Profiles

MEMBER PROFILE : Glenn Cox


I was born in Bellingen in 1954, my father worked at Bellingen butter factory and later at CDA milk and butter factory at Raleigh. I went to school at Bellingen Public School and one year at Bellingen High School. At the end of 1967 we moved to Coffs Harbour where I finished my schooling at Coffs Harbour High.

At the end of 1970 I left school and Started work at Dawson’s as an apprentice cabinet maker where I worked for 2 years. I finished my apprenticeship at Coffs Harbour Joinery. After this I worked for Modern Kitchens and then Graham Luchetti up until 1988 when I started my own business, “Classy Cabinets” which I had for 11years after which I worked for G & A Cabinets, Infracraft Joinery and then Coastal Wardrobes and Kitchens where I still work on a casual basis. I volunteered at the Coffs Harbour Regional Museum for 2 years and now at the Men’s shed.

In 1983 I married Yvonne Mckee, we have 2 children, daughter Christie who works for a local courier company and son Daniel who is a musician and lives on the Gold Coast.

After leaving school I got interested in Motorsport and watched local Rally events, Hillclimbs and travelled to Surfers Paradise to watch Drag racing and Touring car events. In the late 1970’s I started running at Drag racing events at Surfers Paradise International Raceway in my modified Datsun 1600 road car. After this I built a Datsun 1000 ute drag car which I trailered to Surfers Paradise and competed until about 1986. In the early 1980’s I joined Coffs Harbour and District Sporting Car Club (of which I am now a life member) and started running at Motor Khana events in my road car. After finishing my drag racing due to family commitments I started running local Khanacross, Autocross and Hillclimb events for many years, also involving my children who both learnt to drive competing in Khanacross and Hillclimb events from a young age. I was involved in the car club as a committee member, Vice President and Treasurer. I was also on the organising committee for the Coffs Harbour Rally for 10 years for which I wrote the Road Book and did Sweep Car duties.

After my children left home I decided to build myself a rally car which I always wanted, so I built the Datsun 120y that was the Khanacross car that the kids learnt to drive in, into a rally car and competed in Rally Sprints for about 8 years. I still compete in an occasional Khanacross to keep my skills sharp.

I also like camping and caravanning. We used to holiday at Scotts Head every Christmas for 2 weeks in our caravan when the Kids were young and up until the time that they left school. We also have a camper trailer and we usually try to have a couple of weeks away camping every year.

MEMBER PROFILE : Keith Williams


I was born at Kyogle, Northern New South Wales, in March, 1939. My father was a carpenter and, with my mother and 3 siblings, lived at Horseshoe Creek, a small rural area 20 kilometres north of Kyogle. My Primary education was at the small district school there. We moved to Kyogle where my
secondary education was completed at the Intermediate High school there.

I undertook an electrical apprenticeship with a local electrician in 1956, attending technical college at Lismore. Following the sudden death of my employer in 1958, my apprenticeship was taken over by the Northern Rivers County Council. After graduating successfully, NRCC offered me a position as an Electrical Mechanic in Kyogle, which I undertook.

I became interested in “all things wood” and purchased an A.E.Herbert workbench (Saw, Planer and Lathe, combination) which I still have. I met local beauty, Jan Spence, in 1959, and we were married in February, 1961 in Kyogle. 18 months later, with our first daughter 6 months old, I transferred to Bonalbo as the Area Service Mechanic covering Mallanganee, Drake, Tabulam, Bonalbo, Urbenville and Woodenbong to the Queensland Border, on call 24 hours a day with only one 3 day weekend a month off. We had a house which went with the position so we thought we had struck the jackpot!!!

The years there were challenging – no 2 way radios or mobile phones in those days. During widespread storms, while I was out restoring power, Jan would receive further complaints and I would have to ring back to her periodically from the homes of consumers, (some of whom would give me meals) to take these calls and carry on sometimes for quite a few hours before returning home.

After only 3 months in Bonalbo, it was discovered that I had contracted Tuberculosis. I was hospitalised for the next 6 months, spent 7 months in recovery, then resumed my position in Bonalbo, where we remained for 18 years with our family increased to 4. With our children reaching the age when they would have to leave Bonalbo to find employment or further their education, I applied for a position as an Installation Inspector in Coffs Harbour. Suddenly, my weekends were free, and I started my woodturning more seriously. I joined the Mid North Coast Woodworking club, received tuition from Neil Scobie & bought one of his designed lathes, then my persistence in turning resulted in exhibitions and selling items at various outlets.

