WARREN R RODWELL : In-Depth Personal Interview

WARREN RODWELL In-Depth Personal Interview : by Lannah Sawers-Diggins​ (WR : International Adventurer / Hostage Survivor / Speaker / Songwriter

1-WR glasses hand www

  1. Please tell us a little bit about your childhood, your background;
  2. You have led an amazing life to date, including being held captive for 472 days. Please tell us something about this;
  3. How exactly did this come about?
  4. Because of this nightmare, you have been extensively interviewed in Australia, the USA,the UK, Europe, The Middle East and Asia. Has this been through all forms of media? Can you please tell us a little bit about this?
  5. And the Government now will not compensate you. What is their reasoning for this?
  6. You also have many other skills. What exactly are they?
  7. You are also a songwriter for the group ‘Mad Cowboy Disease’. How long have you been doing this for? Do you write all the songs for the group? Do you also sing and/or play an instrument?
  8. You have many other interests as well. What do you enjoy doing in your ‘spare’ time?
  9. You have also amassed numerous awards. Please tell us about that;
  10. What are your short and long term goals for the future?
  11. Is there anything further you would like to add to this to share with the world?


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  1. Please tell us a little bit about your childhood, your background;

I am a W.A.S.P. (White Anglo Saxon Protestant), born on 16th June 1958 at Inglemere Private Hospital in Homebush, a suburb of Sydney, famous these days for the Olympic stadium. My mother often claimed, in all seriousness, that my father (deceased 1990) never paid the hospital bill. 

My ancestry is British, with the first of my namesake forebears being transported in 1838 from Salisbury, Wiltshire, England at the age of 19 to Hobart, Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) for stealing five silk handkerchiefs. After emancipation, David Rodwell and his young family (including my great, great grandfather David Cornelius Rodwell) followed the gold rush to Victoria. 

In the early 20th Century, David’s grandson (my great grandfather Samuel Richard Rodwell) pursued the lure of gold in western New South Wales, where he subsequently coughed himself to death through years of labouring in coal mines and a cement works. His son (my grandfather Stephen David Cornelius Rodwell) and bride, along with their three primary school age children (including my father, David Richard Rodwell, who later became a bricklayer), moved to Sydney during the Depression years. At the start of World War II. Stephen enlisted in the Australian Army. However, his marriage did not survive afterwards.

3 Ellen Rodwell - mother

My mother, Ellen Scott, had served in the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during WWII. Her family and free settler English/ (paternal) Scottish grandparents hailed from the New England region of northern NSW. Ellen’s father and grandfather were government railway employees during both world wars. My parents were keen dancers. This is how they met in the early 1950s in Sydney.

I have an older brother and sister, with whom I have intentionally maintained relatively close and continuous contact with over the years. Our mother suffered with serious physical and mental health problems. She split up with our father and firstly placed us in St Christopher’s (Church of England) Home for Little Children, Taree NSW when I was 18 months old. Most of my formative years were in institutional Protestant care. There has been media mention in recent years that I was a ward of the state. This is not correct.

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We were placed voluntarily in church care due to family circumstances, ill health and poverty. In fact, the official title given to children of that era/scenario is “The Forgotten Australians” (FA). A national apology to some 500,000 FA’s (including voluntary placements, state wards and British child migrants) was given by the then Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd and Federal Opposition leader, Malcolm Turnbull, on 16th November 2009.

On 23rd May 1965 (approximately three weeks before my seventh birthday), Ellen Rodwell (nee Scott) managed to get us out of Burnside Presbyterian Children’s Homes in North Parramatta (Sydney) once she was able to secure a centrally located two bedroom State Housing Commission flat in her hometown of Tamworth NSW and an invalid pension. Two pounds (four dollars) was all she had in the first month. There were no supporting parent benefits or community support programmes at that time.

Coincidentally, Ellen Rodwell died (at age 55) 16 years later on the same day – 23rd May. The causes of death were recorded as: i) acute heart failure (days); ii) emphysema (years); iii) ulcers (years) and iv) malnutrition (years). Her demise can only be regarded as nothing less than a merciful release. The inscription I created for her cemetery plaque reads, “The suffering is over, but the pain lives on for those who remember our ever-loving mother”.

