DMR NSW EX-EMPLOYEE SITE
LETTERS and QUERIES
Updated 3rd November, 2015.
|2015 DMR Reunion!
Trevor Mace has organised a DMR
reunion on Saturday 21st November, approx 12 noon start at the
cnr Pitt and Goulburn Sts, Sydney (near the old HO). All you
have to do is turn up.
Like to help keep us online? Please go to the end of this page.
EXAMINING INMATE LIST 1969 to 1984
| DMR OLD &
BOLD PHOTO ARCHIVE 122 b/w DMR photos now online!
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Department of Main
Roads, NSW, Australia
I came across your most memorable website last night just
out of curiosity anything to do with the DMR.
I began my apprenticeship in 1971 at Central Workshops at
Granville as a signwriter and spent part of the
apprenticeship at Head Office down under the garage in
the paint shop with Norm Hibertson. I think from memory
he was the leading hand painter and also [spent] some
time on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Was retrenched in 1992 and have remained in the trade and
in the "road sign" industry.
ever happed to the large model of planned roads on level
Can anyone answer Mark's question?
Do you know what happened to Jim Buckmaster, Gary
Birmingham, Alan Jennens,
Barry Atkins, Kevin Wotherspoon and Kerry Kneller?
If anyone can put us onto any of the above,
please contact us via the link below. Alan is in contact
with Nick Sotnick and John Jeffrey. Voucher
Examining inmate list for 1969-84 is now
I got a call from Alan Adderley this
morning to confirm that Billy Boyd passed away in
hospital yesterday the day after his 63rd birthday.
from Greg Johnston
I do not now where any of those mentioned are but Vern
Ellis is living in Forster and working at Manning Base
Hospital or around the health Region; I am in Taree and
can be contacted on email@example.com , Denis Hawkins
Alan Humphreys request, I am Kevin's
son, dad passed away 24/01/1995 aged 43 yrs old. I hope
this helps his inquiries.
Thanks, Adam; sorry to hear. I've fixed your
dad's entry on the Voucher
7/2008 [Abridged from a letter.] Re: Harold
"Slim" [Cliff] ex-Records, HO.
Harold is now in an Aged Care Facility following a very
bad fall at home on 17th April. ...He has not walked
since fall. ...He is now in Ocean View Nursing Home, 2
Jenkins Street, Mona Vale.
and later, 9/2008
Sorry to inform you Harold passed away on Tuesday
16th September. There was a rapid deterioration over the
last 16 days. He spent 8 days in Mona Vale Hospital then
returned to the nursing home ...He was on morphine, so
was very restful and not in pain ...
Pat and Les Cliff
Our condolences to you and the rest of the
family. Harold "Slim" was a good mate and one
of the truly unforgettable characters of DMR HO. We mourn
Hello John, I started at DMR Castlereagh Street in 1963
Correspondence Section as a copy boy, and chasing files.
Went to England for a few years in '65 came back '67 then
worked in Road Widening Section in main office then we
moved above the EMI building. I worked with Ted
O'Donnell, Rita McMath (typist). Also remember working in
the Library. Had an article done on me in the Highwayman
by Horst Bodisco C/Section because the then Commissioner
J.A.L.Shaw had complained about my long hair, and wanted
me to look like him. Short back and sides. And Horst took
offence to that. My little part of history at the DMR. I
would like to know what has happened to Ken Bergin
Information Section. All the best and memories will
always live on. [later] What about the recreation Room.
Always had to race down at 12pm and try and beat Ken
McKay to the Snooker table. Loved table tennis and the
movies. The live shows were great. I remember Norm
Erskine did a show there. I own and operate my Family Day
Care business on the Sunshine Coast in Maroochydore in
beautiful Queensland. That's all for now, will try and get
the memory going. [later] Just a short note. You
mentioned Harold (Slim) I remember a Harold that worked
in Central records, I think and he lived at Harbord or
Queenscliff. Was he the same guy; If so sad to hear about
his passing. I remember the fantastic staff in the cafeteria, and the great food, like the proper double
buttered finger buns or the original pineapple doughnuts,
which you can not buy anymore. Kevin Hadley moved to Dee
Why he was my section head.
Yep, Slim lived at Queencliff; his claim to
fame was a DMR poster on which he featured. I'll load a
scan in the near future.
Bill Musket rang today to tell me Barry Martin passed
away. I and 6 other oldtimers including Bill, and Kevin
Kerr, attended the funeral 24.10.
RTA Immortals - extract. Contact
... With the amount of departures from the RTA at
present, we aim to grow the Immortals membership to 1000
members by 2010. Should you know of anyone who has worked
with the RTA, please ask them to join. As our website is
now up and running there will be a few changes to our
* You will be sent regular emails on a monthly basis from
* RTA HR Notices are now able to be accessed by logging
on and going to the Careers tab;
* Weekly Rec Club updates will be present on the website;
* Momentum, Gradvine, Spokeswomen newsletters will be
Alumni Association Administrator
I'm just looking for some information about a DMR
Reunion (Granville works Office). If there is a
reunion coming up could you let me know any details, that
would be great.
Laura Calleja firstname.lastname@example.org
My name is David Ferguson, both my Father and I worked
for the DMR. / My dad was a carpenter in the Castlereagh
St Building, / I was a Weight of Loads inspector from
1976 until 1997. / However I digress, for your
information and those old DMR employees from Head Office,
whilst reading the death notices in today's Telegraph I
noticed that a George Stidwell had passed away on
25/12/08 at the age of 95. / Sadly it was the very same
Mr Stidwell from the DMR. / Mr Stidwell's notice is on
p47 of the Telegraph 30/12/08
David John Ferguson
for the details, David. I spoke to George and Joan
Fairbairn yesterday. They were at the funeral (no other
ex-DMR people seen) and mentioned that George Stidwell
had been in a nursing home (Calvery?) for the past 18
months. I spent some time in Central Records when I first
joined the DMR in the late 60s and found GS to be a great
boss, somewhat in the style of Frank Fowler.
