Posted by Denbigh Richards with Gordon Cheyne
Denbigh Richards gave us a brief look into his career as a Social Worker and Public Servant, working over many years with children, youth and adult offenders.
Denbigh was brought up on a dairy farm in Gippsland, and was later educated at Box Hill High School and Melbourne University, where he acquired degrees in Social Studies and Arts.
In the sixties the public service in Victoria was expanding, and Denbigh was initially employed tending to the families of children in care. As Youth Training Centres developed, he was appointed to Malmsbury, where in his early twenties he had responsibility for an institution with one hundred young offenders.  During this period he acquired a Diploma in Criminology.
In the seventies the Department began to decentralize the management of its field services and Denbigh was appointed Regional Manager for the Barwon region.
He met and married Lorraine and later had the opportunity of further study at Ann Arbor in Michigan, gaining a Masters Degree in Social Work in 1980.
Appointed as Director of Community Corrections in the newly created Office of Corrections he oversaw the development of a statewide network of Community Corrections Centres. This period also saw the introduction of new legislation establishing more flexible Community Corrections Orders and introducing the Intensive Corrections Order as an alternative  to imprisonment that Courts could impose in appropriate cases. His Division also managed a Pre-release Program assisting prisoners to prepare for life after their release.  
After leaving the Public Service he worked for some months as a consultant to a firm bidding to manage private prisons, and soon after was appointed as head of the Tasmanian Corrections Service.. He felt that the system was overcrowded and antiquated prison facilities required rebuilding.  Problems in the system worsened after the shootings at Port Arthur. After he completed his contract and returned to Melbourne, he was engaged to assist in planning a new prison to replace Risdon.
Then on to a Disability Employment Service in Moorabbin, running three small businesses which provided employment for 70 people with disabilities. 
After retiring, he joined the Board of Foundation Boroondara, and was  Chairman at the time this became the Boroondara Cares Foundation. During this period Denbigh worked alongside Rotary for many years but jestingly described himself as “a reluctant Rotarian” as he did not commit to joining a Club at that time. He is very pleased to have now joined Hawthorn and expressed appreciation for the way in which he has been welcomed. In reflecting on his working life directions, he paid tribute to his inspirational father, who devoted many years to working with refugees. 
Probing questions from the audience revealed that Denbigh has a fine singing voice, having participated in choirs since his youth. Unfortunately, he supports the wrong football team.