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Portrait of an Editor: John van Tiggelen (English) - Immigrant

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Immigrant

Van Tiggelen was born in Tilburg as Johannes Adrianus van Tiggelen, son of the late Cees van Tiggelen and Agnes Calon.   Cees had studied medicine and had specialised in psycho-geriatrics. He was headhunted to Australia, because of a shortage of such skills here. The family emigrated to Australia in 1975. John, then 8, was still at primary school and had to learn English rather suddenly  to be able to go to school here, a  difficult but exciting undertaking that all migrant children experience.   However, from  1980-83 the family  moved back again to the Netherlands, where John enjoyed education  in Dutch again at the Atheneum in Vught, a small town in Noord Brabant, which was known for its former concentration camp  in the Second  World War. Without much doubt  John was the star of the class when it came to English and that he then developed a taste for writing prose in English.
Van Tiggelen told me that he “wanted to become a journalist, way back” and that writing was an early hobby.  Back in Australia, however, he first studied medicine for three and a half years at Monash University. After that he moved to North Queensland to become, amongst other things, a tourist guide in the Daintree Rainforest  National Park and began to appreciate the wilderness, ecology and the landscape there. His attention was also drawn to the Great Barrier Reef which lies out at sea there.
“I was then a bit of a hippy,” said John.  In the Netherlands he had already been interested in bird watching. Finally, he  successfully completed a course in  journalism   receiving a Graduate Diploma in Journalism from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, thus launching his  journalistic career.