Subject: George Stidwell
Hi. George Stidwell was my uncle and I would like to
advise you there will be a memorial service for him in February. Not sure of the date yet.
Cheers Graham Forsyth
Sadly, Laurie Dowling died last Saturday night (in his
sleep). He was in hospital at the time. His funeral [was]
held on Thursday 3 September at 1:00pm at the Sacred
Heart Church in Hamilton Street, Hamilton, Newcastle.
Could you pass this email onto any others you think may
have known Laurie...and... last Thursday Mark Gooley
passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his
family....a mass [was] held for Mark on Wednesday 2
September 2009 at St Francis Xavier Cathedral, Harbour
Street, Wollongong at 10.00am. Mark [was] buried at
Wollongong Lawn Cemetery, West Dapto Road, Kembla Grange.
R Glen Morgan
Thanks, Glen. Information received after the
Hi, my name is Kevin Noble, my first job with the DMR at
Victoria Rd Chatswood as a trainee draughtsman in late
Jan or early Feb 1961. I joined the Sydney Newcastle
expressway section which moved to the Myers building
further up Victoria Rd and then the section moved to
Parramatta then to Castlereagh St (or maybe the other way
around). I left the DMR late 1964 to join the Snowy
Mountains Authority. My recollections are not good
although I thought Bill Kemp was in charge of the section
at least for a while. The only other names that come to
mind are Peter & Ted who attended my 21st birthday
party. I have a photo of them and also a very old
slightly out of focus shot taken instead the Chatswood
office in 1961, as well I have photos of F3 expressway
construction which I have forwarded to Oz road website .
Thanks for your message, Kevin.
You may be interested to know that D C Jacob ex CE or EIC
passed away late 2009.
Mike Young (DMR 1965 to 2007)
Thanks for letting us know, Mike.
Caught up with Mick Gildea and Warren Sykes for a week of surfing and drinking last month.
Mick is living at Alstonville driving a cab
Warren is at Bonny Hills making surfboards
Vern is at Forster Internal Audit Manager for Hunter Health
I also catch up regularly with Steve Billingsley who is Director of Audit for Western Sydney living at Georges Hall
Interesting to see the list of colony staff. Forgot about many of them
but still remember some fun times there. Mick Warren and I spend a week together each year and the same stories come out.
Let me know if a reunion is ever planned
Good to hear from you and thanks for the news, Vern.
My problem over the years has been my inability to hear
what's happened to old friends and since I started Googling I got a hell of a shock to hear of the deaths of Barry
Martin, Billy Boyd, etc.
So I was wondering if you might be able to help out with updating me on the following names, whenever you get the chance.
Ron Vokes, Alan Fussell, Gary Birmingham, Bill Hitchcock, Bob Campbell
(Berowra), Maurie Quig, Graeme Midson, Kevin Tapp, George Campbell, Terry Ralph, John Yard, George and Bob Sinclair, Robert Mitchell, Merv Smith, Alan Eaves, Gary Knight, Warren McAllister, and Rae Kirkland.
As I said, there is no hurry whatsoever. I've waited twenty odd years so far, a bit longer is not going to hurt.
Thank you in anticipation John,
Can anyone help Maurie out with the people listed?
Merve and Terry are still kicking, going well.
Also, I have photos from 309 Castlereagh when it closed, there were some photos of previous CE's I will scan and email over some photos. I have an old one of the Plan Room as well.
Got your website from Tracey Forsstrom. Remember your name/face but we never worked together.
I started my life in the DMR Feb 1961 in Staff Sect and retired in July 2006. Spent most time at Granville (Supply sect) and later at
Re Maurie Meares’s enquiry. I can fill you in on some of the names he mentioned.
Alan Eaves and Graeme Midson both passed away I think in 2007/8.
Merv Smith still going strong (Castle Hill), as is Terry Ralph retired 2005 (now Tweed Heads Sth),
Warren Mcallister retired ex Glen Innes and lives there I think. The others he mentions I am not aware of their status.
Keep up the good work
Many thanks for all the details, George. And thanks to Tracey for
passing on the site location.
I've been reliably informed that my old boss, Ray MacFarlane, will
soon celebrate his 90th. So all the best, Ray! (Photo c1979 when
Ray was OIC Audit Section, HO).
How are you going - just visited the website again and noticed that you have some old
artefacts - I have the Extractus Digitum award at home if you want it. Let me know if you want it I will get it to you
Cheers and keep up the good work
Thanks for the offer, mate. As the last winner and holder,
you are required to take it to the grave, according to information
received. :) (I replied to Mark direct with a slightly different
comment.) I've inserted a photo of said award on the Colony page. Plus a
small one to the left.
With regard to Maurie's enquiry, both Gary Knight and John Yard are still going strong.
Gary was and still is a good friend of mine. We catch up with each other on a regular basis for a couple of ales.
With regard to Birmo he passed away some years ago.
Thanks for the update, Brian.
Golden Oldie John Ballantine aka JB
JB passed away today 18th Sept after battle with lung cancer. He had many old DMR visitors over recent weeks.
JB work on relief staff for many years and was well know for his accuracy
and knowledge of procedures. A joy to work with. He was also involved with the Rec Club
via cricket & Rugby league.
Thanks for that sad news, Mike. I recall back in the 80s, JB had
a room in the West End; any of his friends (who were legion) were
welcome to crash there anytime they found themselves unable to make
the trip home! JB spent a lot of his time in the Colony and I also
found him a pleasure to work with. Here's one of the few photos I have
of JB, from 1977.
UPDATE: Funeral 23rd September, Rookwood
Your contact details came to me through the Son of a well known HO Devils Advocate who finished up SDC Bega - now that's how good your web site has become but who might the father be?
