This page provides a short insight into the personalities of the Wingham RSL Sub-branch Executive and the Veterans Advocacy Team.
Ronald W Irwin – President – I was born in 1940 in South Australia among seven siblings. I started school at Raukkan (Point McLeay Mission), left school at 14 years of age to help my family. At 18 I got my crayfishing skipper’s license. I had my own fishing cutter. I joined the RAN 23rd Oct 1961 after my 21st birthday. I served ranks from ordinary seaman to warrant officer until resignation in 1982. I remained in the RAN Reserve until 16th Oct 1996. I served on many ship during my career – HMAS Gascoyne, HMAS Sydney, HMAS Melbourne, HMS Barossa, HMAS Swan, HMAS Tarakan, HMAS Balikpapan. I was heavily involved with the rescue and recovery of survivors of the HMAS Voyager/HMAS Melbourne collision. It occurred 6 weeks after I married Lesley Alison Glenn of Wingham, where we both now reside. We have a son and daughter and 1 grand daughter. I was on the HMAS Melbourne at the time of the collision with USS Frank E Evans on the 3rd June 1969. Whilst serving on HMAS Tarakan the ship was selected to conduct the original Crown of Thorn starfish survey due to knowledge of the Barrier Reef and seamanship skills. Sailed to Darwin in HMAS Balikpapan to assist with the recovery after Cyclone Tracey. As a reservist I was seconded by Rear Admiral Peter Sinclair AC (later to be Governor of NSW) to assist him in the recovery of Nyngan in the west of NSW after the town was flooded. I was also involved in the rebuild of HMAS Waterhen base in Sydney Harbour and writing some of the original RAN Standing Operation Procedures. In 1995 I received a ‘Distinguished Service Award’ from Lions International for service to the Lion’s movement. I joined the RSL in 1974 – I was a member at Rooty Hill, Eumungerie, Ungarie and Wingham. I have held positions of President, Vice President, Secretary, Acting Treasurer, Welfare Officer, Schools Liaison Officer, aged Veterans Support Officer, Delegate to DC and RSL NSW State Congress. I was made a Life Member of the RSL NSW in 2018. NSW Government awarded me a Ministerial Commendation for significant contribution to the Veterans community. During the Centenary of ANZAC as President of the Wingham RSL Sub Branch I presided over the many activities. Of the many activities the Peace Concert in the Wingham Town Hall on the 11 November 2018, was the highlight. During 2018 I was diagnosed with cancer in my right foot and as a result my big toe was amputated. I retired from Executive roles with the RSL but am still the Aged Veterans Support Officer. I am a foundation member of ‘Art & Soul’ art for Veterans and first responders PTSD sufferers. I have played, coached and administered many sporting roles. I am a Life Member of the Cricket Umpires Association.
Sandy Brooks – Vice President Member of the Veterans’ Advocacy Team.
Trevor Leggott OAM JP – Vice President . Trevor is married to Pamela and they live on a 50 acre property at Wherrol Flat. They have four adult children, 15 grandchildren, and an increasing 11 great grandchildren. Trevor comes from an electrical engineering background and in the early 1980s he trained for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church. This was followed by periods in pastoral ministry in Melbourne and Armidale. In 1996 he took a role as the National Director of Australian Indigenous Ministries which lasted for some 22 years, after which Trevor was awarded an Order of Australia for services to the indigenous community. Now in retirement Trevor continues his church involvement with occasional preaching appointments, and has functioned as the Clerk of the Church’s national Synod for some 15 years.
Brian Willey – Honorary Treasurer. Born in February 1966 in Geelong Victoria. Grew up and raised in my home town of Portarlington on the southern edge of Port Phillip Bay. Educated at Portarlington Primary School and Geelong High School.
As a youngster, I played Aussie-Rules football, cricket and tennis. I also enjoyed many years in the scouting movement rising from cub-scout to scout, senior scout and Troop Leader before joining the Royal Australian Navy as a Junior Recruit at age 15 and ten months. My Initial engagement was for 12 years and ended up serving 21 years.
I advanced through the ranks as a ‘radio operator special’ to become a navigator, communications and intelligence officer with the rank of Lieutenant. My second career of 20 years was as a Search and Rescue Officer with the Australian Rescue Coordination Centre in Canberra.
I am married with two children and six grandchildren.
