Miscellaneous Ramblings by and about Myself - A.M. (Tony) Finnis

Who Am I ? - A Brief Profile

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, Australia (vintage 1934), I spent some of my early years in Melbourne, returning to Adelaide with my parents after the end of WWII.

After attending Christ Church College (Melbourne), Melbourne Grammar (prep), Rose Park Primary School (Adelaide) and Unley High School, I commenced employment with The Commonwealth Oil Refineries (now BP Ltd) as an Engineering Trainee and completed the first year of civil engineering at the University of Adelaide.
After marrying Margaret, we went to England where I commenced an aeronautical engineering course with the Bristol Aeroplane Company.  Returning to Adelaide in 1956 due to ill health, I gained employment in the Mechanical Engineering Section of what was then The Architect-in-Chief's Department of the S.A. State Public Service.  I remained in the Public Service for the rest of my working life, finally retiring from the position of Manager-Technical Services, Engineering Services Office of SACON in 1992.

After our four children left home, Margaret and I decided that we would retire somewhere in the Adelaide Hills region.  We finally settled in Hahndorf in 1997 and intend to remain in this desirable location for the remainder of our lives.  Having been immensely proud of our children's achievements, we now take considerable interest in the efforts of our seven grandchildren who are now grown up and have their own families.  (We now have five great grandchildren which has increased our family pride to a considerable extent).  Unfortunately, my wife Margaret, passed away in December 2022 and after many happy years I now miss her greatly.

If for any reason you wish to contact me, please —
phone: (08) 8388 1825, or preferably email: tonyfinnis34@gmail.com

Past and Present Interests


I have carried out certain research into the names FINNIS, FINNISS, FERRIER, DAVIS and SPEED.  This information is accessible from the GeneaNet Website.  My main area of genealogical interest is the ancestors and descendants of Captain John FINNIS (1802-1872), my great grandfather.  He was a master mariner, overlander and pastoral pioneer, and was one of the three partners who originally owned the land on which Mount Barker and Hahndorf were established.  If you have any information regarding the above, I would be very grateful to receive it.


My youngest son Mark, introduced me to computers about 1978/9 which was before IBM 'invented' the PC.  I have 'played' with personal computers ever since.  My first computer was a 'Dick Smith System 80' (a Tandy TRS80 clone) which had an audio cassette tape as a data storage device.  After considerable software and hardware modifications, and much enjoyment, this unit finally wore out and was sold at a church fete at an enormous $$ loss.  Ever since then I have been involved with computers, mainly on a hobby basis, normally upgrading and/or constructing computers from selected components as required.  I joined the S.A. region of APANA (Australian Public Access Network Association) to relate with other hobbyists and to learn more about networking, having previously been involved with a Tandy TRS80 club.  I originally used DOS and then various versions of MS Windows, but eventually 'saw the light' and started using Linux as an operating system starting with Red Hat v5.2, then Mandrake (now Mandriva), and now I am solely using Ubuntu Linux on all my computers.


After a number of years of interest in black and white photography,  I then experimented with early photographic processes for some time until I finally realised just how dangerous the chemicals I was using actually were.  Now I just dabble with digital photography which suits my current purposes.


I have been interested in electrical and electronic projects since an early age.  Some years ago a small group of us designed and manufactured HiFi speakers which we marketed with some degree of success.  Mark and I also designed and constructed pre-amplifiers and amplifiers, which he still has an interest.  My aging eye-sight has limited my endevours in this regard for some years now.

Wood Turning

Currently, I am attempting wood-turning purely on a hobby basis.  I find this to be particularly enjoyable and relaxing even though my results aren't particulary 'professional'.  Nothing like turning a piece of wood into chips.  I have since had to cease this pastime due to my diminished eyesight and reduced co-ordination.

Lawn Bowls

In my early years I played tennis, cricket (attempted football & golf - no good!), and sailing.
In 1980, I commenced playing lawn bowls at the Broadview Bowling Club where I had reasonable success being fortunate in winning both the singles and pairs championships of the Club.  Transferring to the Payneham Bowling Club in 1993, I had a most satisfying time at that club in a competitive atmosphere. After moving to Hahndorf to live in 1997, I then joined the Hahndorf Bowling Club, which I thoroughly enjoy being a small hills club with a close knit and friendly membership.
The Hahndorf Bowling Club has teams in the Saturday and Mid-Week competitions of the Hills Association pennant competitions.  Playing in the Hills competition has suited me as any high level of dedication and competitive skill level that I may have had has long since disappeared.  Absolute enjoyment in a friendly but reasonably competitive atmosphere is now the name of the game as far as I am concerned.

Local Interests

I am a member of the following organisations:

  • The Hahndorf Academy Foundation Inc.
  • The Hahndorf branch of the National Trust of South Australia
  • The Hahndorf Community Association Inc.
  • The Mt Barker & District Residents' Association Inc.

I take a particular interest in general community matters including historical and heritage aspects of the townships of Hahndorf and Mount Barker, plus the Adelaide Hills region in general.

HahnWiki / BarkerWiki / LocalWiki

The HahnWiki was originally initiated by myself using my own equipment on a trial basis from July 2005 for about 6 months as a result of approaches by some local organisations and individuals including John Storey and Peter Hine to evaluate a suitable non-commercial community based Internet presence for Hahndorf.  After extending the trial period a further 6 months to the end of June 2006, it was considered that the degree and extent of support within the community was such that HahnWiki could be operated on a permanent basis.  It was then placed under the auspices of The Hahndorf Community Association which in October 2006 enabled a much appreciated grant to be obtained from the District Council of Mt Barker for the purchase of a new server to replace the temporary equipment then in use.

Towards the end of March 2009, it was decided to transfer HahnWiki from using its own server and become part of the Wiki Spot Project, a non-profit, member supported effort to enable community wiki sites to be created and maintained.  This was done with HahnWiki administered by myself using the 'hahndorf.wikispot.org' and 'www.hahndorf.org.au' domain names.

Due to the subsequent development of the LocalWiki Project (a project to develop a program specifically for Community based websites originated as a result of a US$350,000 grant obtained by the WikiSpot developers), as from 1 September 2012 it was decided to expand the scope of HahnWiki and incoporate it within the new BarkerWiki site.  12 months was allowed for this to be completed prior to the new BarkerWiki being officially launched.

The LocalWiki project was successfulI in obtaining a further US$200,000 grant and as a result in August 2013, BarkerWiki was invited to be one of several pilot sites for a new word-wide Localwiki Hub project.  This resulted in BarkerWiki being further extended in scope and the Adelaide Hills LocalWiki project was subsequently initiated and is currently and continually being developed.