I took a voluntary redundancy from Northern Rivers Electricity in 1996. In 1998, after having several holidays around Australia, I was contacted by Coffs Harbour Blinds & Awnings to see if I would be interested in designing and manufacturing western red cedar shutters, which I did on my own, for approximately 10 years. As orders became more than I could handle, factory made orders were imported. I am still employed part time assembling venetian blinds. We have caravanned and had holidays in most parts of Australia – and for the first time in 56 years do not own a caravan and live very contentedly in Coffs Harbour, being involved in a number of organisations, having a loving family, including 12 beautiful grandchildren and loyal friends.

MEMBER PROFILE : Bob White


Bob White, born October 1943 in Sydney and raised there. I left school at 15 with the Intermediate Certificate in 1958 and commenced work with the old PMG, now Telstra, as a telephone technician. I mainly worked around the Glebe area and Sydney University. In 1963 I transferred to Canberra and then back to Sydney when my father died. I worked in the Sydenham telephone workshops but very quickly became bored.

A change of life then ensued when I joined the NSW Police Force in 1965. As luck would have it, I was sent to Glebe Police Station, knowing the area well was a great help. Shortly after commencing duty there, I attended my first murder, over the next couple of years I attended several murders, including the horrific abduction and mutilation murder of 3 year old Simon Brooks, Taken from the front yard of his parent’s home one afternoon and we found him stuffed into a storm water drain the next morning, unfortunately no person was ever arrested and charged over the matter. The chief suspect only died recently, but insufficient evidence was found to charge him.

My sport for some time had been shooting, using rifles and pistols. I joined the Police Pistol Club and represented the NSW Police at shoots around Australia. It also meant that I was involved in the selection of a new sidearm for Police, the Smith & Wesson .38 special revolver. This weapon replaced a total dog’s breakfast of pistols that Police had been armed with. At a later time I became involved with Specials Weapons and Operations and took part in a number of sieges.

Whilst at Glebe, I met a young nurse at RPA Hospital. This happened over a dead body I had found in a park. I asked her out and 50 years later still going strong.

In 1969 I trained as an operator with the Breath analysis section and worked all over Sydney. Late in 1969, 2 weeks after our marriage, I transferred to Tamworth to introduce the breathalyser to the northwest of the state. This meant covering an area that stretched from Murrurundi to Tenterfield, out to Mungindi, Yetman, down to Moree, Gunnedah and Quirindi. A big area for two Police to cover with many weekends away. It also involved a lot of public speaking, mainly to service clubs, whose members were trying to find a way to beat the breathalyser. There is no way.

After two children, I transferred back to uniform and was posted to position of Lockup Keeper at Inverell in 1974. In 1978 I transferred back to Sydney, to Liverpool, where I undertook Police Rescue training, and attended many serious and fatal road accidents and industrial accidents in the southwest of Sydney.

In 1980 I transferred to the NSW Police Academy at Redfern where I was involved with training new recruits. That year I was promoted to Sergeant. One of the things that new recruits were required to do was to become blood donors and a note from their mum would not get them out of it. All instructors, who were all old hands at donating blood always, went first to show the youngsters that it did not hurt. In April I was unable to give blood and a blood sample was taken. The next morning I received a call from the Red Cross asking me to see haematologist at RPA Hospital, where I was informed that I had a very rare type of Leukaemia for which there was no treatment and that I only had 3-4 years left. The doctor’s would be able to give a better forecast when I had my spleen removed. That would be the half way point. I retired from the Police and we returned to Inverell to live, as that was better than my wife bringing up two children alone in Sydney, Twenty months after diagnosis I had my spleen removed and that meant another 20 months. Twelve months into that I told that a treatment was being tried in America, with some success, I was offered the chance to take part in a trial in Australia. This was partially successful and I used the treatment for some time until 1998 when it just stopped working. At this point I was informed that another treatment was now available. This proved successful.