It was sad news that Jim Bonnefin passed on and Jim's Newcastle DO Senior Draftsman Niall Smith is in Cessnock Hospital waiting to moved to a Nursing Home - time is of the essence for his daughter who is trying to make contact with
Marie Mathieson - can you help with getting a contact facility please?
To the lighter side - have you heard anything from Dave Towner - last we spoke with him and Judy they were in Coffs Harbour but I believe they moved to Qld - Ken Kingsley and his wife Margaret are still well living in a retirement village in Budrim
I had no luck tracking Marie M down. Can anyone help? I remember
Dave Towner but haven't seen him since I was in Staff in the early
Reply from Mike Young
24.11.2011; has details of Marie - please
contact me for possible
I read with interest your articles and feedback from various ex employees as well as current ones ..I am the son of an ex employee who worked at the Thornleigh depot and I think was at Parramatta for a time.
He worked there in the 1960's. Us kids were only young so the exact date is hard to remember ..his name was
Percy Hunter ..We lived in a DMR house at
Berowra. He retired to Queensland after a number of heart attacks and sadly passed away some 12 years ago aged 87 ..any info you might have would be grateful as we remember good times in Sydney but it would be nice to know more..
Marie Mathieson may have moved to Port Macq/Forster way, but is
was a very long time ago. Her husband is Peter, a Rd Designer from
I read of Greg Neale's death notice in the
Leader. I don't know if you remember Greg Neale but I worked with him
in the old Staff Section in Campbell Street for about 10 years - he
was a great bloke. He died on November 29 and his funeral is this
Tuesday December 21st at Woronora starting at 1.30pm.
I was very saddened to read that he had passed away as he was only 55
years old. Thought you might like to post something on the DMR
Thanks, Lesley. I remember Greg well; the most easy going guy in
Staff when I was there.
Just heard from Gloria Thompson this morning that
Joan Biddle passed away last weekend; her funeral is today, but I have
no further details. Joan was senior typist on the ground floor of 414
Pitt St (Audit and Tenanted Properties) in the 1980s.
John, you wouldn’t recall me but I worked for the DMR from February 1971 to December 1987. I worked in records, Correspondence, Country Councils, Thornleigh WO, Yennora WO, Armidale WO as Cost Clerk and then transferred to the Dept Housing where I still work. I was told about this site by some old DMR friends, Rhonda and David McCoy. You’ve done a great job here. Actually I also live in the mountains (Mt Riverview) and have from time to time read your letters to the editor and I was certain it was you as I think you wrote something about photos once and I recall how keen you were with photos way back in the DMR days.
Anyway, I attended a Correspondence section reunion a year or so back. They hold it every year at a pub in Sydney. Lots of great old names attend like Mick Barry, John George, Greg Stanford, Ray Terry, Barry Venner, Jim Dunkin, Jim Buckmaster, Clem Cawley, Len Peake to name a few. I dug this old Correspondence section photo out and took it along to the reunion. They loved it and I sent it to them all. I think it’s 1973. I’m the long haired lout 6 from the left amongst the girls. My hair is longer than theirs. Feel free to use it on your site if you wish.
I’ll keep trawling through the site. Great memories but sad to see some of the great names from the “colony” that have passed on. I note JB passed away only a few months back.
Thanks, Brodie, good to hear from you. Anyone wanting to see the
(copy, but faces visible) photo -
You'll have to copy and past the link into your browser window.
I worked with Greg Neal in Staff Section in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. A great guy. I contacted a few of his colleagues
[...] who are still around to find out what happened. It seems his family had a history of heart disease and he retired early 10 years
309 Castlereagh St in the 1970’s was a great place to work. Only in recent years did I realise this and how many characters there were. I have my current work colleagues in fits of laughter describing some of the things that happened. Being an innocent boy from Parkes, working there was a real eye opener. I am now back in Parkes (since 1989) with Transport NSW which has now superseded the RTA in my business area. I will be clocking up 35 years’ service in 2011 with the DMR/RTA/Transport and my son
[...] will be commencing with the RTA in Parramatta next week at the same age (20) that I commenced in the DMR. I hope he has some great times like I did in the golden years of the 1970’s.
I was given details re Ex DMR Employees website by Richard Gibbons. You may remember me, I started back in November 1969 & left RTA in 1994, when Supply Section was 'outsourced'. Currently with DSTA (Dept of Services Technology & Admin). Dave Thompson, Rod Crook & Paul Clark (since retired) are also with DSTA. I'll be retiring at end of this year.
Just a quick note to say that in today's SMH - Personal Notices, I noticed
R C Newman (Dick Newman) had passed away. I'm positive is the same Dick Newman that was Senior Clerk at Parkes DO when I was Cost Clerk at Orange WO in 1977/78.
Keep up the good work.
Thanks for the information, Steve.
Mr Paton retired 3 weeks ago; that leaves Mark Williams, Steve Coghlan, Chris Barrington and me left; numbers are getting thinner.
Good to hear from you, Pete;
I'll ring you. [Numbers
left refers to ex-lepers ...]
Worked at Broken Hill from 1967 as a clerk. Thence Wilcannia, Head Office (Correspondence)
I was just “GOOGLING” & found my name on your list of “the
missing”. It’s been a long time since the days of
my youth at Campbell St but fond memories of chasing files all over the
building. To be quite frank, I don’t remember too many names of colleagues
at the time. I am alive & well, living out at Penrith with my wife (whom I
met in the city) of 40 years & have 3 lovely daughters & 6 beautiful grand
children. I left the DMR in 1970 & entered the timber industry (wholesale)
& I am still here.
Got a letter from Mike Young letting me know you are
the coordinator of this website. It's great to see someone has the
time and enthusiasm to tackle such a venture. I remember you well from
the lepper colony days. I did notice one name error. Barry Swanenberg
( for memory) should read Benny Swanenberg. I am still working for the
R T A (at Rockdale on the traffic emergency patrol).
