Warren Henry Huxtable’s stories & travels across the Australian landscape
Warren Henry Huxtable was born on the 8th of October 1937 in Mallala, South Australia. This book is published that he may forever be remembered.
About the Author
Written by Brian Jackson
Warren Henry Huxtable was born on the 8th of October 1937 in Mallala, South Australia. He died, in my arms, on the 27th of January 2021 in the South Coast District Hospital, Victor Harbor, South Australia.
He had little schooling, as he was afflicted with Polio when he was 14 and diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) when he was 15. Despite his lack of formal schooling he had a command of English and the ability to communicate. His diction was clear and he was able to command the attention of others when he spoke. His parents, two very caring and Warren Henry Huxtable loving people, spent many hours when he was afflicted with Polio massaging his limbs and helping with his breathing. As a result of his illness he had to wear leg braces, designed and made by his father. When he was diagnosed with MS he was forced to use a wheelchair. Many others, if they had encountered such disabling physical problems, would not have attempted to travel around Australia in a car towing a caravan, but he did. Following this, his first such trip, he travelled with a number of circuses, making many friends with the owners and performers. He maintained those friendships, until his death. Two functions were held for the many supporters that, together with his family, wanted to be included in his farewell.
This book is a record of that first trip (one of many) he embarked upon, to travel around Australia. On a subsequent tour to Queensland he met Lady (Phyllis) Cilento, from whom he received advice to take massive doses of vitamin C, Mega B and vitamin E. He followed her advice and was able to discard the wheelchair and walk, with the aid of sticks, supported by the leg braces. In his later years he was forced to use the wheelchair again, for walks, although he could manage with a stick when in the house. He never allowed the considerable pain he suffered all his life to interfere with his desire to follow his dreams.
In his last year, when he suffered, even more excruciating and debilitating pain, very few were made privy to his condition; he still greeted everyone with his wonderful smile. The last photograph of him, taken on the 30th of December 2020, one month before he passed away, shows him still beaming even though he only had less than a month to live.
He always dressed in country stylish shirts, RM Williams Trousers with a sharp pressed crease at the front and back, and high-topped leather boots. He was easily recognised, when out and about, by the Akubra or the country straw hat he habitually wore. He was never seen in public in anything that could be considered worn or work clothes. Neither he, nor I, would wear jeans outside of the garden.
I met Warren in a gay club and we were both instantly attracted to each other, spending 37 most wonderful years together, from September the 1st 1983 to his death.
Our tastes, in always being smartly turned out, were the same. We enjoyed putting shows together and we were responsible for producing a Christmas in June for many years. This was a full-on Christmas dinner complete with candles providing low light, red wine in 2-litre green jugs, white wine in green 1-litre flagons and 750 ml carafes. In Warren Henry Huxtable the early days, when we had around 45 people, he and I catered for the meal but as numbers grew we employed a caterer. I played the part of QE11, giving the Christmas message, while he was Prince Phillip, standing 2 paces behind. The last time we put on the show together the
numbers had swollen to 90 happy guests.
He was interested in leather work and I still have some of his artistic designs and the tools he used. He was the most extraordinary man of many talents, with a strong spirit countering his weakened body.
When we first met, Warren was the owner of a camper van so he would take off for the beach each weekend and also spend a few weeks each year in travel to local holiday places in South Australia. We used this van to drive to Brisbane for the World Expo staying in caravan parks. He loved the Australian outback, and his urge to travel never left him. Since we both enjoyed trains, we took to traveling by that means. There were 3 return trips on the Ghan, when it only went as far as Alice Springs, and then round trips to Perth where we stayed a couple of weeks before returning on the train to Adelaide via Sydney. In Sydney, we would sit in the coffee shop on Central Station, before boarding the train back to Adelaide. These trips were in Platinum where we would be looked after by the very caring and friendly staff. Our last train trip, on the Ghan, was a return to Darwin. It was a wonderful holiday although I found it a little too humid while he revelled in the heat. When Covid 19 stopped the Indian Pacific crossing the WA border we missed what would have been our last return journey to Perth.
We were lucky, when the law changed, to be able to wed on the 24th of February 2018. The wedding was attended by 80 of our closest friends with members of our families. The happy day was celebrated, with the ceremony and reception, held in the Goolwa Hotel.
While he was facing the end of his life I produced a video of him sharing some of his experiences, when he travelled with the circus. He was a true gentleman and although he writes, in this story of him swearing, he never uttered a swear word in all the time we spent together. He only once said he did not like someone, and that was because I was threatened with physical violence, by an oaf, together with the oafs’ unpleasant wife backed up by another woman. It was this woman he told that she was not welcome at his table, when she asked why, he replied because he did not like her.
Warren Henry Huxtable He was admitted to the Palliative Care Unit in the South Coast Hospital for the last 10 days of his life. This was when Covid 19 had closed off the means of visiting so I was fortunate to have been provided a bed in the same room as he. His care there was intense and the staff were some of the most caring and generous people I have ever known. He was loyal to his friends, a loving uncle to his niece and nephew and my soulmate. I will always be indebted to him for his love, his loyalty and his great kindness. This book is published, that he may forever be remembered.