Always up for a thrill

Tari JeffersManjimup-Bridgetown Times
Howard Evans was always willing to try new things and found some real life-long interests along the way.
Camera IconHoward Evans was always willing to try new things and found some real life-long interests along the way. Credit: Manjimup-Bridgetown Times

Theatre, sport, service clubs and family activities have been the main focus for Manjimup man Howard Evans.

Born in the UK and relocated to Australia when he was two years old, Howard came to Manjimup in April, 1978, for a job opportunity in his law profession.

He does have a deep connection to the region, as his maternal grandparents were group settlers in Northcliffe and his mother was born in the area in the 1920s.

“My mother met my father during a working holiday in the UK and they moved out here in 1955,” Howard said.

“Britain in 1955 wasn’t the most wonderful place in the world, with rationing and such, and Mum’s family were all here.”

Raised and schooled in Albany and Perth, Howard made his way to Manjimup just after Cyclone Alby to work for the local lawyer at the time.

Within months, Howard joined the Imperials Football Club after going along with his cousin’s husband.

“He was also in Apex, so he got me into both,” he said.

As an Imperials member, Howard originally started out as a runner, when he was younger and fitter.

After he married, he left Imperials behind but stayed in Apex.

All the while Howard was moving up in his career when he took over the Manjimup law practice from his predecessor in 1985 and the Bridgetown practice in 1988.

“Due to the nature of work, I took some leave from Apex and found, when I went back, that the magic it had previously held had gone,” he said. “At the time I was 38 and was facing that within another couple of years, I was going to be at (Apex) compulsory retirement age.”

During his time at Apex, Howard served as president, secretary and District Governor.

“I really like a whole range of things, but I do remember someone saying that if you went somewhere to another Apex Club, you were walking into a room with a group of friends you just hadn’t met yet,” he said.

“And that was true. I’ve met guys around the traps that I’ve met in Apex and 40 years on, we still catch up.”

As his children grew up, Howard also served on the Kearnan College school board for six years.

“Having finished at the school board, my son got involved with junior footy and I got back involved with Imperials too and served for a few more years after he finished,” he said.

Over the years, Howard has also been involved with local cricket and served as an umpire.

These days, Howard is known for his involvement with the Manjimup Repertory Club, where he was been the president.

He first got involved with the club when — attending because of his children’s participation — he was asked to run the front-of-house during a show when the club was stuck.

“From that, it grew and we were doing front-of-house a lot,” Howard said.

“And when we moved into our new premises, it was just kind of accepted that my wife and I were kind of the front-of-house managers.”

His first role on stage was during a Rowan Atkinson rip-off in a series of shorts, in which they needed to fill in another act.

“I suggested the piece because I had read the script in case someone wanted to do it and the directors said ‘yep, are you going to do it?’ — and this was on a Tuesday night, when the show opened on Friday,” Howard said.

Over the years, Howard’s involvement has grown and his most recent role was The Celebrity in the 2019 production of the comedy murder mystery Who Did You Say You Were?

Howard is directing The Old People Are Revolting, which will be performed later this year.

“Even if we don’t get to do it due to COVID restrictions, it’s been nice to get back into it again,” he said.

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