Member Profile with Nick "Wombo" Ryan

[Interview by Media and Comms Crew Member Julian Mudge]

So, how’d you get the name Wombo?

It was given to me in year 7 or 8, in Moree, by a girl nicknamed Bibby, although another friend David claims he came up with it first.

So, you and Bibby are still friends?

Yeah, although I haven’t seen her for some time…. We’re still Facebook friends. I hope to catch up with her at a school reunion one day.

Did you like the nickname?

Initially I tried to stop it, but it was so popular – but ‘better than a boring nickname’ was my mum’s suggestion. People forgot my actual name, occasionally. They’d even forgot my Mum’s name preferring ‘Wombo’s Mum’.

When did you lose the nickname?

When I moved from Armidale to Toowoomba in 2011. 

So, what bought you to Clubhouse?

I went to Mallam House in Armidale that was run by PRA which is now Flourish. On leaving Armidale in 2011 they suggested I check out Toowoomba Clubhouse.

What did you learn at Clubhouse – what has Clubhouse meant to you?

Through Clubhouse I have done the Hospitality Course, after a major hospitalization in 2016. It was a helpful step in my recovery though my family and friends (particularly my Mum was the biggest help). It will be exactly three years ago on Wednesday, the 5th of June 2019, since I presented myself to emergency at Toowoomba base hospital – where I was admitted for three months. June 2016 was my first admission to a mental health unit. I should have gone when I was younger, but I since decided that they were not places to be afraid of – they help rebuild people at the Acute Mental Health Unit (AMHU Toowoomba).

So did you ever work in hospitality?

Yes, my first job was with KFC! I learnt to make barista coffee not long after coming to Clubhouse. I started at Social Enterprise Bounce City (Now Sec2nd Shot) Café in 2012. I delivered ‘coffee + muffins’ (yum yum) all over the CBD. This made a change from delivering Pizzas, which I also did while working at Bounce.

What interests do you have outside of Clubhouse?

I love live music, and a pot of Cider. I love Rugby Union, and I go the Cronulla Sharks (just like Sco’ Mo’) only I’m not a Pentecostal – I go to St Bart’s Anglican Church. I guess I just love people. That’s what I’m all about!

So what’s happened to Wombo?

I had an indigenous friend, Sean Doyle, who suggested for good reasons I stop using Wombo because it is similar to an aboriginal work, Womba, which means crazy. But it worried me for ages because I did like my nickname in the past. So, I called Sean to just ask him if the name does not offend me or anyone else is it still okay to be thought of as ‘Wombo’; because we’re all a little nuts J. Sean’s answer?: Bring Back the Wombo!

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