Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame
The Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame celebrates individuals, families or local organisations who have a strong association with Singleton and who have achieved significant prominence at a state, national or international level in their field of endeavour.
The Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame was introduced with a vision to hold up people or organisations with a close association with Singleton, from all spheres of the community, who have achieved significant recognition at a State, national or international level in their field of endeavour, and it has certainly delivered on that premise, with an illustrious list of inductees covering business people, sportspeople and community service.
The Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame began in 2009. Peabody, owners of the Wambo open cut mine in Singleton, has been the naming rights sponsor since the first induction and continue to partner with Singleton Council to add to the Hall of Fame every year since.
To be inducted to the Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame is a great honour and great recognition for those individuals and organisations. But best of all, it’s a wonderful source of pride for our community and inspiration for future generations that people from our area are making an important contribution on the national and international stage in a range of fields.
- Arts, Science and Education
- Business, Industry and Tourism
- Community Service
- Meritorious Family
- Public Service
Nominations for the 2020 Wambo Coal Singleton Hall of Fame open Friday 4 September 2020 and will close on Friday 25 September 2020.
Richard Martin – Community Service
Richard was the part owner of a local business for 20 years and a major sponsor of the Singleton Show for five years. Richard has also been an active member of the Uniting church, and has served as president of the local lions club and Probus Club.
Jenny Doran – Community Service
For the past 30 years, jenny has been providing care to people with disabilities through the Witmore Enterprises, Samaritans and St Vincent de Paul. Jenny has also poured her energy into a variety of fundraising events including the biggest morning tea, daffodil day, pink ribbon day and RSPCA cupcake day and has volunteered for a number of initiatives including the kids off the street program
Country Women’s Association Singleton – Community Service
The Country Women’s Association WSA established in Singleton in 1926 and has been an integral part of the community, providing support to rural women as well as local schools, drought relief and providing a safe space for community groups to meet.
John Martin OAM and Jan Martin (decd) – Community Service
John and Jan have been pillars of the Singleton community for all of their lifetime. John has been a Councillor since 1965 as well as the division controller for the SES, and up until her passing in 2019, Jan has been by his side as secretary and supporter. John and Jan have also been involved in Our Care services, delivered Meals on Wheels, and were members of Singleton Apex Club, Albion Park Tennis Club, Singleton Hospital community trust, and Singleton Tidy Towns.
Mick McCrone – Community Service
Mick has been a resident of Singleton since 2002 and has been an active member in the Singleton Lions Club, Singleton RSL sub branch, Rural Fire Service Bulga ever since. His long list of accolades includes the Melvin Jones fellow award by lions international for humanitarian service to the community, the James d Richardson award by Singleton Lions for dedicated service to the community and the Paul Harris fellow awarded by Singleton Rotary for outstanding service.
Vera Smith (decd) – Community Service
Vera is inducted posthumously for her continued and exemplary service to the people of Singleton. She was known for her compassion, wisdom, dedication, christian example and sense of fun. Vera was involved in the Anglican parish of Singleton, Singleton hospital auxiliary, ladies Probus club of Singleton, Lioness Club of Singleton and Putty village
David Walker – Community Service
In his 42 years as a resident of Singleton, David has provided service to the Singleton Town Band, Singleton Agricultural Show, Singleton RSL sub-branch, Justice of the Peace of NSW, 21st brigade 7th division AIF Association, Our Care services, Singleton Legacy group, and Singleton King Street Public School as a volunteer. He was Singleton Citizen of the Year in 1991, Australia Day ambassador in 1999, and a Queen’s Baton Relay Runner for the Australian Commonwealth Games in 2006.
David Williams OAM– Community Service
David moved to Singleton in 1959 and is well known as a local real estate agent. He also served as a Councillor and has a long association with the Singleton Rotary Club, Singleton Rugby Club, Singleton Business Chamber and Northern Agricultural Association incorporated. David has also been awarded a Paul Harris fellowship and a medal of the Order of Australia for Service to the community of Singleton.
Rotary Club of Singleton – Community Service
The Rotary Club of Singleton was formed in 1940 and comprises men and women of all ages from the community. Rotary has provided significant support to the community by raising much-needed funds for local charities through special community events and club activities. The Rotary Club of Singleton also sponsored the Rotary Club of Singleton on Hunter and co-sponsored the r Rotary Club of Singleton Sunrise.
Red Cross Singleton NSW branch – Community Service
The Singleton branch of the Australian Red Cross was formed on 18 August, 1914 – five days after the first Australian branch in Melbourne. The branch meets monthly and provides a range of fundraising activities, personal support, emergency and disaster support, catering and involvement with Red Cross programs.
Gail Solman – Community Service
Singleton-born Gail was pivotal in establishing Singleton’s debut into the representative netball arena and has a long involvement in coaching our rising netball stars. She was awarded life membership of Singleton Netball Association in 2018.
Ian Hedley – Business
Ian was born in Singleton and established Hedweld as a sole trader at Mt Thorley in 1980. Since its beginnings providing repair and maintenance services to the Hunter Valley mining industry, it has grown to become a world leader in the design and manufacture of innovative products. The business has been recognised with the Singleton Business Chamber’s outstanding exporter award, Hunter Manufacturers Award for Excellence in Innovation and the Premier’s NSW Export Awards.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2018
Ruth Rogers - Community Service
For anyone who knows Ruth Rogers and the breadth of her involvement in the local community, it might come as a surprise to some that she didn’t want to move to Singleton 31 years ago as a military wife. But two years later, she was involved in the establishment of the Singleton Area Military Support Network (SAMSN) for the wives of personnel, and three decades later has served as a Singleton Councillor and president of the Singleton Business Chamber – to name but two. But it’s her work with military veterans, and in particular soldiers and their families dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety that she is most passionate about these days.
As she completes a psychology degree, her work with veterans was recognised with a Ministerial Commendation delivered personally by NSW Minister for Veterans Affairs David Elliott on Tuesday. Ruth says she always had an interest in the wellbeing of returned service personnel because her father suffered from “shell shock”, but her interest grew when she saw the impacts on the latest generation of servicemen. “Our son was in the military and his mates were deployed overseas and they were coming back not just with their own problems, but they were coming back to family issues as well and if you haven’t got the support of your family, it makes it a lot harder,” she says.
