A Holy Metamorphosis for former premier

Could it be called a Holy metamorphosis when former South Australian premier, Lynn Arnold was ordained an Anglican priest earlier this month.

He,  who presided over SA Cabinet ministers from September 1992 to December 1993, will preside over a parish and minister to the spiritual needs of his flock as the Reverend Lynn Arnold.

His ordination as a deacon last year was an important first step, but it was at a grand ceremony at St Peter’s Cathedral where he was ordained as a priest.  Mr Arnold is now authorised to perform all the sacraments of the church. These include conducting baptisms, Holy Communion, pronouncing God’s forgiveness after confession and giving the Benediction.

It is a bold step for someone who – at 65 – is at the age of retirement. However, he left his job as chief executive officer of Anglicare in early 2012 in answer to a strong “call’’ to take up theological studies. He says “nothing can be more relevant to this life than a faith that understands eternity’’.


My sister Anne and her husband, Ken Otto, the managing director of Otto and Co., recently starred in a great double-page spread in the Sunday Mail’s Insight section.

The striking heading “The Otto Men – Empire”” told the story of the multi-generational timber merchants, now run by founder Ben Otto’s third-generation grandson Ken.

The business today is behind a group of shops at Magill Road, off Ann Street, Stepney and the original Otto and Co Timber Company sign, still stands atop the buildings.

When my sister was only 16 she began working at the original hardware store  as an junior clerk and went to work in the building which now forms one wall of the courtyard of Friends of Louis coffee shop. She married the boss’s son four years later in 1980.

Today, Anne is the general manager of Otto’s Timber, Joinery and Hardware, and their sons, my nephews, Jason and Nathan, are also in the business.

There was a little mistake in the story – Ken began working at the age of 12, “cleaning bricks day after day’’ for 20 cents an hour pocket-money, not as reported as his “wage’’ at age 21.

I have been blessed to have such a talented brother-in-law. For one of my big birthdays, he crafted a spiral hallstand of Nyatoh, a rare South African timber. I spied another big “gift’’ while enjoying that sweet smell of sawdust in the Mill. There was a handsome Jarrah kitchen top propped up in a forgotten corner.  With another birthday approaching, the 2.7 metre piece of timber, became the hearth in our new home.  Ken’s handiwork can also be admired at the Port Dock Hotel, where he designed and crafted the magnificent bar in the shape of a boat.

However, there is another  misdeed – the headline of the article – which I want to correct.  The Otto Empire today has been a partnership between sister Anne and Ken, their marriage and their business relationship. Anne has worked very hard in the business as well as raising the sons and daughters. So, their success is “The Otto Men’’, as the headline stated, but also a powerful woman – my sister –  who, after more than 30 years’ involvement –  also steers the good timber ship Otto into the future.





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