Author(s): Jeff Sly (Prepared for Publication by)
Peter Learmonth was an ordinary boy whose life was shaped by a series of extraordinary events.He was chronically burned as a seven year old on Boxing Day, 1939.That could, and probably should, have ended his life.What followed was a number of chance encounters and exceptional happenings that not only allowed him to survive, but led him towards an extraordinary life.He was among fewer than a handful of child patients in Victoria¿s largest military hospital during World War II. He shared a room with VC recipient Ted Kenna. He was a noted patient of Australia¿s undisputed pioneer of plastic and reconstructive surgery. And he ran at school alongside dual-Olympian John Landy.In the middle of it all his father fought a battle with surgeons to rebuild Peter¿s arms, rather than amputate. It was one of many battles Peter and his family fought and won during his remarkable recovery.He went on to work as a jackeroo, and then had to fight again to enter his desired profession as a stock agent.What followed was a spectacular career during which he became one of the most respected operators in western Victoria.Peter Learmonth¿s story is that of a fighter. It¿s the tale of a man who was told multiple times, ¿You can¿t do that,¿ and went ahead and did it anyway.At 84 he sat down with veteran journalist Jeff Sly to reflect on a truly remarkable life.