By Al Lewison
Well, let me tell you about the week I’ve just had!
While the Open team was working hard, I had a rare offer from one of our clients (who can’t be named) to act as the VIP for Vic Police’s Critical Incident Response Team. They were accrediting the team by conducting training assessments across Melbourne.
These are the guys that protect people like Hilary Clinton and Prince Fredrick when they visit Australia.
That’s right. Dark suits, ear pieces, talking into their cuffs.
Me, I’m playing Whitney Houston and these guys are my body guards.
Because they were being accredited for high level personal protection, they had everything thrown at them. Or should I say everything thrown at the VIP. Their job was to protect me as I got shaken up on a grand tour of Melbourne.
An advance team secured each location prior to my arrival. Then my immediate security team had to deal with lots of different scenarios.
A guy tried to stab me with a screw driver on my morning walk in the park.
I was aggressively interviewed by reporters outside the Zoo.
At the Shrine of Remembrance a groups of school kids begged for my autograph and took ‘selfies’ with me as if I were Harry from One Direction.
I was slow clapped entering the National Sports Museum.
At the Tom Potter Centre my team ushered me through angry crowds who held up banners and yelled ‘Cam why won’t you legalise gay marriage?’
Then at the Exhibition Building, I was shot at with a cap gun by a girl who screamed ‘you said you loved me’. My security team took her out and shoved me in a get away car.
Some of the looks I was getting from the general public as this was all going on was pretty amusing.
While this was all just fun for me. These guys take their job very seriously and I must say it was very impressive to watch them in action.
Here are a few of the locations we visited.
MCG – I pictured myself playing in a Grand final as I walked from the rooms out onto the ground.
State Control Centre – I viewed the improvements that have been made and are still being made to state wide emergency coordination following the Royal commission.
A face peeling ride in a 9 metre zodiac pushed along by 2 x 350 supercharged Mercury motors.
National Gallery – Time for some culture Cam, with bomb threat included.
Etihad – Great tour but sorry I still prefer the history of the G.
So what does all this have to do with property?
My next stop!
For the first time ever I went to Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building.
A very polite lady by the name of Di spent a good half hour talking to me about the history of the gold fields and showing me the underground gold storage rooms. Now like most kids I’d heard all about the Eureka Stockade at primary school, so I rudely wasn’t listening.
Instead I was taking in the building itself. Di finally reached a point of frustration and asked me what was distracting me. I apologised and explained that while her story was very nice, I was more than impressed with the understated design of the building and that was the reason for my rudeness.
Bang. She loved me. We then spent the next hour, with my thirteen man security team waiting patiently (remember I’m the VIP), discussing a guy who is now my new hero.
When I’m old enough, I’m going to grow a beard like JJ.
JJ Clarke started in construction at the age of 14 years and at the ripe old age of 19 he designed Melbourne’s Old Treasury Building.
JJ Clarke has a very impressive list of other buildings to his name that he designed over his years. You’d be surprised at how familiar you are with many of them.
I want to sincerely thank the Vic Police for providing me with at this experience. But more importantly to me, I now have a new outlook at the town that like many others, I occasionally take for granted.
And cheers for my fancy certificate.