Since the early 1970s, Mick Joffe’s passion has been to caricature and record endangered characters of Australia, and the world. Micks books combine the very Australian art of caricature with oral history – the history of drovers, shearers, naturalists, miners, farmers, artists, explorers, etc.
The caricatures capture the individual on the outside and their own words captured from the inside. Some of Micks books include the following; Living Relics of Australia – Living Treasures of the Snowy Mountains – Endangered Characters of Australia – Yarns & Photos and most importantly – Living Treasures of Oberon.
Mick Joffe has drawn many thousands of characters in his lifetime. And flying in for his fishing adventures to Oberon’s Duckmaloi River seen him encapsulate the essence of our community through the yarns and stories told to him from our many local characters from families who settled and pioneered our district.
The book “Living Treasures of Oberon” is a compilation of stories and characters of Oberon’s oldest residents at the time of writing in the late 1990’s, It was a project as part of the community’s celebration of the new millennium that involved the Big Trout Motel, Oberon Council and Oberon Rotary club.
It is recognition and celebration of the district’s oldest generation of that period. Beside each caricature these great Australians are recorded with simplicity and pride, and in their own words they reflected on their lives and times in our district.
The Original Caricatures were presented to Oberon’s Mayor at the time Mr Bob Hooper for Oberon councils’ custodianship, by the then Rotary President Mr Hans Guldberg at a function at Oberon RSL club chaired by Mr Kevin McGrath in 2001. The frames for the Caricatures were created especially for them made by the late Roley Schrader (Pictured Above) from recycled timber palings.
The Treasures Caricatures were on display at Oberon Council and then the Bob Hooper centre for many years. The originals are now housed at the Bathurst Regional Repository where they will be housed in a climate-controlled environment to protect them into the future.
Oberon Council launched a project to recreate each of the 40 caricatures and stories to be etched on metal and put on public display on a purpose-built rock wall in the Oberon Common. The realisation of the project is now fully complete, and the official rededication of the Oberon Treasure’s wall was conducted on Saturday 18th of November.
Oberon Council Mayor Clr Mark Kellam officiated at the proceedings, and officially opened the rededication and welcomed all the families, friends and extensive relatives who travelled near and far to attend this celebration and immortalisation of the Oberon Treasures. Sadly only 1 surviving Treasure is still with us and that is Mrs Val Lhuede who due to her health could not make the long trip here but sent her apologies, but her family had attended the celebrations, Val had celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year.
I hope everyone takes time to visit our beautiful Oberon Common and view the Treasures wall and read all the stories, it really is a fantastic memorial to those who contributed so much to our district and our lives.
The 40 Oberon Treasures are,
Sister Marie Therese Slattery, Monty Cotton, Tom O’Connell, Bert Hogan, John McCusker, Lloyd Whalan, Allan Adams, Beatie Wilcox, Chick Tosic, Elvie Nunan, Mick O’Connell, Hilda Evans, Ida Harvey, Bessie Stillwell, Vic Ebberton, Ted Richards, Herb Cunynghame, Keith Press, Joe Artery, Claude Brien, Ray Cunynghame, Hugh O’Donnell, Noel Harvey, Frank Fawcett, Stella and Ted Cranfield, Malcolm Watson, Hubert McKinnon, Hilton Ryan, Ron Hanrahan, Max and Rita Hanrahan, Bob Webb, Leath Johnston, Max Steel, Hank and Nellie Melchers, Colin Whalan, Jane Cosgrove, Thelma Young, Horace McKinnon, Dr. Lance Robey and Val Lhuede.