At Bowral High School, his art teacher, Mr. Cox, saw potential in Jos, and nurtured his talent, instilling in him a mindset of success.
“You can make it big in this world”, he said.
My mother said, “I appreciate Mr. Cox recognising your talent, but what he says is a lot of nonsense. You cannot make money with art, unless your name is Brett Whiteley, and you will never be a Norman Lindsay”.
Jos left school to work at Bunters Men’s Wear in Bowral. His boss was impressed with his enthusiasm, and his way with people, the customers loved him.
He was happy, earning a wage and out of school. But with his inept mathematics, Jos struggled working out the correct change to give customers, and after a short stint, moved on to work as bell boy at Dormie House in Moss Vale.
Jos boarded in a tiny and musty room at Dormie House. In his spare time, working on his art, and completing a sign and ticket writing course by correspondence.
At age 16, Jos secured a position as window dresser, at Market Street David Jones. He left for Sydney, finding a room in a boarding house close to the Sydney CBD.
Mum was worried, and before he left, she quickly taught Jos as much as she could about drugs, sex, and how to keep himself safe from unsavoury people.
She explained there were men interested in other men, especially in the art circles, Jos was wide-eyed, and surprised.
“Really mum?”, he asked.
Jos regularly visited on weekends. Always arriving with a group of arty and interesting friends, straight and gay, in nice cars. With girls on his arm, he and his friends wearing the most interesting fashions of Sydney. There was always a party atmosphere, they would go for drives in the Southern Highlands, Jos showing them all the attractions.
After his school years, Jos thrived to say the least. He went onto become one of Sydney’s top interior designers, a millionaire in his own right, designing interiors for the rich and famous.
Jos created a successful and happy life, even though he married the wrong woman. He met her at David Jones, she was a fabulous model. She was beautiful but stuck up and looked at us with disdain. Nothing was ever good enough for her. She was constantly causing trouble, and on non-speaking terms with all of her own family, trying to cause trouble in ours. She never succeeded because we zipped out mouths shut and took her insolence and rudeness.
Even with his success, Jos never forgot his background, he visited his family on a regular basis.
Jos bought a mansion with a swimming pool in Pymble, drove expensive cars, went on fabulous vacations, his wife had an expensive horse hobby, and during their marriage she never pursued a career of her own, despite her expensive private school education. Their daughter attended Pymble Lady’s College, a good education Jos was never privileged to experience himself.
His business “Cremorne Interiors” was so successful, that he purchased a house behind his shop, which was to be his art studio, both business and studio were located in Cremorne.
Eventually when Jos was diagnosed with cancer, he spent a short time at mum’s in Welby for rehabilitation, after a huge operation. When he returned home the locks had been changed, he was unable to get inside. Jos had outlasted his usefulness. Fighting an expensive divorce with lies and innuendos provided to lawyers, she drained him of all his money, and he lived surfing lounges for the short months before his death.
His daughter, who never went without his love and attention, with no expense spared on her, had little time for her father either during his sickness. Despite this, Jos never spoke ill of either of them, ever.
A wonderful man taken from us, age 48, just as his father before him, who was also 48 when he passed.
Footnote:Jos’ life was marred only for a short time, during his schooling and at the end of his life. His success, his life, and his array of friends made him the happiest person. He loved his wife and daughter which also made him happy. This is not a sad story, it is a happy one, of a man full of life, making it to the pinnacle of success, and always optimistic with a love for his family whom he always put first.