Karl Gallagher on behalf of Stephen Seale.
I met Stephen in 1965 on the Melbourne bohemian scene. In 1968 and 1969, Me, Stephen Seale and Philip Motherwell shared a house together in a communal house in George St Fitzroy, Melbourne. The house was started by Peter Barrett and me in early 1967. Stephen made it to the Great Darshan in late May, early June. Stephen wasn’t able to go with the main group as there was some kind of delay with his travel arrangements, what that was exactly I no longer remember. It is possible that it had something to do with the Psych Nurse course he was doing at Royal Park Psychiatric Hospital for his final year of accreditation. He may have had exams scheduled at that time.
Stephen told me that he got close to Mani – she gave him a couple of lessons on the sitar. He also spoke a lot of Baba’s brother Jal who lived at Baba House, which Stephen visited as often as he could. He shot a great film on a ‘super eight’ camera, mostly of Meherabad which included footage of Adi K Irani and Mohammed the Mast, but also of Jal and Baba House. Sadly that film is now lost. From what he told me I think Mani had a soft spot for him. Some of the older Melbourne Baba women also expressed a sort of motherly concern for him. Clarice said she had the urge to give him a hug because he looked like a lost child.
Though he worked as a nurse for a living - he was a blues guitarist and singer in the style of 1930s 1940s American black blues men. He bought and brought back a sitar when in India for the Great Darshan, and he loved to play that sitar. He was also interested in acting in theatre. A couple of times in 1967 I sat-in and watched him in the actors workshop conducted on Saturday afternoons by the legendary Wal Cherry at the Enerald Hill theatre in Sth Melbourne.
Stephen died in 1975.