Can you let me know if there's ever a re-union or get-together - I'd
love to come.
Hope you are healthy and well !
Thanks, Greg. I've made the
name correction. Good to hear from you!
Hi John hope u are well. I am Bob Shea
(Donger), I live in South Grafton, also living in the area is Graham Badcock
(Grafton), Lee Edwards
(Ballina), Wayne Lind
(Iluka) and Vic Miller
(Yamba). Vic play bowls, Graham ran a motel and was a bookmaker, Wayne is
a landscaper at Iluka, Lee still works in Ballina and myself; I play bowls
and golf, hope to hear from some old friends on this site.
Thanks for the information, Bob. A few names there
from the distant past!
I was online and doing a bit of a search when I came across the DMR
website. In it was a post from Maurie Meares from 22/06/2010 asking about
some ex-employees, one of whom happened to be my Dad -
Bill Hitchcock. I really wish I had found
this earlier. It is with huge sadness that I let you know that Dad passed
away 1 August 2011 aged 79. I well remember heading into Castlereagh
Street, with Mum and my brother, to have lunch with Dad in the cafeteria.
People called him Mr Hitchcock! Later, in the 1980s, when I was a huge
Duran Duran fan and EMI were right next door, I had him virtually stalking
those Birmingham Boys while they were filming "Seven and the Ragged
Mum (Shirley) is still going strong. She's an ex-DMR girl
originally from Parkes and still lives in Sydney.
Sorry to hear of your loss, Judy. Thanks very much for letting us
know. I'll also post your message to the Facebook group.
Was just informed of your site recently by Bob (Donger) Shea and thought
I’d drop a line to let some old workmates know that I’m still around.
I started with the DMR in 1971 in Accounts Records (working with Brodie
Druett actually who I see posted a comment a little while back on the
Correspondence section reunion) and only had 12 months in the “Castle”
before I was transferred to Metropolitan Divisional Office at Milsons Pt.
Had a few years there before moving to Sth Metrop WO at Granville in 1976
then to Rockdale WO in 1978 until I went to Bega WO as the Cost Clerk In
I liked the country life so much I took a redundancy there on 31/12/92
when the office was closed down, rather than relocate. For the last 17
years I’ve worked for the local Bega Valley Shire Council and live in a
great little coastal village Tathra which is only 20 minutes from Bega.
I still keep in touch with some old DMR mates like Greg
(Beefy) Innes and Greg (Johnno) Johnston
when I come to Sydney. Unfortunately only time I see lot of the other old
faces is at funerals such as JB’s and Mark Gooley’s.
For those interested there are a few ex-DMR employees down this way too in
(was Svensk), Peter Hughes
(an ex Leper) who plays a bit of golf at Tathra and
Brenda Cursley who worked in the
drawing office back in the 70s at Milsons Pt when I was there.
Keep up the good work with the site it would be great to see a few more of
the old names pop up.
Trevor (Duck) Mace
There sure are some characters listed in your message;
thanks for all the news, mate!
More great recollections below from Trevor
in response to my message.
Yeah, I seem to remember
that a trip to NAASRA was the equivalent of a Leyland Bros trekabout, you
would go up floors through buildings, down floors and through umpteen
sections which made for a lengthy trip if you started chatting to people.
Funny there's not more photos of the West End. I reckon over the years the
DMR staff would have "bought" the place over the bar, JB did have a room
there from time to time. I played Cricket with him in the DMR team in the
old Public Service comp at Moore Park (Neil "Chappy" Chapman, Billy
Muskett, Joe Tabone and Dave Eller are a couple of names that come to mind
at the time) and JB would often come strolling across Moore Park in a new
set of "whites" (comprising white stubbies and bonds t-shirt and white
volley sandshoes) which he'd had to buy that Saturday morning after a big
night in town where he'd crash in a room at the West End rather than try
and negotiate his way home. I think he had a fairly good arrangement with
the manager at the time who I recall was Arthur Middlemass who let him use
an empty room.
I didn't go to the Chambo that much but do recall the regulars had their
own glasses with names on them (dymo labels I think!). Had a beer there a
little while back when I was in Sydney and you wouldn't recognise the
place. I think the other pub you are talking about on the corner of
Elizabeth/Campbell Sts was the Crown Hotel? I used to get taken over there
for a liquid lunch (even though i was only 16 at the time) by Ray Lowe,
Poddy O'Donnell and some other others ("Herbie" Stevens, Barry Peasley I
think?) who I was doing TAFE with at the time (the old Transport Admin
course). Friday nights after Tech (5.30-7.30) I continued my drinking
apprenticeship with them and some others at the Red Lion Hotel (don't
think it's still there now) and recall the place was packed and I'd go
home pissed as usual. Wonder how I survived.
Trevor (Duck) Mace
Just came across the web site and felt I would like to contribute as I had
a long innings at DMR/RTA 36 years from 06.04.59 -26.06.95.
I worked in the Architectural Section up to September 1989 and then joined
Kelvin Dunn in Property Rentals as Controller Works.
Some of you may remember me for supervising the relocation of the various
sections into different buildings eg Annexe, Simpson Lee, Nanking,
Hongkong, Rowe, EMI, Tivoli, Comm. Bank, Day St., Central Square, etc. and
that went on for about 17 years. I spent a lot of time on those drawings
you have on your site.
When I first started (Architectural was part of Survey & Property) it was
in a building on the corner of George and Barlow Sts where we remained for
2 years. Survey and Property then in 1961 moved into the new Annexe
I was one of the earliest to join the Credit Union when it started in 1964
and later was on the Board for 12 years and am still a member.
Some of the country projects with which I was involved included
Supervision of the construction of: new Glen Innes DO c.1972-4, Wilson’s
Valley Snow Clearing Depot Accommodation Bldg and Workshop in 1969, W/Eng.