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Tamworth West Public School was diagonally across the road from us. Classroom learning and after hours study captured my young imagination and suited the quiet home environment my sick mother required. A few years earlier, at the age of four in church homes, it was noticed that I had not started speaking. Apparently, my speech was undeveloped. My siblings and I were in different age groups and church homes and I didn’t really have anyone to talk to anyway. I attended speech therapy whilst in third and fourth grades, absorbing myself in as much formal education as I could. Here was a field of endeavour, in which I was free to research, ask questions and explore to my heart’s content.

For most subjects, I was placed in classes two years ahead of my age. By the end of primary, I was school dux and vice-captain making public speeches (on auspicious occasions, such as ANZAC Day and Easter), as well as a recipient of a bursary for the first four years of high school.

Swimming (and sunbaking) at the town public baths was my preferred sport/pastime during summer. Any coastal vacations were relished. Playing and tackling as a rugby league second rower during winter, provided me with camaraderie and some useful strategic skills and attitudes for life. We did not have a family car, so the main modes of transport available were walking or bike riding. My older brother introduced me to cycling as an interest and sport.

By the age of 12, all seemed stable, even dandy, until my mother’s health deteriorated further. She suffered greatly through intense bouts of loneliness and depression, accompanied by a nasty addiction to prescribed medication. My siblings had already left school and home, and were working.

For the first six months of high school, I was placed in the notorious Salvation Army Gill Memorial Home for Boys in Goulburn NSW. Even though the privileges of being No. 1 or head boy were extended to me, I absconded and returned to what I regarded as my hometown, attending Tamworth High School. Over the years since then, the city of Tamworth has become known as the “Country Music Capital of Australia”.

After leaving school, I gained employment with the NSW Railways, completed relevant specialized studies, performed platform and clerical duties in the telegraph/parcels/booking offices and goods shed on the mid north coast, before relocating to the metropolitan network in Sydney. A few months prior to turning 20, I voluntarily enlisted in the Australian Regular Army. This was during peace time.

My mathematical/analytical abilities saw me initially allocated to the Royal Australian Survey Corps (map making). I later transferred to the Royal Australian Engineers corps and trained as what is now referred to as a combat engineer (roads, bridges, airfields, trenches, water supply, booby traps, minefields, explosives, firefighting and first aid). With the rank of sapper; ingenuity, resourcefulness and improvisation were the signature key characteristics.

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Upon discharge from the military, my sights were focused on gaining formal tertiary qualifications and hands-on managerial experience in business (finance, property, conveyancing and insurance). As I successfully climbed the corporate ladder, I realized that I did not possess any excessive levels of greed. My conscience steered me away from the commercial world into personal counselling roles, particularly those burdened with monetary concerns, much the same as my own mother, who had spent hours alone crying at night over the kitchen table.

My first wife was from a different part of Australia to me. We met in Brisbane. Our three children (two sons and one daughter) are now adults leading their own independent lives elsewhere.


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At the turn of this century, I reassessed and reinvented myself by studying computers (hardware, software, internetworking, website design), thinking such skills would assist when moving abroad as an expatriate. There is no doubt that computer technology has played a significant role for me since hand.

Travel always appealed to me. Apart from broadening the mind, I felt that moving away from Australia and living as an expatriate for an extended period would allow me to better understand myself, the world and others. I had already circled the globe once, so I wasn’t venturing into the total unknown.

At the age of 44, I challenged myself with climatic, linguistic and cultural shock by accepting an English teaching role in socially isolated provincial northern China. You could say that I did the hard strokes and paid my vocational dues there. The next natural step was to do formal training in Thailand the following year in teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL). I returned to mainland China afterwards via India, Nepal and Tibet.

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Better familiarizing myself with the demographics of the People’s Republic, I accepted full time government university teaching jobs in preferred locations. The language departments/faculties taught business, culture, linguistics and literature. Business communication and culture were always my favourites, but I was also introduced to journalism by being given it as a subject to teach for a couple of semesters. Please bear in mind that my students were often post graduates (aged 22 -30) proficient in English as a second language.

