Maurice Furlan's story

From a houseboat builder to a single father.

Picture yourself in your late 20's. You work for the State Electricity Commission of Victoria. It is hazardous working with the high voltages. The job involves shift work. One day you learn that your wife has been unfaithful and your children are illegitimate. It comes as a major shock. On the job; you find yourself in the wrong substation and about to earth a live cable. Its time to re-evaluate your life! 

You convert a  bus and trailer and head off to work your way around Australia. You spend a year on the river at Echuca. There you meet some great people while working on the brand new paddleboat PS EmmylouRiverboats get into your blood. 

Your next move is to Barham where you meet Karen, the new love in your life. You marry again. 10 years have passed since the first marriage. Your son is born 18 months later, unexpectedly. What do you do? If you sell the bus and use your savings you can buy a nice house on the riverbank or you can have a go at a business on the Murray River. The year is 1986 and you decide to build a very large houseboat. 

Bureaucracy destroys the venture over the next four years. Your family has suffered greatly. You move away to Kerang and take on a dilapidated home under a Government Scheme. You are given an opportunity for a new career in computer programming. It involves studying in Melbourne for 3 months and returning home on weekends. 

One day you return home to a locked house and your wife and son missing. She has abandoned ship. It seems Mr Mahon, a long time solicitor for her parents and from Swan Hill has been in her ear ! Swan Hill Magistrates Court makes contradictory custody orders against you and reserves child access to your estranged wife. Child support demands $3000. Coincidently, Maritime officials have also been in telephone contact with them. The vessels are subject to proceedings in the NSW Land and Environment Court and also property proceedings in the Family Court. Child Access and Child Tax proceedings continue for another bitter four years until the death of Karen at age 30. Her parents seek custody of your son maintaining their belief that it was you who left the family. 

Read more about Swan Hill Magistrates and Family Law Courts....

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