Rats were an ongoing problem in Launceston in the 1930s, but fortunately the council had a plan: a rebate scheme for businesses to cash-in captured rodents.
Brian Huntly Gordon was just a young man starting his career in civic life when he was given the task of paying the rebate to businesses, but he always had bigger plans.
He joined the Army before World War II was declared, a decision that set him on a journey through the jungles of Java, the terror of Changi and, ultimately, the uncertainty of life as a prisoner of war in Kobe, Japan.
The long march from Timor to Changi
The 2/40th Battalion was mostly Northern Tasmanians who were later referred to as the "quiet men" - those who rarely spoke of their wartime experiences.
Brian Huntly Gordon was among them, carrying out training in Victoria with basic weaponry mostly from World War I, before they travelled by train to Katherine in the Northern Territory.
When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in December, 1941, the Australians decided to station token forces in Timor. Mr Gordon was put in charge of two mortar platoons and was mentioned in dispatches. But the 2/40th Battalion arrived on the island at the worst possible time - the Japanese had just parachuted hundreds of men onto Timor with an accompanying sea force.
A bayonet charge - one of the last ever attempted - was enough to dispel the enemy, but more Japanese soldiers arrived and the battalion was ultimately captured.
"The first thing they got was a bag of rice thrown at them. They had no idea to do with it, but they quickly learned," Mr Gordon's son, Jeff Gordon, said.
"They started cooking the rice and were able to trade with the locals. They moved up through Java - a pretty traumatic journey I would've thought.
"There was never any chance of escape."
They had no idea where they were going, but just kept marching under the close watch of Japanese soldiers.
Their ultimate destination was Changi, where they joined up with prisoners of war from across the Pacific theatre.
Luck of the draw: Australians divided up for Japanese work
After months without washing, wearing torn rags and emaciated, the men of the 2/40th were in a poor state when they arrived at the notorious prisoner of war camp in Singapore.
Mr Gordon had contracted malaria and was suffering from tropical ulcers and vitaminosis, causing a deterioration in his eyesight.
The Japanese would split up the Australians, meaning their fate was entirely up to their captors. The horrors of the Burmese railway were not yet known.
While others from the 2/40th found themselves sent to the railway, Mr Gordon's poor health and weakened body meant he had a different future in store.
He was sent to Japan.
"The trip from Singapore to Japan would not have been very nice. It would have been very hot, and also there were US submarines in the area that were regularly taking these Japanese ships out," Jeff Gordon said.
Having survived the journey, Mr Gordon was put to work unloading cargo in the wharves of Kobe, living with other prisoners of war in "horrible" conditions sleeping on the floor of a basic building open to the elements.
Adding to the danger was the constant US fire bombing of major Japanese cities. Mr Gordon's building was hit in one such raid. It was entirely up to the Japanese if they lived or died.
"They were lucky - the Japanese allowed them to leave the building," Jeff Gordon said.
Unaware of how the war was progressing, with no communications with family and continuing to lose weight with meagre rations, the two years Mr Gordon spent in Kobe would have been enough to drain the human spirit.
'The guards just melted away'
But shortly after August 6, 1945, the Japanese guards suddenly vanished. Although Kobe was only 300 kilometres from Hiroshima, Mr Gordon was unaware of the nuclear bombing.
"Dad said that one day it just happened - the guards just melted away - and the prisoners didn't know what was going on," Jeff Gordon said.
"With the guards gone, they could take over the camp themselves."
A few days later, the US troops dropped leaflets on the city. It was the first time Mr Gordon knew what had happened. Shortly after, Americans arrived in Kobe. Mr Gordon was free.
The journey back to Australia was treacherous, however, given the ill health of the former POWs. Some didn't survive the voyage.
Mr Gordon arrived back in Launceston in late September to learn of his father's death months earlier and his mother's poor health. It took him several years to become accustomed to civilian life again and, in 1947, he got married and fathered three children.
Life had returned to normal.
A zeal for life and a commitment to helping others
Mr Gordon got a job as a Chartered accountant before later opening his own office at the corner of George and Paterson streets.
He became heavily involved in Legacy, holding events for war widows and their children, and would dress up as Santa Claus for their Christmas event. He arranged boat rides for children at Low Head during their Legacy fundraisers.
"He was always getting around the piano and singing, he would put hats on everybody, he'd give everyone a musical instrument, he made everyone feel part of the room," Jeff Gordon said.
He rarely spoke of his war experiences, but as was common in 1950s and 60s Australia, he brought an air of celebration and zeal for life to everything he did.
"They took every opportunity to celebrate their life," Jeff Gordon said.
"He was a lot of fun, he had a wicked sense of humour."