April 2020

Terry Collins, some rain

Good morning everyone,

Thanks so much for the encouraging emails last Monday, it was just a crazy idea to highlight a really great man! So I thought, let’s give it a crack again.

Back in the 1950’s there was a young lad racing round Wilcannia, who was then sent to school with the Nuns here at St. John’s School. He was born in 1948 here at the Wilcannia hospital, probably delivered by Frank Bonner under the watchful eye of Amy Donavan. He was one of 7 children born to Ellen and Walter Collins, long time local residents.

Young Terry had given away the idea of school at the age of 13 and went to work for Kevin and Betty Hopkins at “Kalyanka” as a station hand for the next 7 and a half years. Heading for the big smoke, he worked in the mines in Broken Hill for 18 months and played football with Broken Hill United.

Terry joined the NSW Police force in 1971 and completed studies in Justice Administration and Social Sciences with Charles Sturt University. He completed an Executive Development Programme with Uni. Of NSW. And a Police Executive Leadership Programme with the Australian Institute of Police Management.

Terry commenced General Duty Policing at Newtown, inner Sydney, then moved on to Leeton, before moving into Forensics for 7 ½ years as a fingerprint Expert.

Next move was to Human Resource Management for a few years before being appointed as Commander of North Sydney. This then led onto Commander of Northern Rivers, Assistant Commissioner North West Region, and Assistant Commissioner, Hunter Region.

A Wilcannia boy who made good

Good morning all,

I’ve been thinking, no travellers, nothing opened, what’s the point!  Then I thought you may be interested in people who have made good from our little town. And I’d be happy to highlight any others from your town that we would be interested in learning about.

You see, back in 1933 a baby boy was born here in Wilcannia. Young Ian reached school age and his parents Bob and Kath, who resided at “Hillside” as it’s still known here in our town, sent Ian off to Wilcannia Primary School.

After a few years they then bundled him off down to Adelaide to attend Prince Alfred College. Ian then left PAC to join the Royal Australian Naval College at HMAS Creswell, on the NSW south coast at the age of 13.

Ian Knox, part of the Knox and Downs family, was commissioned in 1950 and received further training ashore and at sea in both Australia and the United Kingdom.

He married Margie in December 1956. They had 2 sons and a daughter. Ian specialised in Torpedo and Anti-Submarine warfare, and received the Ogilvy Medal as Dux of the course.

He was posted to Melbourne in 1960, and assisted in the development of the “Ikara AWS Guided Missile System”. Ian was appointed Executive officer of the destroyer HMAS Perth in 1966, and served in Vietnamese waters in 1967/68.

In 1972 he attended the United States Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, he was made Captain and appointed commanding officer of HMAS Hobart. He also commanded the aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne.

In 1984, Ian Knox was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia, in the Queens Birthday Honours. In 1989, Ian retired as Vice Chief of the Defence Force. He retired from the Royal Australian Navy that year after 42 years of service.

We have been honoured to have Ian and Margie back on numerous occasions, he has presented books to both schools and attended an Anzac Ceremony. A Wilcannia boy who made good.

Into the unknown ...

Good morning all,

We’re really travelling into the unknown, and even Google can’t give us a road map. I just hope you are all coping with your day to day obstacles and taking pleasure from those little unexpected treats that just pop up.

We really are fortunate out here when you see what other parts of even our own country are going through.

Read an interesting statistic in our “Wilcannia News” tonight, the little group of volunteers are still putting it together each Monday. It showed with all the horrific deaths in America, when you compare all countries on a per capita basis, America has lost 22,000 poor souls out of a population of 329 million. Spain has seen 17200 deaths from their population of 50 million. Here in Australia we have lost 59 of our loved ones out of a population of 25 and a half million. These figures don’t seem to come out on television.

We will work our way through this as we have challenges in the past, don’t forget, you still have a phone. Think of someone who would get a thrill from hearing from you and give them a tingle! Brighten one person a day!

Roads, rain, fuel and food

Good morning all,

The rain has been great where it has fallen. We really don’t have to worry about wet roads, the travelling population that we were so looking forward to having, have had to return home.

This is still happening to a lesser extent, as they all get to their destination.

There are still the odd traveller going through our little town, and mostly, obviously with good reason.

While I cannot speak for our other outback towns, villages and Farm stays,  Wilcannia is not actually locked down. While we can offer you fuel, food, take-away alcohol and a chemist, we ask in return that you respect the fact that we only have 2 cases of virus in our far west area and hope to keep it that way. So please abide by the laid down rules and we should all have our best chance to remain clear.

In saying that, we have tradesmen who are coming and going, some from far away, locals doing regular trips to Broken Hill, agency personnel doing their important jobs. This isn’t going to stop, and quite frankly can’t. We as a community can only ask you all to abide by the laid down rules, which also apply to all our own residents.

I might also point out that people travelling east or west, travellers, stock transports, (and there will be more of them with this rain), interstate transport, etc. either way they have been travelling 2 or 3 hours, they need a rest stop, etc. It is up to us to respect that and  be accommodating.

Could I also suggest to all, listen in to our radio stations, which are, ABC Broken Hill 999. And Wilcannia 1584. Wilcannia River Radio 101.3 FM. 2WEB Bourke 585. ABC Dubbo 657. For authentic updates of everything in the far west. Social media can be misleading on occasions.