Leonie Gilford – Honorary Secretary . Born in Melbourne in 1955 and commenced school in an outback railway town in SW Qld. Spent most of my formative years in Adelaide and Port August SA. I joined the WRANS in 1973 in the communications branch, reaching the rank of Petty Officer. I left after completing a UNIVAC fortran course which managed to set me up for future employment after having my family. I joined Australian National Railways in 1986 working my to Train Controller. Left SA in 1996 and returned to the Eastern States. After retiring and doing some travelling, we found ourselves here in Wingham in 2012. I was a member of the RSL in SA and now here in NSW.
Chris Willey – Membership Secretary was born in Melbourne in 1955. I joined the WRANS in 1973 and learnt how to read morse code. I spent time in HMAS Cerberus, HMAS Harman and HMAS Coonawarra. I met Brian at HMAS Harman and we married during our time in Darwin. We had two children and I left the Navy to become a full time Mum. Did that until both children were at school and then I found work in the finance sector. I worked with a building Society in Canberra for 17 years and then joined the ATO where I worked as a business analyst for a few years before we retired. Once retired, Brian & I toured Australia & overseas for a few years and then settled in Wingham in 2014. We are both heavily involved in our Community.
Mick Downs– Committee Member.
John (Jack) Muxlow – Committee Member. Jack was born in Wingham in Oct 1951, the fifth of nine children. He attended Wingham Primary and Wingham High Schools. He commenced employment as an Apprentice Mechanic with the Family Motor Business selling Chrysler and Mitsubishi cars and Dodge Commer and Mack Trucks.
Jack’s apprenticeship was placed on hold to attend ‘call up’. He completed Recruit and Corps training at 3 TB Singleton and was discharged in early 1973. From whence he returned and completed his apprenticeship in Automotive Mechanics. Jack enjoyed playing hocket and sailing VeeEss. He married Pamela in 1974 and he has a daughter and son and two Grandchildren.
Lyn Turner – Committee Member.
Tony Johnson – Committee Member. I am new to Wingham area, recently retired after the last 10 plus years working in China and the Middle East. After my short 6 year term in the Navy I surfed and travelled around the World, finally settling on a career in Horticulture and Landscape Design My Masters was a Horticultural research Degree (Wagga) and then the following PhD (Ohio State USA) was in Xerophytic Sustainable Horticultural Development and Soil Science. A fabulous time working with the infamous Mayor of Port Augusta, Joy Baluch (RIP) saw 10 years as the Parks Superintendent and Serving on the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden Board as the Horticultural Advisor, then more travelling in our 40 foot yacht to many interesting places. China came about as an opportunity to design, install and supervise the construction of many large and challenging sustainable developments for projects all over China, Mongolia, India, Italy, Myanmar, Tristan da Cunha (google it) and Holland. The latter winning a Gold Medal for the one in 10 years Floriade in Venlo Holland. Retirement with my wife Sandy in this beautiful town is a blessing after a busy life of travelling. I am looking forward to working with the rest of the dedicated persons within the Wingham Sub Branch.
Terry Gould – Team Leader of the Veterans’ Advocacy Team. Terry was born 1946 and raised on the Central Coast, NSW. He enlisted in the Army and trade trained at The Army Apprentices School in 1962. On completion, he transferred to Royal Australian Engineers.
Terry saw Operational Service in Borneo during Indonesian Confrontation and a further three years in Papua New Guinea. He then married 1967. Commenced employment in Juvenile Justice and Child Protection NSW State Services in 1971. Terry graduated with a B.A. in Community Services at Charles Sturt University.
Thirty one years of state wide Community and Detention Centre service. Retired as the Senior Centre Manager and retired to Wingham District to take up farming in 2002. Interests include: Justice of the Peace; RFS Volunteer (since 2002 and currently a Deputy Captain); qualified Veterans Wellbeing Advocate; and a Sydney Swans Supporter.
Most rewarding: Marrying Chris and raising our children together; Four Generations of Volunteer Military Service to the Nation; Community & Veteran Advocacy voluntary activities; and Learning to farm.
Tim Kennedy – Veterans Advocacy Team (Wellbeing). More to follow…
Geoff Harrison – Veterans’ Advocacy Wellbeing Team (qualified and accredited Lvl 1 Wellbeing and Lvl 2 Compensation Advocate). 33 years in the Army in transportation, logistics and movements. Deployments to the Middle East, Africa, Asia, West Germany and Europe. Relocated to Wingham in 2011.