“But we got more involved when he lost a few of his mates to suicide. I thought there’s got to be something more that we can do – not just for the veterans, but their families as well. And that’s when I found Australian Families of Military. They do research and raise funds for the family unit.”
Ruth is involved as a contact for military families requiring assistance, and has hosted three retreats for the wives of returned personnel.
Warren Taggart - Arts, Science and Education
Aboriginal elder, Uncle Warren Taggart, has worked tirelessly to both preserve and share the Wonnarua peoples rich history and culture.
From organising NADIOC ceremonies and assisting with the documentation and preservation of local sacred sites to educating the young, he is always willing to give up his time and enlighten others.
Over the years his journey has involved conducting regular tours of the culturally significant Baiame Cave. Warren is the author of a colouring booked aimed at pre-schoolers and his daughter Kerri-Ann did the illustrations.
Warren has been an active member of the Singleton Aboriginal Advisory Committee for many years and regular delivers Welcome to Country at various events throughout the Local Government Area.
At the Upper Hunter NAIDOC Awards held in 2016 Elder of the Year (Male) was awarded to Warren Taggart.
Singleton Scouts - Community Service
The Singleton Scout Group was formed in 1917. The troop flag was originally donated by the Dangar Family. On 20th June 2017 the Singleton Scout Group celebrated 100 years since being officially registered. The Singleton Scout Group enjoys a long term lease in Edward Street, and has over 80 members aged between 6 and 18 years. Scouting fosters, the physical, intellectual, social and spiritual development of youth, through the “Scouting Method”. The Singleton Scout Group has been involved in many community events including Clean up Australia Day activities, Broke Road Clean Up, assisting at the Singleton Show and Shine and the Milbrodale Classic.
3 King Scouts (the highest rank in many Commonwealth countries, when a king sits on the throne of England) and 7 Queen Scouts (the highest youth award achievable in the scouting movement where Scouts operate under the patronage of Queen Elizabeth II)
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2017
Dorothy Clayworth - Community Service
As a researcher, educator and custodian of our heritage and history, Dorothy (Dot) Clayworth has dedicated 50 years of dedication to recording the history of the Singleton local government area. She has been an active member of the Family History Society of Singleton Inc and Singleton Historical Social and Museum and her achievements include the publication of Singleton, Municipality and Shire: 125 Years on 1866-1991.
Dot has also had hearing loss since the late 1950s, and as a member of the Better Hearing Group promoted awareness that being deaf does not restrict you from doing activities you love.
Peggy Moore - Community Service
As the first specialist girls’ Physical Education teacher appointed to Singleton High School in 1958, Peggy has taken a lead role in encouraging girls to get involved in sport. She was instrumental in the formation of a Netball Association in Singleton and personally involved in securing Victoria Square in the cricket off-season for netball, assisting with the marking of courts and construction of posts and hoops. She has been honoured as the Patron of Singleton Netball and the clubhouse is known as the Peggy Moore Pavilion.
In addition, Peggy is the current President of the Singleton Historical Society and Museum as well as a member of the Family History Society.
AC Campbell Marshal (decd) - Public Service
Trooper Augustine Campbell Marshall served with the AIF during WWI for four years in the Middle East, and served for almost four years in the RAAF during WWII.
His public duties included 50 years as a Justic of the Peace in NSW, six years as President of the Singleton Sub-Branch of the RS&AILA, member of the NSW State Council and one of two representatives of NSW at the Federal Congress of the League.
In addition, Trooper Marshall served 34 years as a Councillor on Patrick Plains Shire Council, including 26 years as President, was the president of the Singleton Branch of the United Australia Party and later the Liberal Party, and involved in a number of agricultural committees in the Singleton area.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2016
As one of Australia’s most successful dirt track competitors, Luke has won more than 39 Australian and close to 60 State Championship titles. His accolades also include numerous All Star and Legends events against top riders from all racing disciplines.
Singleton born and bred, Luke is a member of the Singleton Motorcycle Club, Singleton Rugby Club and Singleton Diggers Club, and is closely assocated with local businesses that sponsor and encourage his riding career. He also spends considerable time coaching junior motorcycle riders in the Hunter and NSW.
Luke continues to work towards advancing his competitive career and has now set his sights on competing at international events.
A World War II veteran, Harry has been an active member of the Singleton community all his life and his contribution to a range of organisations spans many decades, most notably 60 years as a member of the Rotary Club of Singleton including a stint as president in 1962/63.
For more than 50 years, Harry has held executive positions in the Methodist Church and then the Uniting Church in Singleton, and has been an active Committee Member as well as the District Knight Commander covering Muswellbrook, Singleton and Cessnock through to Maitland, Dungog and Stroud for five years.
Harry is also an active volunteer, having worked for the Singleton Visitor Information Centre, Meals On Wheels and the Elizabeth Gates Village Auxiliary.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2015
Kaye Hornery - Community Service
Kaye worked for more than 25 years in the disability industry and retired from work after 13 years with Witmore Enterprises in 2014. During her tenure working with the disabled Kaye was held in the highest of esteem not only by her clients and their families, but by her colleagues as well.
Kaye was recognised by many disability organisations and government departments as an innovator who had a passion for the rights of people with disabilities. At a time where state government bodies like the Department of Ageing, Disability and Home Care (DADHC) were just starting out and did not have a clear formula on disabilities programs, Kaye dedicated herself to research, design and implementation of innovative programs for improved disability care. Many of Kaye’s practices were adopted by DADHC, who recommended them across the disability network as a service template for best practice.
Kaye started the ATLAS (Adult Training, Learning and Support) Program for Witmore in 2001, this program was rolled out by DADHC and set the benchmark for disability services providers throughout NSW. Kaye also introduced new service roles such as client services manager, in which Kaye designed systems that delivered higher outcomes and integrated the kind of reporting and self-auditing that we see today throughout Australian disability enterprises. Kaye spent her final working years as a compliance and training manager, developing and implementing innovative programs for clients including: drivers licence training and an employee assistance program, to better facilitate referrals of clients to external supports such as drug and alcohol counselling, occupational therapists and mental health professionals.
