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More Information about Jack

John Thomas Michael (Jack) McNamara (c.1905 - 1981/2)
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These pages about Jack McNamara are split up as follows :

Page 1 : Ancestors & Siblings and A Family Affair
Page 2 : Letters to the Editor including The Water Trough
Page 3 : Essays from Power Points
Page 4 : Essays - the "A Bloke Retires" Series
Page 5 : Other Essays - Fun and Philosophy

John Thomas Michael (Jack) McNamara

Jack wrote a number of Letters to the Editor and some of them are produced below. One of them was about the saving a what he regarded as a heritage item, a horse water trough outside the Minto Railway Station in Minto Rd Minto. His correspondence from Campbelltown City Council about the trough is also included here.

Campbelltown Ingleburn News 20 March 1973

As a newcomer to Minto, I was pleasantly surprised to see an old concrete horse drinking trough in front of Minto railway station, standing between two stately old gum trees and in front of a modern hotel-motel.
Since many cars, and trucks, park around and about this trough each day there is always the danger that it could be demolished.
This precious piece of the past should be fenced for protection and preserved for posterity and automatically, for tourism.
I know full well that many people are generally averse to change and innovation, while many are indifferent as to what is going on around and about them
But despite this I am going to suggest something in connection with this trough, that would put Minto on the tourist map in the same way as Gundagai with its tucker box was put on the map.
My simple suggestion is to seek someone skilled and civic-minded enough to fashion a draught horse in plastic, concrete or some such material, to stand drinking from this trough.
I can well imagine quite a few laughing at this idea but they did that about the "dog and the tucker box" when it was only an idea.
If a dog and a tucker box can make a small relatively isolated town famous, I am certain that Minto, with its horse and trough, can do much better for two reasons.
Firstly, Minto is very close to a capital city and thousands of motorists are eager to visit some place of particular interest at weekends.
Secondly, there is a great affinity between a horse and a drinking trough and this will attract tourists.
I have travelled a great deal about this country and have seen a few of these troughs, but none lends itself so ideally as to Minto to my suggestion to perpetuate the memory of our earliest and almost forgotten pioneer, the draught horse.
Campbelltown will be a city in its truest sense when all the buildings and institutions are completed, so let us blend a little of the old with the very new.
If we have the foresight to act now, future generation (sic) will thank us for it. I am a retired person, and would like to meet interested persons.

J T McNamara,
Launceston, Tasmania.
East Minto.

One can only presume that Jack was in Launceston, possibly on holidays?

Presumably, Jack took the matter of the horse trough up directly with Campelltown City Council. Reproduced below are three letters he received from the Council.

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Letter 13 Mar 1973

13th March, 1973

Mr. J. T. McNamara,
31 Hansens Road,
EAST MINTO       2566

Dear Sir,

I acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 12th March, 1973 and note with interest your suggestion regarding the horse trough at Minto.

I have referred the matter to the Works Committee for investigation and report to Council, and will later advise you of any progress on your proposal.

Yours faithfully

 

 

(signed)
C. C. Mulholland
Mayor.

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Letter 10 April 1973

10th April, 1973

Mr. J. T. McNamara,
31 Hansens Road,
EAST MINTO       2566

Dear Sir,

Further to my letter of 13 March 1973 regarding the beautification and protection of the horse trough in Minto Road, Minto, I wish to advise that your request was considered by council at its meeting held on 3 April 1973.

Council resolved that the matter be referred back to the Works Committee for further consideration.

You will be informed of the Council's ultimate decision.

Yours faithfully

 

 

(signed)
B P McDonald
Town Clerk

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Letter 23 May 1973 Page 1         Letter 23 May 1973 Page 2

23 May, 1973

Page 1

Mr. J. T. McNamara,
31 Hansens Road,
EAST MINTO       2566

Dear Sir,

I refer to your letter dated 12 March 1973 concerning the protection and beautification of the horse trough in Minto Road, and wish to advise that this matter was referred to Council at its meeting held on 15 May.

Because Council too is conscious of the need to retain the historic and rural nature of the Campbelltown area, the question of the preservation of the horse trough aroused considerable discussion and interest.  However, the planning of the Minto area is not as yet complete, and it was agreed that to construct a garden protective scheme around the horse trough at this stage would be premature, bearing in mind that the area adjacent to the Minto Railway Station will one day become heavily trafficked as development proceeds.  In addition, a great deal of construction activity is likely to occur in the same vicinity, and concern was expressed that the horse trough could possibly be damaged by vehicles and plant.

