Father’s Day: The tale of Tim, Bugsy & Bobby Ross



“Dad is an extrovert and a natural performer. I loved watching him perform when I was a kid. He was always doing shows with local theatre groups,” says Australian comedian, radio host, television presenter and mid-century homes aficionado Tim Ross. He grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne surrounded by bush with his two brothers. His father was a chemist and later went on to become an antiques dealer. His mother was a doctor and was instrumental in setting up the first all female practice in their area...

“Mum was always busy when we were kids but she always had time for us and somehow managed to balance it all. She was incredible,” says Ross. More than anything, he remembers a childhood filled with lots of laughter and lots of hugs. “Dad was always warm and tactile when we were growing up and my uncle Jim always credits him with bringing the hugs to the family. We take it for granted that we’re all total huggy bears these days, but my parents’ generation grew up with conservative parents who didn’t always show a lot of affection.”

Ross is based in Sydney, where he lives with his wife Michelle and two boys (Bugsy, 5, and Bobby, 2) in a beautifully restored mid-century home, which he purchased back in 2005. Designed by their friend Bill Baker, the house was originally built in 1959 for the Atherton family. Ross is deeply passionate about Modernist design and for the last four years, he has been performing in architecturally significant houses and buildings both here and abroad as part of his ‘Man About The House’ show.

“It’s a comedy show with music, which I perform with my best mate Kit Warhurst. It’s a mixture of storytelling and song where we roll around in great design and let people experience great architecture in a completely different way. I’ve always loved design and I’ve especially been a nutty Modernist since I was a kid. I’ve been fascinated by the houses of the 1950s and 60s for as long as I can remember.” As well as these shows, Ross now writes and talks about design and has just done a series on Australian architecture for the ABC called Streets of Your Town.

Ahead of Father’s Day, we caught up with the hilarious and insightful Ross to talk about how fatherhood has changed his life, his love of architecture and memories of his childhood…

Photography: Julie AdamsGrooming: Sarina ZoeVideo: Howling Content | Go to www.timross.com.au


Tim wears Trenery shirt, $119, and Trenery jeans, $129. Bobby and Bugsy wear Country Road shirts and shorts. 


I grew up on the Mornington Peninsula in Melbourne…

We had a bush block on what was then the outer suburbs of the city. We had space and freedom and we grew up riding our bikes, making billy carts and building forts in the bush. My two brothers and I were obsessed with sport, particularly cricket and when we weren’t watching it over summer we would be playing it endlessly out the back with a tennis ball covered with electrical tape.


I remember making people laugh as a child but no more than my brothers…

I enjoyed performing more than being the traditional class clown. In primary school whenever there was an opportunity to put on a play I was the nerd who was there will bells on.


My mum has committed herself to looking after others both professionally and personally…

We grew up with a strong sense of social justice and that is very much something with me today. Mum is a feminist and because of this, we developed a great understanding of gender equality growing up. Mum is a retired doctor and she ran the first all female practice in our area. She was instrumental in setting up the first women’s refuges at a time when domestic violence was prevalent but often swept under the carpet. Mum was the visiting GP for these women and they had to keep moving the refuge because the men would find out where they were and try and drag their wives home.


L-R: An old photo of Tim’s father. Tim as a child with his family


I gained my interest in history from Dad...

He was always fascinated by the stories of why things occurred and where they come from. He hasn’t stopped trying to gain knowledge.


Both my parents have a good sense of humour and Dad is certainly the 'joker' of the family…

Much of my early ‘funny’ came from being in a school environment where putdowns were the norm and your wit was your greatest asset. When I was at university studying drama, I realised that I enjoyed the funny more than the serious side of acting and that led me to standup comedy.


I am very much a homebody…

With two young boys, what else are we going to do. I work from home which is challenging at times with the boys but I love their energy and there’s something beautiful about them being under your feet. They are a much more fulfilling distraction from work than Facebook.


My favourite room in our home is our bedroom…

I write in our bedroom, I watch Netflix in bed and I roll around with the boys in bed.


Apart from putting up a gate to stop the kids rolling down the stairs and bringing in some kid furniture we haven’t changed our home much since having children...

Some pottery and sculptures got moved up high for a while and a few things took a tumble but we’ve mostly let the world take its course and run the gauntlet with the boys. A lot of the old furniture in the house is bullet proof and has been able to take a hit or two.


I didn’t really feel useful or that I had true purpose until I became a Dad…

Being a parent is everything to me. I know it sounds like a bag of clichés but it is so rewarding and fulfilling – it really is the point of life.


I love travelling with my kids...

Travelling pulls us together as a family unit. It doesn’t matter whether we are going to Venice or Dubbo, any time when we all bed down in the same room is special time.


The last time my kids really made me laugh?

Kids running around nude in a Storm Trooper mask gets me everytime.


My secrets for a strong marriage after children are…

Only you know what’s best for your relationship but I think compromise and communication are essential.


When it comes to my greatest career highlights…

I’m incredibly proud of Streets Of Your Town, it is the series I’ve always wanted to make and I can’t wait to see it. Man About the House just had a run at the London Festival of Architecture and we had standing ovations and rave reviews so that is up there as well.


Success means…

The freedom to work on my own projects and to be my own boss.


When it comes to the qualities I want to foster in our sons…

More than anything I need my two good looking roosters to grow up respecting women.


In our household the cooking is my domain…

My Mum taught me to cook and it’s my favourite release. I wouldn’t cook for a living but I’d happily cook a feast for anyone who wants it every weekend.


I’m sporadic when it comes to buying clothes…

These days I try and buy the best things I can and hope they last. I enjoy fashion but I’m too scruffy to pull it off as well as I’d like. The older I get the more I realise that grooming and being well dressed is your friend.


I’ll be spending Father’s Day…

How I’m told to.


For Father’s Day I’d love…

Aftershave.


The funniest moment of fatherhood was when…

I may have thrown a turd filled pair of Spiderman undies into the bushes in the park once (and no, they weren’t mine).


Tim’s little list of loves:

I love rolling around on the grass with my boys.
I love drinking red wine with Michelle by our fire outside while we listen to the Last Waltz.
I love cooking for friends.
I love singing songs with my best mate Kit.
I love walking into a well designed house and letting it wash over you and it stay with you for days like a great movie.
I love listening to music that I have loved for years.
I love talking to my Mum on the phone.


SHOP THE STORY

COMMENTS

Comments

comments