Kaye’s legacy continues to provide a clear structure for improved care for people with a disability throughout Australia.
Arthur Francis CSC OAM
In 1964, Arthur joined the Army, serving with distinction until his retirement in 1997. During his time with the Army, Arthur saw active service in Malaysia, Borneo and Vietnam, and also travelled extensively to other parts of the world. From his early rank of Private, he rose to become one of Australia’s most senior soldiers as Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A). In 1987 he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal and in 1997, the Conspicuous Service Cross. In 2011 the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Veterans' Affairs, Warren Snowdon launched the Australian Government's commitment of $3.3 million towards a world-first education centre in Washington DC honouring Vietnam veterans. Arthur was appointed by Ms Gillard and Mr Snowden as one of Australia's delegates to Washington.
On retirement from the service he spent 10 years working at the Infantry Centre Singleton under contract for the Department of Defence. He is on the board of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps Museum, he is the Secretary of the Singleton Legacy Group and has aided in the support of more than 68 widows in the Singleton area. He offers weekly visits to those living independently, on top of his regular volunteer work for Meals on Wheels.
While serving and now as a retired military member Arthur chose Singleton as his home and has been an active member of the Singleton branch and the Newcastle branch of legacy, he has been foremost in assisting to grow the numbers of the Legatees in the area and promotes and represents Legacy on Anzac Days, Remembrance Day, Long Tan Day (Vietnam Veterans Day) and visiting local schools.
Arthur is honoured in the Singleton Hall of Fame for his unyielding dedication to the Legacy foundation and his sincere kindness towards others.
Singleton Legacy Group
Singleton Legacy was formed in 1948 after the Second World War in order to care for widows left behind after the war. Legacy is dedicated to caring for the families of veterans who have died or become incapacitated either on service or subsequently.
Through programs in support of the ageing, Legacy aims to provide comfort and security to those who find themselves alone and vulnerable. Singleton Legacy currently provides care and support to more than 68 widows and four wards. Care is provided on the basis of need; while some widows require little more than advice, others require more extensive assistance e.g. pension advocacy, providing safety and security, relieving financial hardship, combating social isolation and providing medical care. Regardless of the level of care required, Legacy is committed to ensuring no widow of a deceased veteran will ever face life's challenges alone.
Singleton Legacy is a voluntary organisation that raises funds through donations, campaigns, merchandise and through the march outs at the Singleton Infantry School, golf days and Legacy balls. All funds raised are expended on local widows and wards.
Legacy is supported by the work of dedicated Legatees, volunteers, staff members and widows. These individuals make up a dynamic community of people, ranging from school children to senior citizens. It is with their assistance that Legacy is able to continue working to support the dependants of incapacitated and deceased veterans.
Singleton Cancer Appeal Committee
"Raise Local - Stay Local", is the motto for the Singleton Cancer Appeal. The Singleton Cancer Appeal was founded in April 1984 to benefit cancer sufferers and their families in the Singleton Local Government Area. It strives to address the needs of the Singleton and District Hospital palliative care sector.
The original reason behind the group's formation was to establish a place of privacy and dignity at the Singleton Hospital for patients suffering from terminal cancer. The pink and green rooms were established to give families this privacy in a place that is so very public. From here bit by bit the Singleton Cancer Appeal has provided the Singleton Hospital with various pieces of equipment to enable more diagnostic and surgical procedures to be carried out.
Singleton Cancer Appeal has raised more than $1 million to fund the local hospital and various other cancer related projects. The accomplishments of the Singleton Cancer Appeal include the creation and refurbishment of four special care rooms at the Singleton and District Hospital and assistance with the expenses of cancer treatment for families whose children have been affected by cancer, in particular accommodation costs for families to stay with their child at Ronald McDonald House at John Hunter Hospital. In addition the committee has purchased much needed equipment for the hospital and palliative care district nurses and patients so that they can be as comfortable as possible throughout the various stages of this terminal illness.
The Singleton Cancer Appeal Committee is honoured in the Singleton Hall of Fame for its continued commitment to providing patients and their families with comfort and support while enduring a hardship such as cancer.
Frederick Ernest Willcox
Fred arrived in Australia from England in 1905 and lived in Singleton for 60 years. Beginning work as a film projectionist in a town hall and later at the Strand Theatre. Fred also worked at the railway refreshment rooms selling butter and ice.
Fred was elected to council in 1925 and for 15 years fought for a sewerage scheme for the town, being successful in getting the
council to accept a government grant in 1937 in his first term as Mayor.
A mark of Fred's progressive thinking and dedication to his community was evident in his establishment of the 'Werona' Bowling Club in Andrew Street. 'Werona' was originally a bowling club for women who, at the time, were not permitted to play at the Singleton Bowling Club. It later became a club for both men and women. Frederick and his wife were also members of the town’s original Ambulance committee. Fred worked to establish Singleton baths, was president of the swimming club, president of the Boy Scouts, a member of the hospital board, Masonic Lodge and life member of the Northern Agricultural Association and treasurer of the operatic society.
Fred was infamous as a very strict master of ceremonies at balls and dances throughout the Singleton district. He taught dancing at the Showground Pavilion each week and prepared the debutantes each year. Fred is remembered by family as a dedicated family man, incredibly community minded and extremely humble. He died at Singleton in 1965.
Geoff was born and bred in Singleton and has been a member of the Rotary Club of Singleton for over 30 years. In that time Geoff has constructed 30 cubby houses that have been raffled to raise funds by Singleton Rotary Club. The construction of these cubbyhouses has raised more than $100,000 for the local community. Even after losing his beloved last year he still made the cubby house in time for it to be raffled off and displayed in Singleton Square.
Geoff has also been involved in many other community projects with the Rotary Club of Singleton, most notably the planning and construction of the block of toilets at the rear of Bourke Arcade, during his term as president.
