Thursday 9 February 2023

A Colourful Character

Last year I gave a presentation to the Campbelltown and Airds Historical Society titled Colourful Characters of Campbelltown. I included 18 of some of the town's most lovable identities from the past. One I thought I would share with History Buff readers is Bob Hazelwood. Much of the information for his story came from Gillian Blackstone, daughter of former Campbelltown Council alderman Arch Walker. Ted Sedgwick also contributed to his story.

Robert Hazelwood was born in Campbelltown in 1898, the son of Stephen and Sarah Hazelwood. Bob worked on the railways before helping Arch Walker on the farm after he retired from the railways. He lived in Mrs Rixon’s boarding house alongside the railway line in Broughton Street. 

Bob was a heavy drinker, and one local remembers seeing him get hit by a car one afternoon outside the picture theatre. Somehow Bob managed to curl himself up in to a ball before he hit the road and rolled down the road a bit, got up dusted himself off and continued on his shuffle home.

Gillian Walker remembered him as a very thin, rather quiet man with a deep voice. He was very loyal and helped her father Arch immensely.

Bob would sometimes walk down the street and catch a local he knew and ask him for a winner. Off he would then go to the SP bookie. Most stories about Bob revolve around him going to the horse races on a Saturday- his day off. He was in work clothes all week, but on Saturday he would get all dressed up in his best suit with hat atop his head and walk to the station to catch the train for his day out. On his return at the end of the day he would alight the train looking slightly dishevelled having had one too many beers. Travelling on foot, swaying from side to side he made his way home to his little pensioner unit in Lindesay Street which was just north of Mereil Street in North Campbelltown.

Arch and Bob had finished milking one afternoon, the door of Arch’s truck was open and a stray German Shepherd dog, that had been hanging around the front gate to the farm for several days, decided he would hop into the truck and go home with them. The two scaredy cats Arch and Bob weren't game to push him out, so they sidled in next to him and brought him home for dog loving Gillian to deal with. He became a beloved member of the family. 

Every Christmas for years Mrs Walker would serve up a Christmas lunch for Bob, place it on a tray with all the trimmings, roast chicken and assorted vegetables, pudding with cream and custard, bon bon, nuts, lollies, the lot. Arch and Gillian would deliver it piping hot to his place. When they arrived, Bob had set his little table with tablecloth, cutlery, napkin etc. in readiness. Gillian would pop the bon bon with him, he'd put on his party hat to please her and we left him to enjoy his lunch. Although they had asked him to join them at home over the years he always declined and was happy to dine in his own home.

Bob died on 26 October 1980, he was hit by a car while walking home along the Moore/Oxley by-pass. He was 82.

Unfortunately I don't have a photo of Bob. If anyone of our readers do, I would love to see one!

Written by Andrew Allen

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