Sitting in the kitchen of his south Canberra home, David Morrison laughs as he is presented with some blasts from his past - photographs of him on stage performing in Gilbert and Sullivan musicals while a student at St Edmund's College in the 1970s.
"I don't look very Japanese do I?," he said, laughing about his performance as Pooh-Bah in The Mikado.
"I particularly liked playing Wilfred [in The Yeoman of the Guard]. It's a lovely operetta because it's more sombre than the usual Gilbert and Sullivan and there's some beautiful music in it."
Much has been written about Lieutenant-General David Morrison as the former chief of army, the defence force reformer, the leader who told misbehaving troops to "get out", the advocate for equality and diversity.
But there is not so much about his early life, his time in Canberra, the city which he now plans never to leave and which he proudly represents as the 2016 ACT Australian of the Year, the honour bestowed earlier this month for his commitment to gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
The national capital actually provided some rare stability from his early teens to early 20s as he led the otherwise itinerant life of a defence force family.
His father, Major General Alan "Alby" Morrison, had joined the army at the end of World War Two and he and David would eventually become the first father and son generals in the history of the army.
After fighting in Korea, Alan Morrison was posted to Cairns where he met his future wife Margaret. David was born in Cairns in May, 1956 and the family moved to Canberra when he was about six weeks old.
From there, it was postings up and down the eastern seaboard and to England until 1970. Alan Morrison was finishing his stint in Vietnam and was to take up a post as an instructor at Duntroon in Canberra. His family was living in Adelaide at the time.
"I have memories of driving with my mother and my sister across the Hay Plain in an EH Holden which broke down," David said.
"Dad was still in Vietnam. We got to Canberra and it was blazing hot. Full of flies. Mum and dad bought a house in Mawson and I re-commenced my high school education and started at St Edmund's in 1970."
The family made a commitment for David to finish his education at St Edmund's and he was also accepted into law at the Australian National University, giving him the rare eight continuous years in the one spot. He didn't finish law but he did complete an arts degree.
"I didn't study as hard as I should have and I had a great time. It actually shaped me," he said. "Those four pretty chaotic years were filled with eclectic life-learning as well as some of the great work that was taught to me by the staff at ANU.
"I only went into the army as a short-term career. I was broke and didn't want to stay in Canberra so I thought I'd join the army for a couple of years."
History shows he thrived in the army - "thoroughly loved it" - and rose to chief of army in 2011. There were moves back and forth to Canberra before that but David and his wife Gayle are now settled in the national capital. They love to bushwalk and ride bikes. They enjoy dining out.
"I think Canberra is a really liveable city....it's become quite an urbane and cosmopolitan place," he said.
"We'll stay here. A lot of my business takes me elsewhere but Canberra is very much home."
David has three sons from his first marriage - Tim, 31, is in IT; Sam, 29, is in communications; and Ben, 26, works a variety of jobs. He met Gayle in Brisbane and they were married in Canberra in 2002.
Since retiring this year after 36 years in the army, David has become chair of Diversity Council Australia, joined the board of anti-domestic violence organisation Our Watch and is advising corporate giants such as Deloitte Australia on equality, diversity and leadership.
"The life less regimented has turned out to be an exceptionally busy one but it's great because I feel I've got an opportunity to contribute more broadly than the military," he said.
"We talk about an egalitarian Australia and we are relative to so many parts of the world but we're not as free and we're not as equal as we'd like to be and we should be. There's nothing stopping us."