Geoff is truly a remarkable Rotarian and has demonstrated outstanding commitment to the Singleton community. Geoff is a lifetime member of Singleton Rugby and assisted in the restoration of the Munro Fountain. Geoff received the Paul Harris Award for his commitment to community service with the Rotary Club. In 1965 he was a contributing founder of the Singleton Junior League, Geoff was also heavily involved in the Police Boys Club and would take groups of boys from the PCYC to march in Sydney.
Geoff is recognised in the Singleton Hall of Fame for his compassion and commitment to the Singleton community throughout the years.
Flynn Lefmann - Sport
Flynn is a remarkable young man. At just 15 years old Flynn represented Australia in the 2014 International Children’s Games hosted by Lake Macquarie, where he achieved a bronze medal for long jump. The International Children's Games is the largest multi sport youth games in the world. Flynn competed against 40 of the top athletes from around the world in long jump and leaped an impressive 6.43 metres.
Flynn has represented Singleton and Australia in a number of other sporting events including: NSW Country Champion - 1st place in Long Jump for 2013, 2014 and 2015; Combined Independent Schools state championship; NSW All Schools State Championship; NSW State Multi Event, in which Flynn was competing in eight track and field events over two days and Little Athletics State Championships. He has been involved locally with the Singleton Junior Soccer Club for more than 11 years, including the 2014 Lake Macquarie Under 15 National Premier League and the 2015 Maitland City Football Club Under 17 National Premier League. Even after sustaining significant injuries to both his back and hamstring Flynn continuously strives to exceed his personal best and is a positive ambassador for this community.
Aubrey was born in Singleton on 24 October 1919. After leaving school, Aubrey joined his father and brother in the family men's clothing business which was then known as Harry Bourke and Sons. He worked in this business for 45 years and during these years if any young Singleton boy lost his father and the widow was suspected of not being well off, the family would offer to donate clothing from the store if ever they should need them.
In 1939 Aubrey joined the Army and on completion of training attained the rank of Lieutenant. He was dispatched overseas where he saw active service in Borneo and was discharged in January 1946 after the war ended. He then returned to the family business.
Aubrey married Mollie Fraser on 5 May 1943 and they settled into domestic bliss at 12A Gas Street Singleton, raising two children. Aubrey was a member of the Singleton Town Band from 1931 - 1940 he played the cornet and the kettle drums and was made treasurer in 1935. He was also trustee of the band from 1957 to 1968 and was made a life time member in 1939 along with his father, brother and step-mother.
Aubrey had many roles throughout his life in Singleton. He was a member of the Singleton Methodist Church and then Uniting Church, president of the Parents and Citizens Association at South Singleton Infants School, volunteered for the Tourist information centre, while it was still in a caravan during 1980s, treasurer of South Singleton Cricket and a founding member of the Singleton Horticultural Society and president for a time. Aubrey and Mollie also won second prize in the Sydney Morning Herald Garden Competition during the 1960s.
Along with all his achievements and roles in Singleton, Aubrey was an avid and generous blood donor. He would regularly receive telephone calls from Singleton Hospital, usually between 11pm and 3am to donate blood.
During 1990s Aubrey was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, but he and his wife Mollie continued to be a part of Tidy Towns Committee during this difficult time
Mollie Margaret Bourke
Mollie was born in Singleton on 11 September 1921. Mollie was educated at Whittingham Public School and Singleton High School.
When it came to fundraising Mollie was queen of the kitchen and there would not have been many people in the Singleton district who had not sampled her cooking.
Mollie also contributed to the opening of the Elizabeth Gates Aged People's Home. In 1960 Mollie along with other volunteers began to clean up Mr Gate's home in preparation for it to become the Aged People's Home. The home was officially opened by the then Governor General, Sir John Northcott on 23 May, 1964 with about 12 beds. The home has since grown over the years and now accommodates 35 aged care beds and 50 beds in the hostel section.
When Mollie’s husband became sick with Alzheimer 's disease Mollie became his full time carer and while all other types of charity work had to be put aside Mollie decided that they could still be members of Tidy Town Committee. Mollie and Aubrey would regularly pick up rubbish or weed, around the Singleton district, mostly at their chosen garden in Munro Street, near Singleton Railway Station. Mollie passed away on 17 February, 2011. Mollie and Aubrey are honoured and remembered in the Singleton Hall of Fame as true pillars of this community.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2014
Lyn MacBain - Community Service
Lyn MacBain is a stalwart of the Singleton community and has worn many hats across many projects, causes and organisations.
She has been the chairperson of the Singleton Tidy Towns Committee for more than 20 years, leading Singleton to its win in 2005 as the NSW overall winner.
She has a university degree in family history and has been involved with the Singleton Family History group for many years. She often helps people research their family history and it is not uncommon for her to help people throughout the world trace their own family roots. Her expertise in local history has also made her an invaluable member of the Singleton Heritage Committee.
Lyn is an active member of the Singleton Shire Healthy Environment Group, responsible for establishing the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network.
She is the chairperson of 74 George Street’s management committee, a challenging role that coordinates a variety of users of the building. She is also a former Singleton Councillor, serving from 2004 to 2012.
Lyn has extended her ability to get people involved in community projects through Adopt-a-Spot, Clean Up Australia Day, and tree plantings among other projects.
Robbie Merrick- Community Service
Robbie Merrick was born and bred in Singleton and come to live in Broke in 1984. He quickly became involved in the Broke Public Hall and Broke Village Fair and is a very active member of the Broke Rural Fire Brigade. He has been a member for 30 years and is currently Senior Deputy Captain.
Robbie was deployed in the extensive fires of 1994, 1998 and 2001 in the Broke and surrounding districts. In 2009, he travelled to Victoria to help control a major bushfire where many lives were lost and homes destroyed. In 2010, he travelled to Grafton to help the community fight a major bushfire there.
He has received an impressive array of awards for his fire service including awards from the Government of NSW in recognition of involvement and support in preserving life and property in 1994 and 2001/2002 bushfire campaign. He has been recognised a foundation member of the NSW Rural Fire Service on its establishment in 1997 and was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation by the Singleton District of the NSW Rural Fire Service for his assistance and support to the Broke Rural Fire Brigade in 2003.
