Friday 17 April 2015

A Man of Colours

Tom Cooper was born near Rockhampton in 1897 and came to Menangle Park in the late 1920s. He acquired 3 lots of land totalling 7 and a half acres on what is now Racecourse Avenue.

Tom is remembered as a colourful character: both figuratively and literally. When he first announced himself to the people of Menangle Park he wore bright parrot feathers in his hat band. He spoke with a slow drawl, thick set with prominent side levers and had a fascination for bright colours. He would sometimes wear a red shirt with an emerald green tie for example.

His house was painted with many bright colours. This gaudily painted house would always attract the attention of passing railway passengers. He explained that someone had been unable to find his home, so he painted it so no one could possibly miss it. The house was to inspire the short story, "The Eye Stopper" by local author Melva Vincent. It appeared in the 1963-64 "Coast to Coast"- an annual anthology of Australian short stories.

Tom was a keen breeder of homing pigeons. His knowledge and ability in this resulted in him becoming a Sergeant of the Pigeon Corps in North Queensland during World War 2. He had a keen interest in bird life and nature generally and a good knowledge of the birds of the Campbelltown area.

Even Tom's bicycle had the bizaare name of "Eggbeater"!

Tom Cooper died in 1968 aged 71 leaving a wife behind. They had no children. He is buried in Rookwood Cemetery.

I would love to see a photograph of Tom Cooper or hear more stories about him. Please let us know if you do have anything and I can share them on this blog.

Written by Andrew Allen


Menangle Park NSW: 1948 To Early 1950s
In Grist Mills, Vol.4 No.3, pp35-42

Campbelltown-Ingleburn News, December 3 1968

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