Tom Stodulka – Life is a Dance
Tom was born in Bathurst, NSW in1951, in one of Australia’s post WWII refugee camps, a huge improvement on the UN Displaced Person’s Camp in Naples where his brother Andrea was born.
After some intense cross border encounters in Germany, Switzerland and Holland, his parents Zdeny and Philomena had fled Czechoslovakia in 1947 and were ordered to travel by train to Naples, where life was no picnic to say the least.
Tom’s formative years were spent in Parramatta and he was educated at the King’s School and North Sydney Boys High. In his prep years he struggled with his English essays and often his mother stepped in to help, despite her own challenges learning a new language. Being a contemporary of the author John Marsden helped to inspire Tom, years later, to try his hand at writing. He studied law at Sydney University, where he won an Australia Britain Society scholarship, which took him on an overseas study tour.
In 1976 he joined the Royal Australian Navy as a naval legal officer and served in most Australian States and in the United States during the 1990- 91 Gulf War, after a short stint in Pakistan. After 20 years in the Australian Military he established a full-time career as a mediator and facilitator, practicing throughout Australia, including the Northern Territory before settling in Brisbane in 2002.
An early pioneer of mediation and alternative dispute resolution and mentored by Sir Laurence Street, he has promoted its benefits both here in Australia and overseas. Tom is accredited internationally and in particular, in India, New Zealand, PNG and Hong Kong and has promoted mediation across Vietnam in recent years. In 2019 he received the Australasian Mediator of the Year award.
Tom’s father was a successful Sydney artist and Tom played a major role in the management and promotion of the cottage industry which contributed to helping pay the prohibitive school fees. The early exposure to the arts and artistic endeavour provided a strong and enduring legacy. Finally, in 1976 whilst at sea in the Pacific Ocean with the Navy he wrote his first poem and found a way to express his own artistic creativity.
Tom’s new book Life is a Dance will be available through Ocean Reeve Publishing and tomstodulkaauthor.com by mid-July. It will include a cross section of his Dad’s paintings.