He has been a trustee of the Broke Hall for 30 years and in 2004 was awarded a Trustee Long Service Award from the Department of Lands in recognition of his years of service.
Norman Oldknow- Community Service
Norman Dallas Oldknow, affectionately known as “Esky”, founded the Singleton branch of the Church of England Boys Society (CEBS) in 1956 and was the Governor for almost 30 years. The aim of the youth organisation was to teach boys and young men respect and responsibility and this was achieved through participation in individual and team sports and activities.
A full-time employee of the Post Master General’s office, Esky would take his leave during the school holidays so that he could coordinate activities for CEBS members including camping trips, hikes, bus trips, bike riding, and marching among others. Esky would have the boys picking fruit to help farmers, selling Legacy badges and volunteer for other duties as required.
Due to poor health, he handed over the Governorship after 27 years but still remained closely associated with the society. His dedication and commitment afforded the youth of Singleton, especially in the earlier years, opportunities that were not otherwise available. No other branch of CEBS in the organisation’s history in Australia has catered for the same number of boys or existed for this length of time.
Esky passed away in March 1993.
Neil McNamara OAM - Public Service
Neil McNamara has been serving the community of Singleton since 1965 when he was a Councillor on Patrick Plains Shire Council. He was Shire President from 1972 to 1975 and successfully led the Council in negotiations for the amalgamation of the shire with Singleton Municipal Council in 1976. He became the first President of the new Singleton Shire Council, as position he held for 23 years as President and later Mayor of Singleton until 1998.
He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his services to the Singleton community in 1984 and was made a Freeman of the Singleton Shire in 2000.
In addition, Neil was chairman of Singleton Cooperative Society Store, director of Singleton Dairy Cooperative, a Councillor and Chairman of Shortland County Council, chairman of Hunter Region Councils and patron of countless charities and community organisations.
His generosity and time given to Singleton and the Hunter Region have made him a legend in his own time.
Singleton Art Prize
Rotary Club on Hunter - Community Service to the Arts
The Rotary Club on Hunter has coordinated the Singleton Art Prize for many years following the initiative of the Singleton Artists Group. The acquisitive category has now provided Singleton with a very valuable art collection with painting by renowned artists.
The Art Prize requires an enormous amount of time and effort from volunteers to ensure the event runs smoothly from enlisting judges to hanging paintings, to arranging catering and music. Each year, the proceeds from opening night are distributed to many deserving community groups who provide many and varied services throughout Singleton.
The club has also provided further opportunities through the provision of new categories to encourage local artists, young artists and children with a disability. Without the support of Rotary Club on Hunter, the Singleton Art Prize would not be the cultural and artistic highlight it has become on the Hunter Valley events calendar.
The Bourke Family - Meritorious Family
The Bourke family has been contributing to the Singleton community since the early 1900s. Henry Bourke, better known as Harry, started a menswear business in John Street in 1927 and enjoyed success and expansion until his death in 1967. Bourke’s Arcade can still be found at 126 John St where the business once stood. Although the business was foremost, Harry found time to be an active member in many local organisations.
A member of the Ambulance Committee for 12 years from 1940 to 1952, he loaned the money to purchase the first ambulance for Singleton, run from a rented cottage in Castlereagh Street. Later, he and Fred Wilcox went guarantor to finance the purchase of the existing building in John St which then become the ambulance station and residence.
Harry was a founding member of Singleton Volunteer Fire Brigade at the age of 19 and was a member until 1927. He served as a fireman, committeeman and fundraiser. He received the Long Service Medal and Bar for service.
He was a life member of the Northern Agricultural Association, a director of the Singleton and District Hospital Board and patron of the Horticultural Society and Chamber of Commerce.
Harry’s son, Clive, was born in 1914 and devoted 37 years of his life to serving local government in Singleton. In the 1930s, Clive was elected as the Foundation Secretary of the Singleton District Ambulance and became a life member, was a member of the Singleton Town Band for 60 years and secretary of the Singleton and District Chamber of Commerce.
Clive was elected to the Singleton Municipal Council in December 1950 and served 26 years including nine terms as Mayor. He also served seven terms as Deputy Mayor. After amalgamation with Patrick Plains Shire Council, Clive continued to serve on the Singleton Shire Council for a further 11 years.
In 1968, Clive was awarded an OBE for his devotion to local government and restoration and rehabilitation of the community after the 1955 flood.
In 1975, he was awarded the National Medal for Service which recognises long and diligent service by members of government and volunteer organisations that risk their lives to protect or assist the community during times of disaster.
In 1996, Clive was the inaugural recipient of the Senior Citizen of the Year Award for Singleton.
Clive passed away in July 1996 at the age of 82.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2013
Edward Butler - Community Pride
Edward, known as Ted, was born and raised in Singleton and a member of the third generation of his family to call Singleton home.
Ted’s volunteer activities began as a young man as a handy man at All Saint’s Church. He helped to maintain the grounds, church and the rectory. Among his duties, Ted was responsible for winding the clock in the tower of the church each week, which he did for 49 years.
Ted was on the engineering team that installed the bells in the tower of All Saints and on the All Saints Vestry for 17 years. He was also a voluntary worker at St Elizabeth’s Girls Home for about 30 years.
Ted, and wife Betty, volunteered for the Anglican Samaritans Foundation for three decades and he was a very active volunteer at Safe Haven and offered assistance to the people from Kosovo during their stay at Lone Pine Barracks, Singleton in 1999. He was a supporter of the Samaritan Group homes and the social group Cross Roads for the intellectually impaired.
For 20 years, Ted delivered meals and good company to those in need for Meals on Wheels as well as being an active member of the Singleton Museum and Historical Society.
When Ted and Betty lived at Sedgefield, they regularly opened their home and garden for the residents of Elizabeth Gates Homes and St Elizabeth group homes, Alroy and Cooinda Hostels, the senior citizens centre, Witmore Enterprise and the Kosovo people from Safe Haven.
