Canowindra’s population was like a United Nations
A Greek ran the fruit shop; an Italian had the Garden of Roses cafe and milk bar (he also sold condoms); A Jewish couple had the Newsagency and Strand Theatre; the Maloufs (Lebanese ) had a grocery and fabrics shop; Chinese had the Laundry and a Fruit and Vegetable Garden on the river flats near the town; we had a “Pommie” plumber; An Irish Parish Priest; An Irish Matron at the hospital and an Indian doctor,
Everyone got on well with one another and with their Aussie neighbours and they used to join in town functions. (Doug Malouf was Best Man at my wedding). I remember once Ron Worboys (local Austin and Volkswagen dealer) referred to the “Poms” Cricket team and his being chided by his mother who said: “Ho Ron, not the Poms. The Hinglishmen”!
An Aboriginal electrician linesman (John Kennedy) used to go to the Bush dances with us. Johno used to go to the bush dances at Billimari and at Murga etc with us. Black as the Ace of spades, Johno was great company and very good looking. We used to tell him not to go wandering around outside the dance hall in the dark as we would not be able to find him, He used to take our well-meant good humour with a bit of a laugh.
I have received several testimonials during my career but none more glowing than that from John Hartigan Chief Executive Officer of News Limited on the occasion of my 80th birthday!
Here it is:
1. NEWS LIMITED,
“Long before Rampaging Roy Slaven and HG Nelson tried to make fun of the South Coast News on ABC Radio on a Saturday afternoon, there was Kevin Whalan reporting the news from the South Coast as it really was. While a noted specialist on all things South Coast – at the Illawarra Mercury and Kiama Independent – Kevin also graced the fourth estate further west with stints on the Cowra Guardian and Canowindra Star. It was all good training for his golden age on the Daily Mirror, then the Telegraph Mirror after we merged the two papers, and finally the Daily Telegraph.
Kevin was a journalist for 49 years , 23 of those at News Limited. As a reporter, Kevin saw the full spectrum of life’s drama. comedy and humanity . He earned and enjoyed great friendship with both colleagues and those in the community he served. He valued loyalty and it was reciprocated. He was made a Life Member of the journalists union – the old AJA – in 1990. Today, Kevin is surrounded by family and friends, some media and even a couple of pollies. He’s obviously still got the pulling power of a pro.
Happy birthday mate, As Rupert Murdoch would say, 80 is a pretty good start!
With best wishes and regards,
John Hartigan. Chairman and Chief Executive, News Limited,.2 Holt Street, Sydney.
The testimonial was accompanied by a note:
NEWS LIMITED John Hartigan, Chairman and Chief Executive,16 May, 2009.
Can I offer you my congratulations on turning 80 years of age .
You’re still but a youngster. I wish I could be with you for the big party but unfortunately can’t make the drive down the coast. Our many years of working together I remember with great fondness .Make sure you have a ball and all the best for the future. Best wishes, John Hartigan.
2. Before my taking up the appointment as Editor of the Kiama Independent I edited the Narromine New for an old acquaintance, Cliff Whitelocke, (Whom I never met) while he went on a well-earned holiday. He wrote me a delightful letter on his return:
Dear Mr Whalan:
Thanks you for everything. I am glad you had an enjoyable stay. A cheque for expenses is enclosed. You appear to have made a favourable impression on the people who met you and you made excellent use of the Kliesehograph (a photo engraver for the printing press), I noticed with interest your experimentation with some of the sans-serif type we had been saving for The Second Coming and will probably revert to placid 36 point bodenia and the like while we do some research I hope you have a pleasant time at Kiama Mrs Weston and John are people we have grown to admire and I hope you will give them our warm regards, Thanks again for all you did, it was appreciated . Yours sincerely Cliff,
3. From John Hatton. Member for the seat of South Coast at the time:
It was quite a shock to learn from the President of Shoalhaven Shire, Cr R Wilson, of the dismissal of Kevin Whalan, Of course I do not know the circumstances and so I cannot comment except to relate my views of Mr Whalan. As one who has been in public life for 12 years, often in the forefront where the flak is thickest, I have met many journalists. There would be none more polite and sincere than Kevin Whalan. Never at any time have I had cause to complain. He has always gone to great lengths to check the accuracy of his stories and in my view is a much needed constructive force in the building of a better community. I hope most sincerely that the powers that be will reconsider this dismissal.
Hon Hatton. M.L.A. South Coast.
From Shoalhaven City Council:
Mr K. Whalan. News Limited, Room 309.A.M.P. Building, 166 Keira Sreet, Wollongong.N.S.W. 2500: 16 December. 1980,
4. Dear Kevin:
Your Letter of the 6th November addressed to the mayor and aldermen advising that you would no longer be reporting council meetings was distributed to Senior staff and aldermen at a meeting of council held on 8th December. 1980. I thank you for your complimentary remarks and wish to convey council’s appreciation to you for your fair and accurate reporting of Council meetings, The co-operation that has been enjoyed by council and yourself in the reporting of matters before council will be fondly remembered and I wish you and your wife Frances best wishes not only for Christmas and the New Year but for a continuing prosperous future.
Yous faithfully W.G Lamond, Town Clerk.
I also received a card signed by many members of the Canowindra Chamber of Commerce on my leaving Canowindra; One from the staff of the Cowra Guardian and one from the journalistic staff of the Illawarra Mercury.