House at Jindabyne, 2 Eng.’s Houses at Lithgow, Mt Boyce Weighbridge &
bldg., Toll Collection Admin. Bldg. During the construction periods I had
contact with a number of personnel at the various Divisional Offices.
|My first 10 years I was designing
and supervising adjustments/demolition of private properties
affected by road widening and the latter years of Architectural
Section I was attached to the Space Accommodation Committee and
finally assisting with the design of office layouts and supervision
in the new building in Elizabeth St.
Attached is a photo of the staff of the
Property Rentals Section in June 1992.
Rear Row L-R
Ron Sinclair, Robert Visselli, Ross Rapsey, Rex Rutherford , Roger
Ted Keys, Ray Fox, Tony Friggieri, Tony Claxton, Steve Harrison.
Bill Thomas, Zoe Christie, Leone Hodgson, Gloria ?
Steve Thomlinson, Kelvin Dunn, Delia Bowen.
Those absent David Torr, Neil Chapman, Leo Lawson, Graham
McIllhatton, Vicky-Lee Collins and Ping Nalbandian.
Ex-Senior Architectural Officer and Controller Works
Thanks for your
message and the photo, Ron. I'll also post it to the Facebook DMR page, as
Delia is a member there. It's been years since I saw Zoe, though I can
mention her hubby George sold my house at Bankstown where he was an estate
agent in the 1990s. Dave Torr passed away not long ago. There was an
article on him in "Roundhouse" the Rail Transport Museum magazine,
though it didn't mention his time at the DMR.
My name is Malcolm Cooper. I started my life in Head Office Central
Records in 1967 and other various sections, transferred to Supply section
and then Milsons Point and finally took my redundancy at Blacktown.
It was nice to see a comment from Donger Bob Shea, I am in touch with Reg
Herbert and also Jenny Mann and sometimes see Ray Terry shopping in Aldi.
There are so many names, what ever happened to Gordon Sykes, Kevin Wicks,
Lou Gilliver, Stan Orlowski.
I now work for Australia Post at Strathfield. Those days were memorable, a
lot has changed in the workforce, that's why I think they were the good
Take care to all enjoy life it goes fast.
Good to hear from you, Mal. I believe Kevin Wicks (famous for many
things) moved north and may have set up a boat charter business (I'm open
to correction, folks) but that info came third hand. Hopefully others will
be able to give details on the others you mentioned.
Went to reunion (organised by Ron Peel & Kel Dunn) of some
old hands last week - some of those who attended & looking healthy - Vic
Prevett, Bob Bennett, Neil Drumgold, Grumpy Phillips, Max & Tess Cave, Bob
Birchell & Caroline, Bob Campbell & Margaret (nee Braithwaite), Margeret
Veitch, George & Joan Fairbairn, Rodney Mitchell, Dennis Coates, Ted
Lander, Tom Hunziker, Peter Bruce, John Ireland, Clem Cawley, Barnie
Wrightson (recently returned to Sydney after 12 years in Pt Macq), Dennis
Many thanks, Mike. It was good to see the list of notable DMR
characters in attendance!
Len Peake here. I learned of
this great site from Brodie Druett last week at the annual correspondence
section get together at the Lord Nelson. You can see Brodie's comments on
an earlier get together in his article 7/12/10. All those mentioned by
Brodie are regulars but others who attended or have attended include
Dennis Whitton, Bob Dudley, John Burford, Wayne Hipwell, Ken Bergin, Ken
McKay, Brian Moore, Lance Fernando, Tony Perucic and Kevin Hadley (I’m
sure those names will jog a few memories).
For myself I joined DMR in 1966 on the same day as Charlie King (remember
CCT). In those days I thought DMR stood for Department of Many Relations
because over the years my mother-in-law Edith Baker (central records) and
daughters Debbie and Julie Peake enjoyed stints with the firm. I started
in Financial Control headed then by Frank Fowler (a man of old fashioned
values) and over the years I moved to Industrial Section, Staff Section
(leave clerk), Country Councils Section where Brodie Druett (mentioned
above) was a junior clerk and finally to Correspondence Section which
included a move of the group I was in from Castlereagh Street to Milsons
Point in about 1987. Jim Buckmaster was my boss then and the group
included Marie Mathieson, Don Forsythe, Dave Keeling, Lance Fernando and
Julie Chan. Jim and I took a redundancy package in 1991 (long time ago)
but we both appreciate the reunions and hold the OLD DMR with its
Rec Room, Cafeteria, Basketball Court etc fondly in our memories. Jim and
I are still in touch with each other.
By the way I phoned Marie Mathieson the other day (see earlier article
23/10/10). Marie and Peter have lived in Tweed Heads for a number of years
and love it. Marie did have contact with Niall Smiths daughter before
Niall unfortunately passed away.
Here’s hoping the site continues to flourish. Thanks for all the work
Thanks for all your information, Len. You've given me a few ideas
for an article on memorable DMR characters.
In January 2010 at an auction in Temora, I became the proud
owner of a 1966 Dodge Truck. These trucks have special meaning to me
as I completed my apprenticeship on them in Cootamundra over 40
years ago. / The gentleman I purchased the truck from told me that
it was ex DMR Wollongong and he has used it on his farm and it is
still painted in DMR colours of Orange & White. / It ran like a
dream on the trip up the Hume (despite the $200 it cost for fuel)
and I have now registered the truck with Historical Plates and
driven in several rallies with it. / I am in the process of
gradually restoring it to its former glory and to this end would
love to be able to get some DMR Logo panels to display on the doors.
/ I was therefore wondering if you or any of your friends would have
any idea if they still exist and how I would go about getting some.
I would appreciate any help that you could give me either leads or
- Frank Skeers
A couple of months later, Frank sent a photo showing a
handmade log applied by a pal of his; a lovely job!