Even Ted’s hobbies became an act of generosity and community. He made billy carts, go-carts and wooden toys, and restored bikes, tricycles, slippery dips and scooters and gifted them to children who appreciated them.
Three years ago, ill health prevented Ted from continuing with his volunteer work and he and Betty retired.
Allan Ball – Business and Industry
Allan was born on the family grazing property “Grenell” at Bowman’s Creek, Singleton. In the 1950s decided to increase the beef cattle herd and reduce its mob of Merino. This was to be the start of Allan’s lifelong passion for improving the beef cattle industry.
Starting out with Herefords and Shorthorns, the family introduced Angus cattle to the herd and it was Allan who purchased a Santa Gertrudis bull to start a cross breeding program. It was not a popular decision with his father, but proved to be a good one that won the family many ribbons and prizes throughout the region.
In the 1960s, Allan began to investigate pasture improvements despite it being frowned on by the industry. His instinct paid off and as his pastures improved, so did the cattle, growing bigger and heavier and fetching a better price.
Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Allan worked with the Department of Agriculture as new breeds were introduced into Australia. He learnt a lot during this period, and the department learnt a lot from him. Allan was asked to give talks to other producers about the initiatives he had taken to improve his herd and the results he had achieved.
As market trends changed, wanting more muscle and less fat, Allan refined his breeding program. In 1975, during the depths of cattle recession, Allan bought a Charolais bull and joined him with Angus and Angus cross cows. The results spokes for themselves, the progeny wining at the Newcastle Hoof and Hook competition in 1977. Allan bought more Charolais bulls which improved the herd and his results in Led Steer and Carcase competitions.
In 1986, after competing at the Singleton Fat Stock Show, Allan saw a need to start a new local competition. He was a founding member of the Singleton Hoof and Hook Competition, now known as Singleton Beef and Land Management Association Incorporated.
In 1993, Allan suggested the Association hold an event for students on how to judge cattle and learn what to look for when selecting an animal. The first Singleton Junior Judging Competition was a great success. The event still runs today with more than 200 students competing. Allan also introduced workshops for students on animal health, cuts of beef, pest control, parading and grooming.
Allan co-founded the Maitland Show Cattle Clinic which is now known as the Allan Ball Cattle Clinic
He became a regular at Tocal Agricultural College speaking to students or providing blacksmithing demonstrations. He judged at many different shows and Hoof and Hook events throughout NSW, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania. His own show successes included Grand Champion at Royal Brisbane Show (EKKA) 2006 and 2007 and Champion Hoof and Hook Melbourne 2004. The Brisbane Royal Show now presents a perpetual trophy in memory of Allan to the Grand Champion Led Steer on the Hoof.
Barry Cox – Community Pride
Barry was born and raised in Singleton. His contribution to the welfare of the community extends over many years and many activities.
As a young man he joined Singleton Apex Club and remained an active member for 22 years, becoming president of the club in 1967-68, District Governor in 1978-80 and was granted life membership when he reached the club’s retiring age in 1981.
In 1983, he joined Singleton Rotary and was elected president in 1998-99. In 1998, Barry was made a Paul Harris Fellow for recognition of his outstanding work within the community.
Barry was a volunteer for 15 years with the Singleton Visitor Information Centre, a member of the Singleton Community College Board and for a period of time on the council of King Street Public School. He was a Freemason of the Singleton craft for 45 years and was the Worshipful Master of the lodge in 1974.
Barry is a liturgical assistant with the Singleton Anglican Church, Pastoral Care Chairman, a parish council member and a member of the parish ministry team. He has completed three years at the Newcastle School of Theology and is a commissioned lay minister. As chairman of the Grief and Bereavement Committee, Barry gives a great deal of time and comfort to those in need. He is the Bishop’s Appointee for social welfare and justice to the Newcastle Synod.
He is also an accidental counsellor with Lifeline. He works with the Department of Community Services with children and their visiting parents and grandparents as well as being a counsellor at Bulga Coal. His visits Singleton District Hospital to care and counsel patients and runs a six-monthly collection of groceries and other necessities at Bulga Coal for those less fortunate.
Barry is an organiser and member of the RUOK group at Broke for on-shift and off-shift miners. Once a week in the early morning, this group provides sausages, coffee, tea and a chat with miners preparing to go on shift or those who have just finished. The intent is to provide workers a chance to relax, refresh and open up and discuss the stresses shift work places on them physically and on their relationships.
Thea Fleming – Community Pride
Thea immigrated to Australia from South Africa in 1997 and has lived in Singleton for 16 years.
Thea was an accomplished artist in South Africa and was a member of the Water Colour Society, the Pastel Society of South Africa, Brush and Chisel Society and the Miniature Society of South Africa.
On arriving in Singleton, Thea immediately involved herself with the art community on a voluntary basis. She exhibited at the Singleton Art Prize run by the Rotary Club of Singleton on Hunter and has assisted with the hanging of the paintings in each show since 1997.
Thea became involved with teaching art on a voluntary basis at Hunter Street School providing a weekly session of art lessons to all the junior school students. She developed her own program introducing them to the works of old masters and other famous artists. Examples include the Leonardo da Vinci lesson when they emulated the famous artist by pinning their art paper under their desk and lying on their backs to paint.
Thea was co-opted onto the art committee of the Singleton Parents Committee of the school which for many years organised a very successful school art show. She arranged for visiting artists to hold workshops at the shows in addition to participating herself.
She used her contacts at the Singleton Masonic Lodge to arrange for the donation of a digital camera for Singleton Public School Special Unit for the use of staff when teaching. She was involved in these activities for eight years, although her grandchildren no longer attended. For five years, she also voluntarily taught art on a weekly basis at Hunter Valley Grammar School.
When the Kosovo refugees were living in Singleton in 1999 at the Lone Pine Barracks, Thea volunteered to assist the local Red Cross branch and organised weekly remedial art classes for the duration of their stay.
In 2001, Thea was asked to assist at Witmore Enterprise as a volunteer teaching art to clients. She continues to do so, attending every Tuesday morning for the past 12 years.