In 1996, we decided to move to Coffs Harbour by way of Dorrigo where I became involved with the SES as the Unit Controller, because of my Police Rescue experience. In 1998 we arrived in Coffs Harbour and I transferred to the SES Unit here. I acted as Deputy Unit Controller and then Local Controller with both Coffs Harbour and Corindi units with some 90 personnel under my control. In that time we experienced road fatalities, mini cyclones, storms, airport emergencies and assisted Police many times with evidence searches, mainly related to murders.

In 2013 at the age of 70, I retired from the SES, went on a bit of a trip overseas and then joined the Men’s Shed. All through my working life, wood work had been my hobby and all though not that great, I have learned so much at the Shed, it was a move well worthwhile.

MEMBER PROFILE : Ron Braun


I was born on the 25th October, 1949, the first born of twin boys. We were born on our fathers birthday at the Mater Misercordia Hospital at Crows Nest, Sydney.

We lived at Summer Hill, my father was a barber and worked at Newtown, and my first school was at Kegworth kindergarten at Leichhardt. I distinctly remember the fruit and vege man coming around, the milkman, the butcher and most importantly, the iceman who came weekly with a big block of ice for the refrigerator. The meat safe hung from the ceiling.

We then moved to the western suburbs and my father bought a business and residence from his father in the main street at Chester Hill. It was a barber shop, the residence was upstairs. Dad employed two other barbers, he sold a large assortment of sporting equipment, cigarettes and tobacco, and most importantly Matchbox toys. Just about every mother and father bought their child a matchbox toy after having their haircut. I can just recall that adult haircuts were 4 shillings, a child was 3 shillings and the matchbox toys were one and threepence. He also sold men’s grooming products, deodorants and toothpaste and brushes, and who could not forget Spruso, Brylcream and Score hair creams.

I attended Chester Hill Public School, and then to Sefton Co-ed Secondary School. There were two celebrities at Sefton High when I was there, Stevie Wright (he was a year in front) and then Terry Lamb. I can remember completing my last exam paper to receive the Intermediate Certificate. It was about 11.30am in the morning, (November 1964) and about one hour later I was delivering telegrams on a pushbike for (the then) PMG. I was earning about 15 pounds per fortnight. I finished up at Christmas eve.

In January 1965, cashed up with over 30 pounds, I had one hell of a holiday. February 1965, I commenced a 5 year apprenticeship as a Stereotyper with Australian Consolidated Press, better known as the Daily Telegraph. Sir Frank Packer was my first boss, he signed my Indenture. The last 6 months of my apprenticeship had to be done on nightshift. This suited me right down to the ground, all the free time during the day, plus 17% loading. At the completion of my apprenticeship, I resigned and went to work with at The Australian newspaper, who also printed the Daily Mirror. This was great job, it was night shift, and every Saturday night off as there was no The Australian newspaper on Sundays. Frank Packer closed the doors of the Daily Telegraph (as he was sick of all the strikes) and it was bought by Murdock, the paper then became known as Mirror Telegraph. Much more modern machinery was brought in, less staff needed, last on, first off.

I was lucky to be employed by Fairfax, and started at the Sydney Morning Herald, what a great job, good money, night shift and a great boss. I resigned from Fairfax in 1972 and I moved to the Central Coast, my father and I built a house at Budgewoi. I obtained a job in a small printing factory near Wyong. In 1974 I left the Central Coast and returned to Sydney. I joined the NSW Public Service and started at the Government Printing Office in my old trade as a Stereoyper. I was also working part time as a drink steward at North Sydney Leagues Club (once a Bear, always a Bear). In 1978 I applied for a transfer to the Attorney Generals Department and commenced duties as a Sheriff's Officer. I was stationed at Manly Sheriff's Office. After 4 years I received a small promotion as Relieving Sheriffs Officer in the Sydney North region. In 1984 I applied for the position of Officer in Charge, Sargeant, Coffs Harbour. I was transferred to Coffs Harbour in November, 1984, and Marion and I bought a 13 acre hobby farm at Raleigh.

In 1993, the office was upgraded, I was then promoted to Officer in Charge, Senior Sergeant. 1998 was not a good year, a lot of things went on, and I lost both parents to brain tumours. Christmas that year was when the black dog moved in, I was off work for 4-5 months. A couple of months later after my return, I was transferred as the Relieving Sheriff's Officer, New England Region. I spent over two years relieving at centres located at Port Macquarie, Tamworth, Inverell, Grafton, Lismore and Murwillumbah. I then had a Court Case with the Department, I had a further 10 months off on sick leave, I was then given a Medical Discharge from the Department in 2001 through Health Quest. I was only 51.

