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
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.”.
Mal celebrating his 60th birthday in France, 2005
Malcolm John (Mal) Sandon b. 16 September 1945 m. 5 August 1969
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.