Thea is an active member of the Singleton Tidy Towns Committee and became involved in the Adopt-a-Spot program in 1998. She still participates on a regular basis.
She partnered with Singleton Public Library to provide several workshops during the Singleton Arts Festival, during which she donated her time. She has also supports her husband, Jack,who is a member of the Lions Club of Singleton, helping with the local Driver Reviver Scheme, Lions Book Fair, raffles and catering.
Thea has donated many paintings to not-for-profit organisations throughout Singleton that have been offered as prizes or auctioned, raising thousands of dollars for charity.
Thea was Singleton’s Citizen of the Year in 2003.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2012
Michael Akrill - Community Pride
Michael has spent his entire adult life in Singleton fostering sports participation in the Singleton Local Government Area. His love of cricket and soccer has led to a lifetime of devotion to these sports. He is a life member of the Singleton Junior Soccer Club, Singleton Senior Soccer Club, Singleton District Junior Cricket Association, and the Singleton District Cricket Association. His influence on these sports in Singleton has been profound.
Although cricket has been played in the area since early times, the organising of cricket and in particular junior cricket into the well run, structured, competitions we have today is in no small way due to his efforts. For a generation of junior cricketers in Singleton, he is the “face” of junior cricket. He has successful run overseas cricket tours for the EMU’s as Team Manager. Whether it be preparing turf wickets, coaching, umpiring, team manager, or helping out local school teams, no one has done more to foster junior cricket in Singleton.
Michael was instrumental in starting junior and senior clubs for soccer in Singleton, a sport which is now one of Singleton’s biggest participation sports. He is the curator of Howe Park, a coach, team manager, committee person, writes the articles for the Singleton Argus, is the first point of contact for local schools who wish to use Howe Park’s playing facilities, and continues to play a key role behind the scenes for soccer in Singleton. He has been a board member for Northern NSW Football and is a former Singleton Sports Council representative.
Kevin Hallett - Sport
Kevin was born in Singleton and is the only Singleton resident to represent Australia in swimming events in the Olympics Games.
He represented Australia in the 1948 Games in London and also the 1950 Auckland Empire Games. Kevin also achieved at both State and National Level in swimming.
Kevin is a member of the Hunter Academy of Sport, listed in their Sporting Hall of Fame. He was awarded life membership of the Singleton Swimming Club in 1986. Besides swimming and water polo Kevin has played a very active part in the operation of the Singleton Bowling Club and has been a winner of the Club’s Pennants Team.
Besides his significant sporting achievements Kevin has made major contributions to the Singleton Community through his accounting business, Service Clubs and the development of the All Saints Court Senior Residential facility. The Hallett Family is also recognised by the naming of Hallett Place.
Singleton Diggers - Community Pride
Singleton Diggers was established as the Singleton Returned Servicemen’s Club. The Community Chest was established in 1982 and continues today. The Diggers donate a large percentage of trading surplus to local charity groups. The example set by Singleton Diggers Community Chest was instrumental in the introduction of the Club Grants programme initiated by the NSW Government.
Apart from the Community Chest assistance is provided to the Legacy Widows who receive gifts each Christmas and Singleton Tidy Towns Committee – the Club was awarded the Club Partnership Award High Commendation in 2005 and the award in 2006. Raffle items are donated to the Singleton Pre-Schools, a Mega Toy Raffle is run annually with the proceeds retained by the participating schools, the Gallipoli Scholarship in run in conjunction with the Singleton Army Camp and provides cadets based at Lone Pine Barracks to go to ANZAC Cove in Turkey, provide a gift to the Singleton Citizen of the Year and Young Achiever of the Year at the annual Singleton Australia Day Awards, a sponsor of the Singleton Outstanding Business Awards, King Street Cracker Night and the Singleton Theatrical Society annual productions. Max Potential Programme is a program run for high school students who are coached and mentored and students are given the opportunity to create a community project. There is a Senior of the Year award during Senior Week and a Carer of the Year Award. Since 1997 High School students are invited annually to attend the Club to hear a motivational speaker.
The Diggers function rooms are frequently used by community and sporting groups to hold organisational meetings free of charge.
Ray Robinson - Community Pride
Ray Robinson comes from a prominent Singleton family and for most of his life has made a significant contribution to the local community in terms of arts, music, business, sport, community pride and meritorious family. He is a person of excellent character and is known for his generosity and interest in people generally.
Ray has been playing the organ for church services in an honorary capacity for many years, is an active member of All Saints Vestry and Singleton Parish Parochial Council, has been a member of the Rorke-Hunter Memorial Trust since 1976, a trust which provides finance for the additional training of priests and lay people within the Anglican Community, is a member of the Church’s historic building committee, has researched and written the historical books on the Parish.
He was a member of the 1st Singleton Scout Troop, competed at State Level competition for swimming, was a member of the Singleton Water Polo Team which won the NSW Country title three years in succession, was the Singleton High School Swimming Champion and later Secretary and President of the Singleton Amateur Swimming Club in the late 1960’s.
Ray was a member of the School Cadet Corps, a National Serviceman in 1956 and was one of the finalists for best national serviceman in that intake.
He joined Singleton Apex Club as a foundation member in 1954, was President in 1962-3 retiring with Life Membership in 1976. Joined Singleton Rotary Club in 1983 , was President in 2000-01 and was made a Paul Harris Fellow in 2005. Ray is a member of the Singleton’s Men’s Probus Club and until recently was its Secretary.
Ray joined the Singleton Argus in 1951 learning various facets of journalists and printing crafts and later became editor and general manager. In 1956 and 1958 he was NSW press photographer of the year. Chairman and member NSWCPA Technical Committee. He was a Director of Radio Stations 2NX and 2NM.
Was a member of the Singleton Arts and Music Society Management Committee from 1984-87 and Vice Chairman from 1985 – 1987 and has continued his membership through the intervening period.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2011
Colin Fisher OAM - Community Pride
Colin Fisher was born on 23 January 1923 and passed away on 7 July 2003. His public life commenced when he became part of the second Australian Imperial Force as a Captain in Papua New Guinea, Borneo and Celebes. Colin Fisher met Adrienne Goldring a member of the Women’s Auxiliary Australian Air Force during this period and they were married after the War on 6 January 1949.