My friend I think did a fantastic job on the stickers and
painstakingly applied each ring one at a time to ensure they were
perfect. The only thing he was unable to reproduce were the spots on the
blue background but I think this is a negligible omission. - Frank
I recently came across the dmr page on the internet and read with
interest some of the people I worked with in my time with the colony. I
was given two choices when I joined correspondence or v/e. not much of a
choice if you ask me. I note a number of the famous (or infamous!) inmates
are not listed ie Graham Anson and Mark Gooley (now decd) probably left
v.e. before 1969.
and later ...
Fit Wayne was Wayne Lind. I haven't come across too many of them since
I took redundancy in 1991 and got a job in TAFE but ran into Mark Williams
at Shellharbour Club last year. Did you remember the door leading straight
from dmr to the Chamberlain Hotel where lepers could refresh themselves
during working hours till the hierarchy found it and closed it off?
Who could forget wandering those smoke filled corridors of the building
mostly with a file(s) as evidence that one was actually working! I
suffered so much from smoke inhalation that I ended up with bronchitis and
knocked back on full super benefits the first time. The second attempt
also failed due to high B.P. so ended up on the so called buff colored
cards even though I produced Drs certs and argued about the rights of
workers. Oh the injustice of it all. I remember cars being sent in the
good old days to lepers they suspected of not being really sick. There was
also the case of the Phantom Slagger who used to [...] on the back stairs.
They couldn't catch him for ages but eventually [he] turned out to be a
junior records clerk whose was a relo of the [...]. Needless to say he
didn't get the sack! [...] .Can't remember that much about the secret door
to the chambo but did use it a few times. Escape from the building
was difficult at times for the elusive scarlet pimpernel with guards
posted on most of the known exits. It's a wonder I survived! Do you
remember Alan Greentree, Steve Wickham (speedy?) and Ray? Mahoney who used
to work in the colony? I think the article in the Highwyman might have
been written by either Joe Pithers or Graham Anson.
Do you remember the grey ghost Mal Reid and also Max Prowse who did some
relief in the colony.
Peter("The Blade") Hackshall
Thanks for your recollections, Peter. I'll update the VE/ACE page.
...later; I've fixed a few spelling errors of names above as well. Mal
Reid was 2 OIC during my second helping of the Colony.
Thought some of the old DMR staff may be interested to know that I bumped
into Eric Powell at my local club (Tathra Beach Country Club) last night.
He used to pop in occasionally to “visit” a lady friend down this way but
I hadn’t seen him for 4-5 years till last night so I thought he may have
passed on (sorry Eric!). He worked for The DMR for a number of years and
from memory was in the old Ledgers & Statistics Section when I was In Head
Office back in the early 70s. He said he still bumps into Billy Bourke at
Sutherland doing the shopping from time to time. Also heard recently that
Kevin Sismey retired after about 40 years so I’m sure a number of DMR
people would know of Kev. I played DMR cricket with him and I think he
worked at Granville for the majority of his time.
Trevor (Duck) Mace
Thanks, Trevor; I remember Eric from his time in Audit - another
I worked in the leper colony from 1981 to 1987 and was transferred to Lane
Cove Works Office. / The last time I saw George Bevan was when Lane
Cove closed down and he was living at Eastwood.
I still work for the RTA at the Transport Management Centre.
Thanks for your recollections, Michael, esp. re George. I'll update the VE/ACE page.
Josie Diaz and Grace Marlin passed away during this period; further
details will be found on our Facebook page.
I joined the DMR in 1969 as a
junior clerk at HO and worked there for about 2 ½ years. I was in
Financial Control with 2 other juniors, Roger Skinner and Kevin McKell.
I came across this site when I saw something on Joe Pithers and PSA. Other
people in the section were Jim Buckmaster ,Steve Dunlop, Cookie (fat and
thin), Gary Birmingham, Dennis Coates, Tony Macataminey and the boss,
Next door Eric Powell, John Newton, Billy Boyd and a few others drifting
in my mind that won’t clarify.
I was then sent to Audit run by Ted Cooper and I took over Mark Tange’s
job. Ted was not a fun man to work for and that prompted me to find
another job and I ended up in Stamp Duties for the next 7 years.In my time
in Financial Control the older blokes taught me more about the mechanics
of life than any other job I have had since and for that I would like to
Thanks for some good memories from your site.
Attended the November annual gathering at West Ryde Leagues organised by
Ron Peel/Kel Dunn.
A few attendees looking well were Kevin Hadley (still looks the same),
John Yard, Litte JC, Jim Buckmaster, Ken Woolard (he was SDC at Bourke
then on return to HO resigned & started his own tax business & Bob Dudley.
I note that Eric Powell's name was mentioned on the DMR website. Eric was
SDC in Bourke in 74/75 & I think he went to Ledgers after that.
My name is Grahame Stanford and I've just discovered your website on the
Department of Main Roads. I worked for the Department from 1963 to 1977. I
started in the Financial Control Section, under the leadership of Leo
Marlin and Max Lloyd, and then moved to "The Leper Colony" in about 1965.
After completing my "sentence" I moved back to Financial Control in 1968.
Following this I moved to Metropolitan Maintenance at Granville (John
"Lumpy" London was the boss), then was one of the original employees of
the Central Asphalt Depot. In 1977, I became Cost Clerk at Bowenfels Works
Office and then resigned to join BMI Ltd (now Boral). I retired in 2006
and live in the Blue Mountains.
I had a look at the "Leper Colony" employee list and noticed a few
missing. Names such as Jack Valentine (Officer-in-Charge when I started),
Alex Anderson, Dennis Whittingstall, Keith Webb, Tom Peters, Ray Mahoney,
Phil Holt, Warren Schell and myself.
When I was working in the "Leper Colony" a young guy by the name of Paul
Dunford worked in the Staff Section. He would later become the well known
Australian actor Paul Chubb. Sadly he passed away in 2002.
