I got into the hobby thanks to my Dad who always had a dream of keeping and breeding Discus but never quite could do it, thanks to the regular moves that being in the RAAF forced on us.
My first experiences that I can recall were looking at all the weird and wonderful things being bred in Malaysia when we were stationed over there in the 70's. Then I received my first tank (and 18" er) into which went all sorts of in appropriate things. But around Butterworth (again still in Malaysia) where all these creeks and paddy fields - and all the fantastic things we caught that I never ever saw until much later here in Australia - such as golden panchax, snakeskin gouramis, croaking gouramis, weird bettas that we called "Thai fighters" as nobody knew what they were, and lots of odd rasbora like things.
Coming back to Australia I still had the "burn" so to speak and decided to stick to west African cichlids (kribs and the like). That was until 1990 when I went along to the now defunct Pet and Hobby Expo and there was ANGFA with a display of newly discovered Red-finned blue eyes. And all the other stunning fish from around Queensland and PNG. There was rhads from straddie, blue eyes from Cairns, Bosemani from PNG. I was hooked (and I'm in debt to Aquatic7 above who helped transport a poor student to/fro ANGFA meetings in Brisbane from Ippy). And since then I've been a member and locked myself into natives all the way (mostly rainbows and gertrudae), as well as getting into the activism side of things to save our waterways - and travelling the country side looking into all and sundry waterholes.
Met a lot of great people thanks to this hobby. Some even on this very list :-). And looking forward to continuing to get the message out there to preserve our water ways and the many and varied things (including H.sapiens sapiens) that depends on them.