 Chinese professors shared my philosophy that the purpose of education is to produce enlightened minds. Academia suited me well. Vacation breaks were frequent and lengthy, so I was able to travel extensively, domestically and worldwide. To date, I have been to fifty countries in Asia, Europe, Oceania, South America, the Middle East, and United Kingdom.

Extra curriculum opportunities were often presented to me when contact was made from within and outside the universities that I was associated with. These included judging and compering national English speaking, singing and acting contests; attending official banquets and conferences; writing/editing for newspapers and magazines; involvement as an honorary envoy for the local state association for friendship with foreign countries; collaborating with the production, promotion and distribution of a hardcover publication of a book designed as a comprehensive guide to the culture of Sichuan province in the southwest of China; as well as doing interviews for radio, television and printed media.

Separately, military history intrigued me, so my travels also included Changi Prison and The Battle Box in Singapore; The River Kwai and Death Railway in Thailand; The Killing Fields in Cambodia; The War Museum in Vietnam, The International Peace Centre in Japan and Auschwitz Extermination Camp in Poland.

Having been raised in church homes, and being part of a generation that considered Sunday School to be beneficial and normal, I have been able to travel, work, live and interact in societies with different and mixed religious perspectives (Agnostic, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, and Judaism). My most significant voluntary stints to date include teaching English at a Buddhist University in Myanmar (Burma) to monks and local laypeople, plus participation in an education development programme in South America through the United Nations.

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In 2009–2010 (aged 51), I returned to Australia for the best part of a year with the intention of completing a course in peace building for the troubled small nations of the Pacific Islands and South East Asia. Dates did not coincide and course structures appeared to have changed. Alternatively, I enrolled in a Christian counselling course at an evangelical college, which was once one of the children’s church homes I had lived in almost half a century earlier. I determined that if counselling fell between the two stools of psychology and theology, then my own personal leaning would be towards humanitarianism. I subsequently did an external Diploma of Community Services (Financial Counselling) over the span of eighteen months through another education provider. However, government funding cuts drastically affected the (NGOs) non-government organizations providing such service to the general public.

An interest in anthropology had developed within me over the years of living in the world at large. Human migration patterns and cultural influences became more obvious. The latter part of 2010, I commenced teaching English at a medical college in the province of Inner Mongolia, northern China. Figuratively speaking, the world had turned by the start of 2011, and I was at a stage of life contemplating my future. Well, at least for the next five to ten years.

Before departing South America in 2009, I had been learning Spanish. I did Latin in high school, so reading Romance languages was not really of concern. The quiet stage of learning another language was passing. I had begun thinking in Spanish, but I wasn’t ready then to totally leave the English-speaking world. Allowing for seasons, a flight valid for one year was booked from Shanghai to the United Kingdom as a gateway to South America. With spare time up my sleeve, I visited South Korea and the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The northern winter had been long and I craved some warmth. My life changed completely when I next travelled to The Philippines.


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Continued … http://bullseye-bullying.blogspot.com.au/2016/01/warren-rodwell-hostage-survivor-1.html


Warren Rodwell On Effective Negotiation, Communication And Compromise

Episode 40 – Warren Rodwell On Effective Negotiation, Communication And Compromise

One Can Only Hope That This Never Happens To You …

Warren Rodwell

Think back to a time in your business where things were going really bad and your whole business “life” banked on the success of a discussion you had with another person.

Now – what if that same discussion could literally mean the difference between life and death?

You read about bad things happening to people all the time – and you listen to it from the comfort of your home on the evening news – but in this episode of BookPals Business Sanity you’ll meet someone who – by no fault of his own – gained the unenviable honour of being the longest held Australian captive outside of war, because today you meet Warren Rodwell of WarrenRodwell.com.

BookPals Banner

This discussion brings home the stark reality of what can happen if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, but also provides you with business “gems” because it highlights the importance of effective negotiation, communication and compromise – even in the most dire of circumstances.


