John Casey was born in 1923 and lived for the first few years in Gravesend, New South Wales. When he was seven the house burned down and the family lived in a bush camp before setting out for a new life in Newcastle. After minimal schooling, John left home at the age of twelve, taking the train alone to Sydney. After four years he left his job in a die-casting factory, joined the RAAF and was sent to war. He returned to Australia very ill with malaria and did not contact his family or his young wife, feeling that he had little to offer anyone and needed time to become mentally and physically fit again.
He returned to his job in the factory, where an accident ripped three fingers from his right hand. Shortly after this he worked in a hotel kitchen, the first of many such jobs that would take him the length and breadth of Australia. He became a cook, and wherever he went he was respected for his efficiency and skill. He always made his mark, but never stayed anywhere for too long. He became a cook/camp manager in the mines of Western Australia and worked in this tough, masculine environment for many years. John drank, gambled, played the horses and the dogs, and there were many women, but John’s fierce work ethic, integrity and capacity for getting the job done earned him respect throughout the industry.
He remarried in 1993, and after living in a small country town for several years, he and his wife Pauline bought a house in Perth, where they still live with their dog Gypsy.