Mal, now 75, lives with his wife Jenny in Hobart, Tasmania, having retired in 2009 from the movement he founded back in the 60’s . He is working on several books – the first written for “not yet” believers, about the human spirit referred to in the ancient book of Job – “It’s the breath of God in a man, the spirit in a man that gives life.”
Mal and Jenny have 2 sons and 2 daughters, all married, with one family living here in Tasmania, one in Canada, one in U.K. and one in Jamaica. All are working in different ways and different situations, to make faith accessible to others. They also have 11 delightful grandchildren.
50 years ago Mal founded what is now known around the world as Fusion International , initially Teen Crusaders (T,Cs), a Christian based youth and community movement. Beginning in the northern suburbs of Sydney, it’s legacy continues in parts of Australia and has spread to Canada, U.K., Jamaica, Albania, Indonesia, China, Ghana, Greece, Germany, and more.
MAL – A SHORT TIME LINE
• Good Friday 60 years ago for 15 year old Mal (definitely a non-church goer) a dramatic entry into the Christian faith at a Sydney City Mission camp.
• This dramatic conversion that happened to him as a wild child in his mid- teens was so profound he wanted others to have the chance to get a spiritual rudder on their lives. Though still more than a little rough around the edges , within 3 years he began Teen Crusaders in response to the difficulty he and his mates were having in connecting and identifying with any church denomination.
• After he completed his apprenticeship in precious metal jewellery manufacturing (which included three years at the National Art School East Sydney doing designing and modelling), Mal began his own small business making hand crafted precious metal jewellery in Coronation Street Hornsby. This gave the opportunity to relate to kids l he’d been like who came to watch him making jewellery in his first floor workshop.
• He enjoyed immensely 25 years of teaching Scripture classes. He was usually given the GA classes ( general activities). They were for kids who had given up on school many of whom ended up sitting next to him in his workshop, while he taught them to work with copper. School principals knew with Mal they were in safe hands.
• Mal, joined by a bunch of mates – first running a kids holiday club in his mum’s back yard – was soon swamped with kids dropping in or a chat – the need for more and more space meant Mal expanded his tiny one room work shop o the whole top floor of the Attic (one of the first known drop in centres in Sydney. The young team was commended by professionals in the adolescent mental health field because they were getting remarkable results, where professionals were, at the time, failing. A psychiatric nurse gave Mal some reading material and encouraged him saying, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, they won’t end up with us.”
• Monthly day trips began at Fusion’s property at Ourimbah, north of Gosford. The youth work exploded with around 3 bus loads regularly coming to day trips – no advertising necessary! To manage the large numbers, young people were trained to counsel and care for other young people.( Mal felt the need of further training, which led him to his next step In 1963-64)
• Mal completed a 2 year diploma course at Emmaus Bible School and, aware of so many new young Christians without church backgrounds, he set up of the Commando course (now Foundations Course) with a special mix of practical theology, of values orientation, basic psychology, and sociological skills. Part of Mal’s training was at a Group Life Laboratory training at Morpheth, where he was sponsored and ultimately mentored by the Rev Stan Eldred a Presbyterian clergyman with an MA in psychology and sociology.
• He set up a training course one day a week for a growing team of young workers and young religious instruction teachers, many of whom were University students who enjoyed the practical side of the training. Highly skilled adolescent therapist’s, theologians and philosophers were brought in to train the team in continental schools of thought, and senior school teachers participated the training.
• To support the development of a network of six drop-in centres that had been set up around Sydney – Mosman, Crow’s Nest, Chatswood, Tempe, Forestville and Fairfield West, training and development was provided. Each centre was run and managed by locally trained teams.
• Basic Training eventually became Certificate 4, and for around 20 years, a 6 month residential course, that saw hundreds attend part of full time in the communities of Kilmany and Poatina. Many around the world continue to reach their communities with the message of faith.
• Currently called Foundations, the basic course for new Christians designed in the 60’s continues to be taught today, here and overseas.
• For more than a decade – from the late 60’s through the 70’s teams from around Sydney centres converged on the Bathurst Motor Bike races at Easter time, and put on one of the wildest of all drop-in centres called “The Den.” It attracted vast numbers including many from the outlaw bikie groups like the Hells Angels etc. It was a great training ground for youth workers!
• Radio broadcaster since 1968 with award-winning syndicated segment the Breakthrough Generation. At its peak it was on every major market in Australia with an audience of 1½ to 2,000,000, and continued on air for more than 40 years. Mal has had a broad range of broadcasting experiences, including a talk show on three 3TR Sale, late evening talk-show “Night Side”on 3AK Melbourne and the Sunday night talk show “The Conversation of the Nation” that was broadcast over a national community station network.
• For more than 45 years he has been a public speaker for government groups, businesses institutions and schools.
