Hans Kunnen was born in Scotland to Dutch parents and migrated with his family from England to Australia 50 years ago. Hans taught at the University of New England in the early 1980s and was a tutor in Robb College. In 1984 he joined State Bank NSW and by 2001, Hans was chief economist at Colonial First State, one of Australia’s largest fund and superannuation managers.
Hans retired from Colonial First State in 2008 but by 2009 his wife had encouraged him to ‘get a job’! He was chief economist at St.George Bank for a few years before attempting to retire again. So far so good, but he still works casually in the finance sector.
Hans is married to Suzanne and they have three adult children. Hans attends Glenhaven Anglican church in Sydney and has been involved in mentoring refugees. He enjoys a good book and collects coins from time to time. He also supports South Sydney in the NRL – having married into that particular tribe!
Barraba Anglican invites you to meet Hans Kunnen
25 July at Youth Centre from 6.30 pm
$10/head – meal/dessert/drinks included
Bookings from church office in Maude Street, phone 6782 1037
Website – barraanglican.org
In the chaos of Sept. 11, Staten Island woman forges friendship with Australian businessman
A Report by Stephanie Sleplan
Leslie DeFreitas and Hans Kunnen
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — It all happened in a Staten Island Ferry minute for Leslie DeFreitas and Hans Kunnen. They were on the first boat out of Whitehall. Her earring slipped off as she struggled to put on a life jacket. He picked it up. Ms. DeFreitas, 54, a Rosebank resident, and Kunnen, 57, an Australian businessman attending an economics conference at the Marriot at the World Trade Center, have been friends ever since.
Their paths to the ferry were similar: Both were using it as an escape route. “We made our way to the ferry terminal. It was eerie. They were closing the door and we were running and yelling, ‘please keep it open.’” At the same time, Kunnen was sitting in the foyer of the Marriot on his first ever visit to the United States. “I saw people coming inside who were very distressed, some had been singed or burned. On leaving the hotel, I saw rubble in the road, cars on fire and the air was filled with swirling, burning paper. I looked up and saw the smoke pouring out of Tower 1.
“As I stood on Liberty Street, I heard an approaching plane, it accelerated and slammed into Tower 2, creating a fireball…I had seen enough — too much — and knew I had to leave the scene.”Kunnen figured the ferry “was the best way to get away.” “Other escape routes seemed to take me back towards danger,” he said. “I had travelled on the Staten Island Ferry a few days earlier. I had planned to knock on the door of a church and ask for assistance.”
But then he found Ms. DeFreitas. She noticed he was still wearing his conference name tag: “Hans Kunnen, Sydney,” and she realized he was alone — his luggage and passport left behind in the ruins of his hotel room. “Come and stay with me and my family,” she told him, without a moment’s hesitation. They took the train from St. George to Dongan Hills and walked to Cromwell Avenue, where Ms. DeFreitas lived at the time. “People think it’s odd that I took a total stranger home, but I didn’t give it a thought. Neither did my husband.”
Kunnen, who returned home on Sept. 17, has since visited the Island twice.
“New York gets some bad press for the attitude of residents, but what I saw on Staten Island was impressive,” he said.