Gunnedah & District Historical Society members honoured the memory of the late Ron McLean OAM with the dedication of the research area in the museum basement and bestowing of posthumous life membership so that his name is on the honour board for posterity.

“The Ron McLean (Rocky) Memorial Work Room” was unveiled by his wife Judy McLean after the annual general meeting at the Water Tower Museum on February 19. Also present was Blaen Williams who had assisted his grandfather greatly by lifting boxes of newspaper from the shelves and carrying items up and down the stairs from the basement.

Historical society president Marie Hobson spoke about the enormous contribution Rocky had made to the society, with the research and publication of four historical books, including the town’s sesquicentenary book, The Way We Were, In The Line of Fire, The Final Curtain and Soldiers of Gunnedah.

“Rocky’s contribution to the society and the community cannot be measured with his incredible skill for writing converted into these popular books with material for an updated version of The Way We Were completed before his death in September 2023 after a long battle with illness,” Marie Hobson said.

The plaque includes an image of a camera, acknowledging his years as respected newspaper editor, and his trusty red hat. The plaque letting is overlaid with the words from Ron’s obituary in the Gunnedah Times.

“Rocky spent countless hours in research and writing and we also honour and appreciate you Judy for your contribution by always supporting his efforts and you Blaen for your support – we will never forget.”

In reply, Judy McLean said she was honoured to unveil the sign and thanked members from all the family.

“I’m sure everyone here today knows how much Ron loved history, especially the history of his hometown,” she said.

“Ron always enjoyed his time as part of the museum family and being able to use the great resources available here. The people of Gunnedah are lucky to have this great facility available to them. Thank you for honouring Ron in this way.”

Society members were also pleased to honour long-serving member Colin Rosewell with life membership, acknowledging his impressive contribution to the technical side of the museum’s resources, with thousands of photos scanned, information programs set up and filing systems fine-tuned. His hundreds of hours of voluntary work were often carried out from his home base, with systems in place to make research easier and a modernised constitution. Members nominated him for an Australia Day award in the community achievement section and gathered for the dinner and awards ceremony on the eve of Australia Day.

The annual general meeting included the election of office bearers for the year ahead with the previous committee returned unopposed – Marie Hobson (president), Kay Wilson (vice-president) Judy Lee (secretary), Martine Moran (assistant-secretary), Alan Barker (treasurer), Veronica Shakeshaft (committee member).

President Marie Hobson, committee member Veronica Shakeshaft, vice president Kay Wilson, secretary Martine Moran, new life member Col Rosewell and secretary Judy Lee. Absent, treasurer Alan Barker.

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