Mal was educated at Chelsea Primary School and Mordialloc Chelsea High School . He was more interested in sport (tennis, football and cricket) than he was in scholastic endeavours and left school early in Year 11 to commence work with a Chartered Accounting firm. This was the time of the Vietnam War and young Australian men were conscripted to fight in that “undeclared war” on the random basis of the birthdates of 20 year olds being drawn out of a barrel. Mal’s “number” was not called and, being unhappy with his job, he set sail for England via Greece when he turned 21.
This trip was a turning point in his life. His exposure to Greece and the lifestyle of rural Grecians was an eye-opener to him as was the inequality he saw as he travelled.
Mal returned to Australia in 1966 where he worked in various clerical occupations before deciding to emigrate to Canada to undertake University studies. He met Pam again; they had shared a Year 11 Commercial Practice class. They embarked on a life journey together.
After studying at Vancouver City College and Simon Fraser University he completed a BA Hons., with a double major in Sociology and Political Science. As top student he was awarded the Robert Stanfield Prize in Political Science and returned to Australia after being awarded a PhD scholarship.
Mal became active in politics while undertaking his university studies and discontinued his Ph D. on becoming a lecturer in Sociology and then an Advocate for a trade union. His ultimate goal was to enter parliament where he felt that he could make a difference. In 1982 he was elected to the Victorian State Parliament as a Labour MP representing Chelsea, the area of his birth. An illustrious career continued culminating in appointment as Cabinet Secretary in 1988 and then Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Corrections in 1989. The Ministerial position covered Police, Fire, Emergency Services and the broad policy issue of crime prevention. Corrections covered Prisons and Community based programs. Both portfolios gave him the opportunity to be innovative in policy and practice.
When his political party lost office in a landslide defeat in 1992, Mal retained his seat and continued as Shadow Minister for Education until he was defeated in the next election in 1996. He and Pam decided at that time that the heavy workload and personal toll of politics and public service made it appropriate that they now focus on themselves and family. He decided not to re-contest his seat.
Since that time life consists of a little consulting work, interspersed with trying to get through as many places in the book “1000 Places to see before you Die”; trying to perfect his golf swing; establishing and maintaining the Harland Cellar; keeping Pam happy; and entertaining the grandchildren. He wrote in 2006 “It is a Life’s Work and I am enjoying every minute of it.”.
Malcolm John Sandon was born at the Chelsea Bush Nursing Hospital on September 16, 1945,. the youngest of 4 children. His father ( William James Sandon) was a builder and his mother Joyce Cecilia Clements a tennis player of note. He was of English stock; his Grandparents immigrated to Australia from the south of England in the early years of the 20th century.