The story of: Rolf Sieber- Artist, Soviet survivor, migrant
ROLF Sieber has the work-worn hands of a builder but has lost none of the artist finesse in his 77 years on this earth.
The German-born retiree's Urraween home sits on a hill overlooking the idyllic Hervey Bay skyline, hidden away from the hustle and bustle of the shopping district a few kilometres away.
The walls of his gorgeous home are lined with his award-winning oil colour paintings; with more finished canvas neatly stacked in guest rooms and the spacious garage.
The colours jumping from his scenes create small windows in time into a specific memory, photograph or place.
Rolf is an artist from a long line of artists, in fact you could say it was in his blood.
His grandfather, a revered sculptor, his father a painter like Rolf himself and his son also completed an arts degree.
The sun-kissed house is a world away from Leipzig, Germany in 1940 where the local painter was born.
"I was born in the war years, I don't remember very much of it," he said.
Rolf's childhood playground was the rubble of bombed houses and he vividly remembers the bomb shelters.
After WWII, Rolf's family fell into the side of Germany under the Russian communist regime where he was considered a capitalist and was denied entry into university.
"We had no more money than anyone else, it was only because my father owned his own business," he said.
"They wanted to put me in the army and I didn't want that. If you rejected it they could even jail you so I decided to escape.
"I went to Berlin, in those days you could still get from east to west."
From there, Rolf went to work in Switzerland before migrating to Australia at the tender age of 24 on a two-year work visa.
The rest is history; Rolf's Swiss girlfriend joined him and became his wife and after trying to live in Europe for a while- Rolf and his family returned to Australia for the way of life.
"Here you can meet a doctor or lawyer who says 'hi I'm Bill,' and you could call him Bill without any pretences," Rolf said.
Gifted with two sons, Rolf's first wife tragically died of cancer in 1964.
A few years later, Rolf met his current wife Trudy who had also lost her first husband in 1964.
Retiring from a career which spanned across international borders, Rolf uses his time now to play golf and, of course, painting.
"I was under the communists so I still keep my vision that I didn't want to live under this regime, I had to go somewhere where I had freedom and could express my ideas and everything," he said.
"I think that is still relevant for any young person.
"Express yourself and go for whatever you want to do and go out into the world."