In 2002 I sold the property at Raleigh and moved to Middle Boambee, where I still reside. I obtained a Private Inquiry Agents Licence, where I could do Private Inquiry work, do repossessions for Finance Companies and serve Court documents. I only did the latter. As I had an ABN, I did a lot of work for a Building Assessor. The main duty was removing damaged garden sheds and replace with new ones, also removing storm damaged household contents. I was also making wooden items at home, such as dog kennels, Jack and Jill chairs and small ornamental garden wheel barrows.

In 2012/2013 I had another visit from the black dog, Doctors and Psychologists followed. I can recall walking down towards the entrance of the Mens Shed in Marcia Street, on about 4 or 5 occasions. I got to about 5 to 6 feet from the door and turned and walked away. I had to get out and about. About 4 years ago I obtained an Authority to drive taxi cabs, I do one or two shifts a week. Not long after that, I joined the Mens Shed. After nearly 5 years of taking whacked in the head tablets, I have now weaned off them. 2015 and 2016 saw Marion and I do 6 ocean cruises, plus I went with a mate to Vietnam and Cambodia last October. I thoroughly enjoy my time at the Shed, the help and the advice that I get when I am doing jobs, the camaraderie, the joking etc.

Love the new shed.
Wouldn't be dead for quids.
Life's great. RON

MEMBER PROFILE : Tom Skinner


I was born on the 24th February 1945. I could never understand why a couple would conceive a child in the middle of the war in the Pacific.

We lived in Sydney for my first 3 years then moved out West when my father got a job as fettler. We moved to Peak Hill and lived alongside the railway line in tents. We were only there for a short time as there was a house to rent at Gulargambone. There I can remember, floods, dust storms and grass hopper plagues. I started school there in kindergarten. My teacher was Miss Lenard. I only had a short time till we moved again.

My father was a keen fisherman and wanted to move closer to Nambucca Heads. This next move impacted on my life a lot. We went to a small railway siding between Grafton and Casino. There was no school, so for the next three and a half years my sister and I were taught by our mother. Saying there was no school is an understatement. Within a radius of a mile from our camp site there was. The signal box, a small railway platform about 12 foot long, a loop line which had been established during the war to speed up train travel. Four houses completed the landscape. Two at the siding and two about half a
mile down the track.

There were no other children. Learning to socialise was not an option. My sister and I would call out for papers from the passenger trains passing through. We lived within the boundaries of the railway. I can remember the first diesel engine that came up the North Coast line. Once a month we would catch a goods train to Casino to shop. Because we would arrive home in the dark the engine driver would stop the train outside our tents so we didn’t have to walk home.

The landscape at Mount Neville was uninteresting. It consisted of swamps, black sandy soil, Banksia trees, and what we used to call Black Boys along with Red Bellied black snakes. There was no electricity. We had a meat safe to keep perishable food in, a fuel stove to cook on, a primus for quick snacks or boiling water. Our lamps were kerosene. The main light for the kitchen and for mum and dad when they went to bed was a Bushel’s coffee jar that dad had soldered a lamp top on. Imagine when we got a Tilly Lamp. Our radio was battery powered and we couldn’t just leave it on all day. We had a large wind up gramophone. As a child I imagined Richard Tauber would have to sing into a microphone every time dad played a record of him singing.

From the high life of Mount Neville we moved to Eungai Rail. You can only imagine the culture shock I suffered. Moving to a city after all the isolation. I attended school. Starting in 4th class. We were still living in tents. (That is living in tents. Not living intense) we only stayed there six months. My father left the railway and got a job in a sawmill at Nambucca Heads. I finished my schooling at Nambucca, got an apprenticeship as a carpenter. On the completion of that I was called up for National Service. I met my wife Sandra just before being posted to Vietnam where I served nine months with 1 Field Sqn Royal Australian Engineers.

On my return Sandra and I were married. We have a son, daughter and six grandchildren. We moved to Coffs Harbour in 1974 where I carried on a building business. After a bout of ill health I retired in 1994.Mental illness set in, in 2016 and I joined the Men’s Shed. Apparently there is no cure for this.