John, I've attached a photo of the "Leper Colony" 1965 Xmas gathering at
Valentine's Restaurant in Pitt Street. Starting on the left the people
attending were - sorry can't remember the first guy, Dennis Whittingstall,
Keith Webb, Barry Atkins, Phil Holt, Gary Birmingham, Allan Jennens,
George Dennett, Dennis Coates, Geoff Street, George Javurek, Grahame
Stanford, Tom Peters, Warren Schell, Frank Bertozzi and Billy Boyd.
I will leave it at this for the time being. Keep up the good work.
Nice to receive your message, Grahame; the photo I'll post to our Facebook page.
As a follow up to my previous
email, I was thinking of the people that were in the Financial Control
Section when I started with the DMR (50 years ago this year). It will be
interesting to see how many names are familiar :- Leo Marlin (O.I.C.-F.C.),
Max Lloyd (2nd in charge), Dennis Williams (later replaced by Tom Hunziker),
John Andrews (later replaced by Bob Dudley), Ron Street, John Small (ex-Narrabri),
John Hayman (I replaced John as junior clerk), "Miserable" Mick Wilson,
Steve "Knocker" Dunlop, "Grumpy" Phillips, Phil D'Aran (sadly passed away
after an accident), Jack Burns and Beryl Slade (Legal), Barney Wrightson
and John Hadlow (Sundry Debtors), Max Prowse and Bob Keyes (Properties),
Thelma Gooley, Margaret De Goya (?) and Robyn Jackson (Secretarial). In my
capacity as junior clerk I was also required to get the morning teas and
lunches for W.W. Weir (Secretary), Bob Cairns (Chief Accountant) and Bob
It was 50 years ago so I hope my memory is fairly accurate. I also
apologise for any omissions, inaccuracies or misspelt names.
I'm writing to notify you of my grandfather, Leslie Francis (Frank)
Cooksley, who served with the Department of Main Roads in Bendemeer, as a
P&S (Pick and Shovel) working his way through the ranks before being
medically retired in the mid 1970's as a Grade 3 Formen in Waratah.
One of his last achievements as a foreman for the DMR was the construction
of the approach's to the current Stockton Bridge, as well as overseeing
the construction of the dual carriage way on the Pacific Highway between
Sandgate and just south of Bulladelah
He is now 84 and still going strong.
I am very proud of my grandfathers achievements during the time he served
with the Department of Main Roads.
What a thrill I had discovering the Leper Colony Website
and seeing my name listed in such distinguished company.
I think fondly of those golden times back in the 70’s and
the good times we had, especially the lunches at the pub around the
corner in Pitt St(?), can’t remember it’s name though.
To see names like Laurie Adams, Graham Anson, Burmo,
Billy Boyd, Allan Jennens, Wayne Lind and Steve and Bob Dunlop boys is
very nostalgic. I also remember working with Dickie Dunlop at Yennora WO
where he was the Cost Clerk back in about ’74. Amazing that the three
(3) brothers all worked for the DMR. Did you know that Bob Dunlop’s
middle name was ‘Bridge’ because he was born on the Harbour Bridge? True
A lot of those listed also, like myself, served in the
CMF with the DMR sponsored Unit, 101 Const Sqn RAE. Some, I think,
might be still serving.
Some, like me, also used to represent the Dept in the
annual NSW vs Qld DMR Interstate Sports Games. And this was before
State of Origin!
Yes, we had some great times back then. I still have my
Pewter Tankard given to me when I left the Colony back in about 1979. It
is proudly inscribed “From all your friends in the Leper Colony”.
I am fully retired now, pushing 64 years of age and live
on the Sunshine Coast in Qld.
Great to see your website John, post this email if you
Great to hear from you, Peter.
Ken Bone, just found this website and thought I 'll add my two bob's
worth to the DMR record. I started with the Dept. in January 1961 in the
Plan Room under the supervision of Mr. Gordon. He was a great boss; very
conservative and typical of the public servant of those times. I was 16
years old at the time and can't remember all surnames, but there were
planning assistants Reg Alsop? and Bev from Grafton and an ex DE driver
also from Grafton. I can't remember his name but I was his runner each
Friday to the Tivoli Hotel for his weekend bottle of Sherry. I went from
there to the Bridge (Maintenance) Section working for engineer Mr.
Wilson and working with John Harvey and Ian Amos. From there to Advance
Planning, Warringah Expressway and Inner Expressway Sections where I
worked with Vic Osborne and Neil Jackson. The engineer was Lin Derrin; a
real gentleman. Had a great working relationship with Neil; great bloke.
After a stint in relief I transferred to Ballina as Cost Clerk before
moving back to Industrial Relations. Some names you may remember; (Ballina)
Bob Bennet, Col Mattinson, John Lipman, Ted Tooher, Graham Brisbane,
Neil Lamb (Industrial), Dav Jones, Cyril Newlands, Ken Mc Kay and Jill
Simpson, who was head typist/steno. I left the DMR in early 80's and
moved to the Maritime as an Industrial Officer/HR Manager; took a
package in the early mid 90's and moved on after a short period in
Health then to Aged Care as HR Manager. I am currently working for an
NGO as a Mental Health Recovery Support Worker in Ulladulla on the South
Coast. The website has some many familiar names and memories. Love to
catch up with some of the people I've worked with during my time at the
Thank you and kind regards
Thanks for your informative message, Ken. I'll also post to our
Facebook group, and pass on any replies to you.
I was talking to an old DMR employee and close friend,
Wayne Hudson and he told me about this site. It sure does bring back
some memories. Wayne (who married Tonia) worked with me at Supply
Section at Granville along with another close friend of ours ,John
Reilly. I started at DMR in 1970 as a Junior Clerk in Staff Records
(Supervisor's name was Cliff but I can't recall surname). Staff Section
then I think was run by Brian Moore who was a great guy and I recall
George Sinclair. Others are John Purkiss, Manuel (????), Ross ???