With these factors in mind, Council resolved to remove the horse trough from its present location and to store it in the Council's Works Depot until the time when a suitable protective scheme may be implemented.

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In addition, and because you share with Council the common ideal for the retention and preservation of the history of Campbelltown, Council desired that I write to you informing of the background thoughts that led to Council's decision to temporally remove the horse trough from its present location, and asked that I particularly thank you for your interest in this matter.

 

Yours faithfully

 

 

(signed)
B P McDonald
Town Clerk

This could be a classic case of be careful what you wish for. Jack started out with the objective of preserving the horse trough and ended up with it being pulled down and put into "safe" storage. Maybe if he'd not said anything, it wouldn't have come to Council's attention and may have stayed there for many years. We'll never know.

Campbelltown Ingleburn News (Probably) - 19 March 1974

Sir,
It must prove disheartening for all people who actively concern themselves with road accidents, for those who introduce safety devices, for Government officials etc., etc., when so much of their plans and efforts are repaid with still more deaths.
So many slogans, debates, safety devices and the like have been introduced over the last decade with the object of reducing the road toll that one would be hard pressed to think up just one more.
It is apparent that road signs, laws governing the use of the road and mechanical life saving devices and such things as give way to the right, seat belts and flicker lights will only go so far.
Without the full compliance of drivers with all these things matters will surely remain as they are. I believe that the community has grown so used to road deaths they have become insensitive to what is taking place.
The road toll is put into the same category as inflation, both being nuisances that no one can control.
On top of all this, and perhaps the worst feature by way of contribution to the death toll is the attitude, it can't happen to me.
Proof of this prevalent thought is easily debunked by virtue of the fact similiar circumstances in fatal accidents keep on occurring (crashing into trees, etc.), to those whose attitude has always been, it can't happen to me.
Proof of this prevalent thought is easily debunked by virtue of the fact similiar circumstances in fatal accidents keep on occurring (crashing into trees, etc.), to those whose attitude has always been, it can't happen to me.
The emphasis and solution to this vexing problem must surely be found in some form of community education (not necessarily better driver education), where people will learn to fully appreciate the danger equally as well as the pleasure that their trusted and harmless car can bring them.

J T McNamara,
Hansens Rd
East Minto.

Campbelltown Ingleburn News (Probably) - Undated

Sir,
I am not likely to forget in a hurry the recent grass and bush fires which took place in and around East Minto.
Along with other houses, my own place was in danger so I was afforded the opportunity of witnessing first-hand the manner in which our firemen attacked the fire.
On many occasions they would quench the fire, then be forced to return to the same place when the wind whipped up a fresh onrush. This is how the fire, or fires, were fought and eventually extinguished over a vast area of land.
It has been reported these fires were started by fire bugs.
I believe this to be true, so we see the heroic and tireless efforts of our firemen further dwarfing the cowardly and vandalistic actions of these strange and peculiar beings.
I would like to take this opportunity through your columns to express my appreciation and thanks -- and I am sure I am speaking on behalf of my involved neighbours -- to all fire, ambulance and police officers etc., etc. who took part.

Yours etc.,
J T McNamara,
Hansens Rd
East Minto.

Campbelltown Ingleburn News 1 July 1975

Sir,
Sir,
Despite the fact State Governments, semi-Government bodies and other similiar bodies are crying out about having no money to carry out necessary work, Campbelltown doesn't seem to be feeling the pinch at all.
Around my house bulldozers, who love trees about as much as dogs love cats, are, in conjunction with the great big frightening yellow things, tearing the place to pieces and spoiling the whole topography of the area.
The SPEC gentlemen (speculative builders and developers) are in the act too, and are upsetting all my neighbours by offering them anti-inflationary prices for their properties.
I realise provision has to be made for posterity no less than for people to build today. I have no complaint to make about this at all. My complaint is that amidst all this activity I know of no small area of land which is likely to be set aside for the building of a rest home for pensioners or old soldiers.
Campbelltown is not lacking in its numbers of civic-minded citizens, and in its organised groups such as Lions.
Should any endeavour be made to acquire land for this purpose, it would have to be now, as a little later would be too late.
There are vast stretches of land at the back of my place which would probably be unsuitable for housing, but ideal for a rest home. Ideal because of a bushland setting and a suitable climate.
All manner of projects beneficial to mankind are on the drawing board for Campbelltown, and I am sure if we add this one we will eventually play a full and winning hand.

Yours etc.,
J T McNamara,
Hansens Rd
East Minto.

(Hand notation at end of article : aged 69 years 9 months)

        

Updated : 11 Jul 2011