Articles

Obituary

Ted (Edward John) Cockram on 2 January 2021, at 90.

We published Ted's Memoirs in 2018.

Brought up in the tough life of the depression bush he made himself through varied occupations.

These are well described in his book (220 pages). Late in his careers he was instrumental in developing early tourism in the North West.

It is for this that he will be remembered by old hands of the North. While some of the modern hotshots will say how they did it all, Ted was the man who actually did do what he said.

Over the years I enjoyed his reminiscences and I am glad that he finally got his story down.

Vale! Ted.

Rhonda McDonald at 93 on 20 February 2021 at Mt Claremont.

I first met Rhonda and Alan in 1969. With my mate Alex Saar, I had overlanded during the night, star steering from the northwards on disused tracks. We came out at Mangaroon Station. The next morning at the homestead an irate Alan complained about our nocturnal wanderings, having thought that thieves might be trying to raid his sheds and stock. But Rhonda gave us breakfast with the family and my interest in minerals and the Star of Mangaroon Gold Mine soothed Alan.

We kept up erratic contact and when Hesperian Press commenced its current publishing programme we reprinted Rhonda’s Gold in the Gascoyne in 1986, which described their station life and the Star of Mangaroon mine. In 1991 Winning the Gascoyne created great interest in the station histories. This was followed by Along the Ashburton in 2002.  These are important Western Australian books and with several others of a similar ilk are a template for anyone wanting to record the people and history of their districts. Later these encouraged me to compile histories of the Upper Gascoyne and Upper Ashburton areas. Recently we published detailed indexes to Rhonda’s books so as to enable readers to find the sometimes fleeting glimpses of the bush denizens.

Rhonda loved talking to people and was quick to find those who had a tale to tell. Even the reticent whose stories took some winkling out were not safe. But it was Alan who was the salesman. He would nobble people at the races, meetings, and on the track, and few ever escaped the tollkeeper of the books.

I very much enjoyed Rhonda’s tales of pretentious poisonalities such as one of the ‘Scrub’ clan. The patriarch would have breakfast at the Stidworthy hotel, and then demand a discount because he had not eaten his piece of toast!

Her passion for doll creation and collecting intrigued my daughters as did the collections of minerals and bush relics for myself and other visitors.

The passing of Alan in 2009 left Rhonda rudderless. Looking over the acknowledgements in her books is like a roll call for the Legion of the Lost. With Rhonda now on that hallowed list her passing is a watershed between a fascinating past and the current amorphousness that engulfs us all.