Warren Rodwell


GALLERY : Warren Rodwell 2015

Click for Warren Rodwell website http://warrenrodwell.com/welcome-home/

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The People You Meet When You Least Expect It

The People You Meet When You Least Expect It

BookPals Podcast Cover

It will never cease to amaze me on how the Internet allows us to connect with people that we would never imagine we would meet.  Let me give you an example – a couple of months ago I connected with a guy on LinkedIn called Warren Rodwell.

When we first connected my interest was quite piqued because Warren’s LinkedIn bio stated that he was an “International Adventurer/Speaker”, so I was most interested in finding out more about him and his adventures because I am a firm believer that the more you learn about different cultures and the experiences people have had around the world, the more opportunities present themselves to you.

After some brief exchanges on LinkedIn I asked Warren if he would be interested in joining BookPals Business XLerator because I suspected that he would be able to provide other XLerator members with a wealth of knowledge from his experiences.


Warren Rodwell
How right I was!!!!

When Warren first joined XLerator the first thing I noticed was the brief “bio” he provided which read –

The Longest Held Australian Captive Outside War

The “Old Soldier” in me immediately “came out of retirement!!” (I was in the Army back in the 1980’s) when I read this and I just had to know more.

Well, I must say that Warren’s story is the “stuff” that Hollywood movies are made of – if you check out the image at the top of this post you will start to get an idea of what happened to Warren and as far as I’m concerned, to say what he went through is awe inspiring is an understatement.

I have to say, though, that there is much – MUCH – more to Warren than this one event and since he has been inside XLerator we have been having a wonderful discussion on things like effective communication, interacting with others and numerous other “business gems” that can really help you drive your business forward.


The information Warren has been sharing with the XLerator community has been so good that I asked him to have a chat with me on BookPals Business Sanity – our chat is still some weeks off yet, but I must say that when you listen to it you will gain a much better appreciation of what you should be thinking about if you decide to expand your business into overseas regions.

While you’re waiting for this episode to launch, come into the XLerator community, check out the discussion I am having with Warren and say hi to him – he is an absolute pleasure to interact with and he has a wealth of knowledge that I know will help you and your business.

Come into XLerator and meet Warren – you won’t be disappointed.



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John Rapp Essay

An Essay on Warren R Rodwell ” by John Rapp – Indianapolis Podcast | Indiana Talk Radio Show USA

Warren Rodwell


John Rapp wanted to start a talk radio podcast with Chris Brake. Chris said “Okay.” There is rarely a plan for the show. Just a bunch of people trying not to embarrass themselves. And, sometimes the format unexpectedly changes from episode to episode. What you hear is what you get.

Warren Rodwell was held hostage by the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group for fifteen months, but he resurfaced just to come on the Chris Brake Show. Warren is now a free man, and a frequent guest on The Chris Brake Show.



John Rapp Parody Essay on Warren Rodwell – by John Rapp

The subject of Warren Rodwell has been covered intensively by the world press over the past decade. There are many factors which influenced the development of Warren Rodwell. Given that this influence pervades our society, there are just not enough blues songs written about Warren Rodwell.

Blues Brothers

Inevitably, Warren Rodwell is often misunderstood by socialists, trapped by their infamous history. At the heart of the subject are a number of key factors. I plan to examine each of these factors in detail and assess their importance.


Social Factors :

As reflected in classical mythology, society is complicated. When blues legend ‘Bare Foot D’ remarked ‘awooooh eeee only my dawg understands me’ [1], he globalised an issue which had remained buried in the hearts of our ancestors for centuries. Spanning divides such as class, race and ugliness, Warren Rodwell helps to provide some sort of equilibrium in this world of ever changing, always yearning chaos.

mortal wounds

When one is faced with people of today, a central theme emerges – Warren Rodwell is either adored or despised. It leaves no one undecided. It is intrinsically linked to adolescent inner acclimatisation.

Economic Factors :

The preceding section may have shed some light on society, but to really understand man, you must know how he spends his money. We will primarily be focusing on the Lead-a-Duck-to-Water model, a complex but ultimately rewarding system.

Cost of Living Warren Rodwell

The results displayed in the graph (see above) are too clear to be ignored. Even a child could work out that the cost of living looms over Warren Rodwell. This cannot be a coincidence. In the light of this, free trade must be examined.