• In 1979 Mal helped with the establishment of Sydney’s Christian FM radio station, and designed the phone counselling service called People Who Care, and also developed the “Capt Midnight Show,” the first of its type on FM radio Australia.
• In 1979 Australian evangelist Brian Willersdorf asked Mal to put a strategy together for the reaching of Australia, and at three am one morning he leapt out of bed startling his wife Jenny. The shape and form of how it could work had come to him. This was developed over that year, the framework of which was delivered at the packed Gabba cricket ground in Brisbane. In 1980 Fusion invited Mal back to be the keynote speaker for their conference in Burnie Tasmania, and to share the same strategy. He did this, along with the philosophy of the education that shaped Fusion’s for almost the next 30 years – particularly the course called Certificate Four.
• He was, on occasions, a human resource development consultant for various Corporations eg. Telstra, British Petroleum and Beaurepaire. “In my opinion, Mal is the most effective trainer I have ever experienced first -hand.” – Training manager at Beaurepaire.
• He was one of the leading organisers and designers of the Canberra gathering in 1988, where 50,000 Christians from all over Australia converged on new Parliament house to open in prayer.( the largest prayer meeting, in Australia’s history and the forerunner of the Parliamentary prayer breakfast held every year in the great hall in Parliament house Canberra.)
• In 1993 Mal was asked to be National Coordinator of AD2000, which became a sister movement of the “Aussie Awakening.” It was Aussie Awakening that, in an unprecedented way brought all the mainline churches together to reach out to their communities to celebrate Easter in a way welcoming to non-church people, and to celebrate Christmas with Advent pageants led by children of all backgrounds and educational systems. It has been calculated one out of five Australians have been touched significantly by the Aussie awakening.
• Out of this emerged the Australian part of the “Global March for Jesus” which in 1994 saw 250,000 Australians of all denominational backgrounds participating, with 50,000 in front of the Sydney Opera house alone.
• In 1995, Mal took a significant lead in the purchase and development of the Poatina village, enterprise. A beautiful hydro-town became a resort village with a special purpose of caring for young people at risk. In this setting Fusion offered training in youth and community work for those who want to help young people at risk.
• In 1999 Mal received an AM award for his life’s work, and particularly for the design of Fusion’s training, particularly for the course called the Certificate Four in Youth and Community Work (Christian) that he’d designed back in 1979.
• For more than 40 years Mal was a counsellor/therapist specialising in Gestalt and script analysis, working particularly with schizophrenic young people. He also worked as a consultant in structural change and counselling with Youth and Community Services in New South Wales, and was also employed to train indigenous Case workers for work among their own people.
• Mal has written 3 books, “Us Aussies – the fascinating history they didn’t teach you at school.”
“Breakthrough – a collection of radio scripts from a period of 30 years.”
“Divine Art of Networking “ – a look at the positive and negative structures that we develop around ourselves. ( it is also published in German. He has two more books – Elihu’s Key and Life it’s Worth Thinking About (a collection of radio spots with the addition of a prayer and a Bible verse for each one – almost ready to go.
Finally, here are a few comments he was surprised to receive – along with some 700 others – for his wedding anniversary and 75th Birthday November 2016:-
(he’d not seen some of these people for 50 years or more)
* “You didn’t mention all the little Commando children (ie, later Theodynamics and eventually the Foundations Course) you trained over the years, including me. Congratulation to our spiritual parents on your anniversary. Happy Memories!”
* “Happy Birthday Mal. – I value your spirit input into my teenage years. Thank you for the blessing you have been to me and so many others.”
* “Happy Birthday – you have changed my life completely my friend.”
* “Bless you and thank you for accepting God’s call and touching thousands and thousands of people.”
* “You sure have made an impact in hundreds of lives, Mal! A huge impact 51 years ago when I first met you on Teen Trip!”
* “Your input into our lives back in the 60’s has been real & impacting as well as lasting. I remember the teen trips as a 13 year old with great fondness. I still have all the notes that you taught me in that little church hall @ Mt Kuringai. God is good & greatly to be praised, serving Him is a privilege.
• School teacher in Tasmania.
• Began work with Teen Crusaders Hornsby, New South Wales in 1969. Later that year she and Mal were married.
• Secretarial work , typing of radio scripts and work with young people in The Attic, the Hornsby Drop In Centre.
• At home with 4 children, sharing work through hospitality, including team of 14 scripture teachers each week, writing of weekly Team newssheet, and ladies’ Bible study and support group.
• 1983 she began Fusion’s prayer network called Prayer Grid which has since been distributed weekly to Fusion workers around the world. A list of current prayer needs was always preceded by a weekly devotion which is now shared in Faith Boosters. Jenny worked with the Fusion movement in discovering more about prayer and fasting.
• From 1995 to 2009 was senior manager at Poatina Village.