Newsletter, Project

October newsletter

A sad note John Banks has retired from the garden. Here he is handing over his ceremonial tomato stake. We need another gardener, volunteers ?
There was a bit of an issue at the Shed this month. The blank space in the workshop indicated a story. No one reported the alarms going off, no sign of a break in, yet someone has stolen the mower. Or so it seemed. The puzzle was solved when Graham Anderson admitted to taking it home. It’s been part of the furniture, sort of like workshop art.
Jim has installed the light exercise gear in the gym, he does actually look the part. I think they call it a parte dour. It’s the closest Jim has come to exercise in months.
Don’t get too excited, it took a cast of thousands to get the BBQ trailer this far. To Gary and the lads, it looks as if it may well do the job. We’re aiming for the big camper breakfast at Easter in 2022.
Trevor has not been sent to the naughty corner, although?? He’s getting a ladder from the new wall brackets. Thanks to Porchy, don’t forget John there’s one more to do.
The big fella is making a book shelf for his bedroom. Really? Now I’m told it will fit in with the wall paper. We will have to get the number of your decorator Col.
Like a silent sentinel in the carpentry shop the phone box is waiting to be installed, I can tell you it’s not the only stationary object in that workshop. Maybe next week if the rain eases.
Can you remember when we worked out of this shed during the winter, while our Shed recovered from the fire? Vale John Russell.

Some here is some good news from the Chairman. Tom Dudley has had his back repaired and is home recuperating. Hope Mary is feeding him up. He should be pretty happy since Everton is on top of the English Premier League, Ah Mary.

Arnie (AKA Ron) is also on the mend after he broke his elbow, the Gym equipment is breathing a sigh of relief.

Did you know there are 60 designated wine regions in Australia producing 1.35 Trillion bottles of wine. None of which go to China at the moment.



Where were you born and raised in the early years?
I was born in a hospital in Moree, North West of New South Wales and was raised in a little village called Boomi, 100klm north of Moree on the Queensland border. I left Boomi when called into National Service at 22 years old. Apart from short periods, I did not return to reside there.

Where were you schooled and for how long?
Boomi Primary with about 25-30 other kids, mostly relations. Then High School via Blackfriars Correspondence for 2 ½ years where the school work would arrive from Sydney on the weekly mail delivery. When completed, it was posted back to Sydney. Of course no mailman during heavy rain and floods, which would sometimes last for weeks. Mum was my tutor until she became very ill and died when I was 12years old. Dad was poorly educated and did not have the time to assist. I slowly fell further behind with my studies and left school at aged 14 years and 8 months.

Any other education and training?
The School of Hard Knocks, after graduation I commenced learning at the University of Life, passing with Honors and now doing my Master Degree on surviving the next 10 years.

Did you have a nickname, and why?
Working in the shearing sheds, fencing and other laboring jobs that required brute strength and ignorance, I was called “Mack, with the diesel motor”. There were far too many McMaster’s around to be called just Mack. When I left Boomi, I became just “Mack”.

First job and wages?
Working as a shepherd for a stock dealer. I had my own 2 horses and a good working dog. I was required to watch the sheep/cattle along the stock routes and lock them into a reserve at night. We were required to move cattle 10 miles per day and sheep 6, but this did not always happen. I was earning 1 pound ($2.00) per day.

First motor vehicle. When?
1962 EK Holden Ute. Purchased new. The ute cost $800 and I paid it off over three years.

Other occupations / how long and any business ventures?
Working as a station hand on a large rural property for 3 years, then bush laborer in shearing sheds, fencing and driving farm machinery. Wheat was just expanding to the north of the state and thousands of acres were being grown, so I later purchased a truck and seed grader and cleaned the grain for the area farmers. After National Service I joined the N.S.W. Police Force and stayed for 30 years. Four years prior to retirement I purchase a300Ac farm near Gulgong and planted 50Ac of grapes and farmed the rest with crops and cattle. After 25 years we sold the farm in July 2020.

Was your marble drawn in the big 20year old ballot?
Yes, the only raffle I have ever won. It was followed by two years in the Army including 12 months in Viet-Nam with 1st Armoured Regiment. I was a driver of an armoured personnel carrier, which was the command vehicle.

Marital status, where married?
Still married to my one and only after 50 years….she is a very tolerant women. Married in Wingham, Rita’s home town. Lived in Manly, Coolah, Merriwa and now Mudgee for the past 35 years.

Children and grand-children.
One son and two daughters, three grand-children. We love them dearly but Covid has restricted our visits this year.

Overseas travel/ reasons for same?
Apart from the Manly Ferry, Viet-Nam was my first overseas tour, and first flight in an aeroplane. Since then my wife and |I have had several overseas exciting holidays.

Highly rated experiences and achievement?
Many adrenalin fueled experiences, maybe best forgotten
With my lifestyle, it is an achievement to be still alive at this stage.

Hobbies/ sports/ other interests. (what level)?
I have played rugby league and union, tennis, squash and golf at a low level. Was competitive in my age category at the “000 Games” (for the Police, Firies and Ambos) in 1500m, 5 and 10klms. I now play tennis and work out at the gym a couple of times a week. Casual cycle rides and when knees permit, and runs through the scrub.

Working or retired.

What brought you to Mudgee and the Men’s shed?
Transferred here in the Police force in 1985. Joined the shed about 2016 for the experience of making stuff from timber. Plenty of advice and assistance available from other members. Only attended on a casual basis until I sold the farm.

If you had your life over, you would???
Get a good education. Maybe a uni degree and become a stock broker or other forms of selling and dealing. Who knows?????

One interesting thing we may not know about you?
During my teenage years I was quite an accomplished horseman. I would educate horses for other people, mostly children so they could win a ribbon at shows and horse events. I won many ribbons with my own horses.
I was also the course broadcaster at horse races a few times, only small fields. No car so I would hitchhike to the races Saturday morning. Dressed in sports coat, hat and binoculars, the first vehicle to come along the quite unsealed dusty road would give me a ride. That’s the way it was. Good money, 5 pounds for the afternoon, free entry and lunch. I was too young to drink alcohol back then.

The most memorable humorous moment?
We took my son Andrew to Tamworth for a Doctor’s visit. He was about 3 1/2 years old. The Dr. was very late and about 10 people were in the waiting room. A very large middle aged women read him a story which attracted the attention of all the waiting patients. Then from left field he asked in a very loud voice, “Are you here to be circumcised too? People buried their faces behind old readers digest magazines to hide the giggling!!!

Who were the biggest influences on your life?
Mr. A.B.Carrigian, owner of “Breenie” where I worked as a station hand. His teachings were used on my farm at Gulgong. That is stock husbandry, fencing and care of machinery etc.


One or two photo’s, old and new.