In 1956 Colin Fisher was elected to the Patrick Plains Shire Council where he served for 13 years. He entered Parliament on 14 February 1970 after a by-election and served for 18 years as a National Party MP, and was a former Minister for Local Government and Lands and Forests. He also served as a Shadow Minister and was a Member of the Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee.
He received an Australian Honour Award in recognition of his years of public service and was a tireless worker for the people of Australia. His association with the Hunter River Water Users Association, the Jerry’s Plains Bushfire Brigade, Chairman of Old Sydney Town Committee indicated his continued association with the community.
Colin MacDonald - Community Pride
Colin MacDonald was born in Lithgow NSW on 25 January 1941 and moved with his family to Singleton after the War. He became involved in boxing on a visit to Sydney to see a doctor. In 1957 the National
Fitness Youth Centre Boxing commenced and Colin became a member. In 1965 the National Fitness Youth Centre boxing became the Police Boys Club.
Colin boxed in the lightweight division and went on to represent Singleton in the Hunter Valley Boxing Championships and in 1958 was invited to try out for the 1960 Olympics but had to withdraw due to a medical condition.
Colin moved to Sydney and began training at Ron James Gym in Revesby. He started coaching at the Bankstown PCYC and then moved back to Singleton to work in the mines and has coached boxing in the Singleton area as well as other PCYC’s in the Hunter region.
In 1977 he suffered a broken back at work and concentrated on his rehabilitation and boxing training so he could regain his mobility and continue his association with the PCYC.
In 1994 Colin was granted the title of Life Governor of the PCYC in recognition of his continued and meritorious commitment to the PCYC and its values and services as a volunteer. The PCYC Mission is to get young people active in life, work with young people to develop their skills, character and leadership and to prevent and reduce crime by and against young people.
On 23 August, 2000 Colin was awarded the Australian Sports Medal for “Outstanding Achievement in Boxing and 46+ years Service to PCYC”. Colin retired from boxing coaching at the Singleton PCYC on 23 July 2011 at the age of 70 years after 55 years of continual service to the sport of boxing to the PCYC organisation and the Singleton Community.
Apex Club of Singleton Inc. - Community Pride
In May 1954 the Singleton Rotary Club initiated the formation of a local Apex Club and at its inaugural meeting held on 2 August, 1954, 30 members were present. The provisional club members had to prove themselves in the sphere of community service to obtain their Charter in the Association of Apex Clubs. The Club earned their Charter by raising over £700 for the Youth Centre Appeal. It was the tremendous work of the Club following the disastrous 1955 flood that welded the members together in the firm bonds of friendship and service that remains in the Club to this day. The Club was presented its Charter on 22 October, 1955 and the Charter Dinner was attended by 130 guests from all over the State.
Early service schemes included the establishment of Apex Park, the launching of a successful appeal to erect a two way radio mast for the Ambulance Station, the paying of a permanent water line to the Aboriginal Inland Mission at Minimbah. In 1963 Singleton coordinated Operation “Haylift” that saw 2800 bales of hay shipped to farmers affected by floods on the North Coast. During the 1970’s and 1980’s the Club was recognized at the Herald Service Awards for significant contribution to the community on four occasions for work establishing a helipad at Singleton Hospital, Apex Skateland, St Elizabeth Group Hostel and the Sports Centre.
Throughout its history the Club has been an active contributor to the Association of Apex at various levels. The Club was “NSW Club of the Year” in 1996, 1997 and 2008 and was awarded the 2004 NSW Membership trophy.
The Club continues its tradition of serving Singleton through its service, citizenship, community and youth activities.
Bob Moore - Community Pride
Bob Moore is a former Teacher, Singleton Council’s Economic Development Officer and a stalwart of the community he chose to live in following a posting with the Education Department in 1958.
He is a Justice of the Peace, holds Life Membership of the Singleton Apex Club, Singleton Theatrical Society, Howe Park Tennis Club and Singleton High School P&C Association.
Bob was the Local Controller of the State Emergency Services from 1972 to 1998 and the Deputy Local Controller from 1998 to the present time. He is also a member and has held executive positions on the Singleton Historical Society, Probus Club, Singleton Development Support Team, Singleton Skills Development Team, Singleton Woodworkers and has been a volunteer for the Singleton Visitor Information Centre.
He was awarded Australia Day Citizen of the Year in 1986, National Medal for Service, State Emergency Service Long Service Medal and Bars and the Education Service Medal.
Other community service has been provided to the:
- Singleton Youth Centre Management Committee
- Singleton Technical College Advisory Committee
- No 74 George Street Community Centre Management Committee
- Singleton Junior Soccer (Foundation Member)
- Singleton Civic Centre Building Committee
- Spring Festival Organising Committee
- Singleton Pre-School Kindergarten
- Singleton Town Band Centenary Committee
- Singleton Mining Advisory Committee
- Kosovo Refugees Community Liaison Coordinator
- Annual Contribution to Cystic Fibrosis Association NSW.
Lionel Caban - Sport
Lionel Caban was the Australian Reserve Champion Cowboy in 1967, the Australian All Round Cowboy in 1968 and 1969 and five National Titles were awarded to Mr Caban in 1969 including All Round Champion, Bareback Champion, Bull riding Champion, Calf Roping Champion, and Bull dogging Champion.
He was the first person to win the five titles in one year.
In 1970 Mr Caban was awarded Reserve Champion Cowboy of Australia. To obtain eligibility for these competitions Mr Caban was Zone Champion and Sydney Royal Easter Show Champion many times. Mr Caban is featured in the Australian Stockman’s Hall of Fame in recognition of his outstanding achievements in the field of Australia Bushman, Campdraft and Rodeo Association National Competition.
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2010
- Steve Merrick
- Andrew Garvie
- Witmore Enterprises Inc.
- Charles and Laurie Henry
- Lancaster Family
HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES 2009
- Sir Charles Wade
- John Halter
- Singleton Town Band
- Singleton Lions Club
- Pegasus Group