Political Factors :

Modern politics owes much to the animal kingdom. Comparing the ideals of the young with the reality felt by their elders is like contrasting Warren Rodwell and political feeling.

WR CBS Award Oct 2014

To quote Nobel Prize winner Demetrius Rock, ‘The success of any political system can only truly be assessed once the fat lady has sung.’ [2] I argue that his insight into Warren Rodwell provided the inspiration for these great words. If Warren Rodwell be the food of politics, play on. While Warren Rodwell may be a giant amongst men, is this a dwarf amongst policy? I hope not.


Conclusion :

We can say with certainty Warren Rodwell has played a large part in the development of man now and in the 20th Century, and this influence remains strong. It sings a new song, brings glamour to an unglamorous time, and is a joy to behold.

I shall give the final word to star Wyclef Love Hewitt: ‘I wouldn’t be where I am today without Warren Rodwell.’ [3]

472 Days


  • [1] Bare Foot D – Classic – 1967 Stinton Records
  • [2] Rock – Roll It Up – 1977 – F. Lower Publishing
  • [3] Go mad for Warren Rodwell – Issue 132 – Kendeal Books




American Stereotypes with Warren Rodwell, Dale J Gordon, 40 Oz Pimp

Chris Brake Show Podcast  October 24, 2014 Episode #60  American Stereotypes

American Stereotypes with Warren Rodwell, Dale J Gordon, 40 Oz Pimp


We talk about American stereotypes with Warren Rodwell, Dale J. Gordon, and 40 Oz. Pimp to find out exactly what people in the rest of the world think about Americans. We talk about the brashness of Americans, the 1st Amendment, gun culture, American classrooms, lies in our textbooks, Australian history, American history, and the “little brother complex.”

Click here to listen to this episode online.
Click here to download this episode as an MP3.
Click here to listen on iTunes.
Click here to listen on Stitcher.


40 Oz. Pimp is a true American patriot, poet, and musician. Dale J. Gordon is a true American adventurer and recording artist from Nashville, TN. And Warren Rodwell was kidnapped and held hostage for 15 months by Islamic terrorists in the Philippines. A truly diverse panel we have assembled to take part in this important socio-political discussion.

Warren Rodwell is a true cosmopolitan, and has spent a lot of time traveling all over the world and experiencing lots of different cultures. Rodwell likes America, and Americans, but has noticed some common American stereotypes that people have in other countries. Warren shares two American stereotypes with us on this episode:

1) People in other countries tend to think of Americans as “brash.”

2) America is known for its gun culture, and the right for American citizens to own guns. People in other countries hear lots of news stories all the time about shootings and gun violence in America.

Deadliest Day USA

Deadliest Day USA

So essentially we’re known for being rude and having a bunch of guns (and shooting people with those guns). That’s not all we’re known for, but those are some common American stereotypes.

Rodwell attributes Americans’ “brash” attitude to the 1st Amendment and the right to freedom of speech. He proposes that one reason for Americans’ brashness is because Americans have grown up with people generally being tolerant of any sort of speech. So when Americans travel outside of the United States, people in other countries are taken back by how up front, bold, and outspoken many Americans can be.

40 Oz. Pimp aggressively voices his opinions throughout the episode, and Dale J. Gordon asks Warren Rodwell about the arts & sciences. Rodwell also talks about Australia’s G20 World Leaders Conference,

Rodwell also says that it’s not uncommon for Americans traveling worldwide to tell other people that they are from Canada and not the United States, shares some helpful tips for people when traveling abroad, and tells you where you should live if you want to meet the most women.

Rodwell also points out that the American classroom produces students that are unique from other countries. He says that in the classroom, Americans tend to not speak up or answer questions, for fear of someone else shooting down their idea. This is much different than classrooms in other countries, such as in Australia where children are more thoroughly reprimanded for interrupting other people.

Rodwell closes the evening with a joke about Americans and Starbucks that is actually more true than it is funny. The math in the joke didn’t quite add up, but it’s still a funny joke. And true. Funny because it’s true.



Kidnap victim Warren Rodwell describes what happens just after his release on 23rd March 2013 at the Port of Pagadian , Zamboanga del Sur , The Philippines.