Bob’s birthday bash
Former PT paperboy returned home for 80th
A paperboy and Pastoral Times employee in his youth, former local Bob Hudson could not resist a trip to the PASTORAL TIMES on his return home earlier this month.
He set aside the planning for his 80th birthday celebrations to pop into the office, and see how things are run today.
Friends and family pulled out all stops to help Bob celebrate his birthday on December 18, a few days before his actual birthday.
“The lass at the pub (Sportsman’s Arm Hotel Motel) even printed a new menu that had ‘Bob’s 80th’ on it,’’ he shared proudly.
Bob, who was born on his grandmother’s bed in Balranald, had many stories to tell from his 80 years so far.
He played football in Deniliquin for 10 years, coaching his team to the 1957 premiership with Jim Jennings.
Bob left school when he was 13 and began delivering and selling the PASTORAL TIMES in the streets.
It was his first job and he received 10 shillings a week for the effort.
From 1950 to 1953 Bob left behind the paperboy role and sought jobs in other areas, but he was soon back in the paper game.
He returned to the PT where he was tasked with sorting papers and other small jobs.
In 1954 Bob starting dabbling in shearing before going on to work with his father, as a refrigerator mechanic — one of the top 10 in Australia at the time.
‘‘That didn’t last long though, because he didn’t pay me,’’ Bob said.
He also did some transport work, carting around both race and rodeo horses in 1956.
While it meant he saw vast areas of the country, it was the next job which really gave Bob the chance to travel and explore.
He went on to become an employee for Australia’s first integrated national communications service, Post Master General (PMG).
As part of his service to PMG, Bob spent six years in Papua New Guinea.
Part of his role there was to teach the locals their job, including building manholes,
He also helped construct Papua New Guinea’s first undersea cable, which was all done by hand.
‘‘They did have mechanics and quicker ways to build it, but they didn’t want to put us boys out of a job,’’ he said.
‘‘They were good like that; really looked after us.’’
Payment for their efforts was $4 a week, plus a home and food supplied.
When the government passed legislation to raise the pay to $11 a week, many of the local employees were let go.
In 1978, Bob decided to go out on his own and started a new venture.
Operating out of Queensland, he grows a native South American plant called Tillandsia from seed and distributes plants and seeds to places in Australia, America and the Netherlands.
‘‘The species is slowly being wiped out in South America which is a shame as it’s such a beautiful plant,’’ Bob said.
‘‘I didn’t think it’d be such a good business but it’s been quite successful.’’
Even from Queensland, Bob says he still tries to read his ‘local’ Pastoral Times paper as often as he can.
He said while in Deniliquin he was happy to be reunited with some of his old friends, including football teammates, and family at his birthday celebrations.
Bob Hudson took time out of his birthday bash celebrations to catch up on the local news.