles. Ronald was blamed for the drunken mayhem that followed in class and expelled from school as a result. On hearing about the debacle, his father exclaimed “We seem to have spawned a right little Trader!” The name stuck from then on.
Trader had a further episode of mischief a few years later when he was seventeen, flirting with death in a surfing encounter with a shark at Queenscliff Beach, Manly. There was a very heavy surf running and Trader was out behind the breakers. He realised that his only route to safety was by leaping from the board onto a wave and trying to take that back to the beach. Trader caught the wave and thought he had hit the board on the way “down the mine”. He hit the beach visibly shaken and covered in blood, only to learn from his surf club mates that he had grazed the back of a gray nurse shark.