Hard workers with a self-deprecating sense of humour like Bob Quincey are not often found. Born in Coburg on the 29th October 1925, the second of seven siblings, Bob embodied the post-war, give-it-a-go spirit which created strong communities and enduring values.
Bob and his wife Mary moved to the hills in 1949 after buying a block in Glen Road, Belgrave Heights, where they built their permanent home. Their first child, Susan, was born in 1950, followed by Paul, Christine, Alan and Michael. Bob was employed by Phillips Australia in their Sound Division, initially going to large facilities where sound systems were needed, his biggest and most complex project being the Myer Music Bowl. He later transferred to Australian Sound, where he worked until his retirement in the early nineties, but he made sure that every Wednesday he got to play tennis at the Belgrave Heights Tennis Club where he was a committee member for many years.
Bob was involved in his local community at every level, and he seemed unable to go to any community meeting without getting himself on the committee and in the thick of any work that was going. He told the story of going to the General Store & Post Office in Belgrave Heights when he arrived and being appraised by the Fire Brigade Captain at the time, who told him that he was now in the Brigade. “Right,” said Bob in typical fashion. The Brigade had a number of actively involved fifteen- and sixteen-year-old boys who weren’t old enough to officially be part of it. A Fire Brigade Boys Club was started which Bob then ran. They had ball games, boxing, “keepings off” and the like, and Bob described them as “rough boys, very active”. One of their activities was jumping on pogo sticks. Bobby Preston was so good that Bev Greenwood made him a kangaroo suit and they had him jump through Belgrave, Upwey & Ferntree Gully to solicit donations towards their own Hall. The Shire rented them land at 10/- a year & they built the Hall themselves. Bob either helped run the club or acted on the committee for over twenty-six years, although neither of his boys were ever members.
He also served on the Gilmour Park and Grounds Committee for six years. And then there was the Netball Club & courts which needed extensions to their building, drainage for the courts, and more and better toilets; the toilets were so bad that Bob threatened to paint them pink to shame the Shire into doing something. Bob recalled digging drains and shovelling earth. As the Netball Club were short of umpires he naturally volunteered. At his first match he called a ball out and a bloke in the crowd yelled out that it was in. Bob walked over, took his whistle off and said, “Ïf you want the whistle, here it is!”
He was also on the scouts and cubs committee where they raised money in the usual ways of the time: bottle drives – they sold a stack of bottles 6ft high by 20ft long by 15ft wide which raised £300, a lot of money at that time – and paper drives which weren’t nearly as profitable. Bob went away on camps getting very little sleep but into lots of mischief in the process.
Both Bob and Mary were instrumental in getting the local kindergarten established. Bob was initially equipment officer, graduating to secretary, treasurer and President. He spent thirteen years building a highly valued piece of important community infrastructure from scratch, leaving only when it was self-sufficient.
Ageing didn’t change him. He and Mary were both members of Belgrave Probis, and Bob was a foundation member of the Southern Sherbrooke Historical Society where he contributed so much, taking on the role of sound recordist and curator of the society’s extensive oral history archive.
Bob died on 13 September 2014 and is survived by his beloved Mary, four of his five children, and 11 grandchildren. All of us who knew this unassuming, positive and enthusiastic man will miss him dearly.