I also remember George Stidwell who I can pretty much thank for my
career in Human Resources. A lovely guy who took the time ....yes ,even
as a senior officer...to sit down and talk to me about doing a Personnel
Administration Certificate. I eventually completed it with Frank Gero
and John Kellner I left DMR in 1981 and went to Colgate Palmolive as
Personnel Officer and to cut a long story short recently retired from
NSW Health as Director Workforce.
Caught up with Vern Ellis at Hunter New England Health.
Some names to remember from my times in DMR (1970-1981) : Besides Wayne
and Tonia and John mentioned above I note posts from George Campbell,
Bob Shea and Maurie Meares. Maurie was my first boss at Central Store
and one of the nicest blokes you could come across ..as too was Maurie
Quig another of our "bosses" in Supply. Looking back ,these guys must
have had the patience of a saint as we had so many junior clerks along
with so many junior comptometrists, typists etc and the hormones were
raging not to mention the sport, the dogs, the horses, cars, the
football, the cricket, fishing days etc.
Others that come to mind are, of course, Mark Gooley (Dec), Rod Hancock,
Graeme Chivers, Col Chivers, Trevor Cornwall, Brian Pirie, Teddy Tregear,
Terry Ralph ( I also worked with Terry's wife Sue at Hornsby Hospital),
Noel Gurney (snr and Jnr) Graham Mc'Illhatton, Mac Dunn, Allan Jennens,
Don Levick, Bill Lloyd, Lenny Bevis , Bob Burgess, Harry Morris, Teddy
Hetherington, Horrie Rogers, Kevin Tapp (great golf days with Kevin,
Terry and others), Mick Safi ( the "Phantom Flusher") , Dave Shaw, Barry
Wood, Ron Sorbie, John Yard, Geoff Smith, Carol Rolph, Maria Bucca.
Jenny Mann, Hazel Bradley, Heather Norquay, Pam ???, Gail Stanton (
Married Jim Hardie), Alan Eaves, Merv Smith, Louise???, Marilyn? Woollf...
I can picture so many more but these days its getting harder to match
Having said that, Wayne ,Tonia, John and I get together every year and
always have our time for reminiscing about the "good old days" at the
DMR. ( My wife Jenny really enjoys it too as the stories are not only
hilarious but today they just seem so far fetched ....but still, they're
all true) .
I think many of us would be out of a job today if we did the things that
we did in those great fun days. It seemed that we all actually enjoyed
going to work with our mates then....what the hell has happened eh?
Anyway, great site John and I hope many of us can catch up at some sort
of reunion and look forward to reading more posts.
and later -
Hi John, have been thinking since my earlier post and recall the
following names; Barry Lloyd, my old football buddies....Mick Taylor,
Garry Mc Donald and a great friend of mine who I have not seen for
decades, Graham Delaney (Honi). I hope he and his family (wife Marilyn)
are keeping well.
Also Lloyd Grieve, Peter Ryan, Phil Bartlett from Central Workshop, Jan
Campbell, Dianne Solman, Dick Cummins (The Bookie), Mal Cooper, Lesley
Meadows, Bob Miller. Mim Timms.
If I come up with more, happy to let you and others know.
Dave Dixon (Dicko)
Many thanks for your
memories, Dave. I'll let everyone know on our Facebook page.
Have enjoyed reading the posts on the DMR website, thanks for your
efforts. I started as a clerk in the HO Traffic Section located on Level
21 of the Central Square building due to space shortages at the rabbit
warren ie 309 Castlereagh St. My boss was the legendary Gary Birmingham
and my immediate supevisor Ken Campbell. I later transferred within the
section and became a Traffic Engineering Officer (TEO) A whole bunch of
TEOs who started in 1980 are still going strong and work for Roads and
Maritime Services having survived more than our fair share of
restructures - they include Paul McNeill, Dean Rapp, Steve Acreman, Phil
Oliver, Stuart Macintyre, John Rozos, Steve Lyras, Alan Dixon and myself
Robert (Bob) Picone. We all worked for John Lymbery and later John Daley
(father of Labor MP and former Roads Minister Michael Daley). Some
readers may remember Brian Taylor DMT, DMR, RTA and currently with RMS
aged in his mid seventies with no talk of retiring. He was and still is
instrumental in designing and ensuring the high standard of traffic
signal equipment we have today in NSW. (Sadly most of the current RMS
executive would not be aware of this). Hearing names like Billy Boyd,
Birmo and Arthur Newland along with some of the establishments ie West
End, P&S Fish Cafe, Newmarket and Mandarin Club brought back many happy
memories. A notable exclusion was the DMR cafeteria - where you could
buy a T- bone steak, chips and vegies for $1.50! !! Not sure if this was
an urban myth but the story goes that there was a bar stool at the
Westend reserved for two people - Gary Birmingham and Australian
cricketer Doug Walters. Would love to hear from others on this.
ROBERT PICONE email@example.com
Lots of interesting comments there; thanks for your email, Robert.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO?
You can ask me to list ex-HO staff you're looking for
(or want to know what happened to said person), and I'll highlight the
details in a box, as under. You can have your email hotlinked, or use
this page as a go-between.
||Whatever happened to Allan
Jennens (after he went to BMG), George Bevan
ex Lane Cove, and Rosemary Bell ex Library?
||Posted by John
WEB EDITOR CONTACT DETAILS
Contact John direct at
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past into a blank email.
DMR OLD & BOLD PHOTO ARCHIVE
Collected by Joan Fairbairn.
122 b/w DMR photos now online! Click on the thumbnails; each has a
If you can identify people, quote that number and email me.
SYDNEY BUILDING PLANS
Click on the thumbnail images for A4 sized, printable PDF
Hosted by CB&M, Blue Mountains, NSW, owned and edited by the
ever-aging John Tipper.