Hi, my name is Bob Wear

I started racing pigeons in the mid 60’s with the Vitesse club. Being a foundation member in the first couple of years I worked myself into the top flyer group. I won my first two races. My first Association race the Marree Derby I blew having my back to the loft and a bird in the trap beaten two minutes and gained 1st club 16th Assoc. As Marlon Brandon said in 1954 in “On the Waterfront” I could have been a contender I could have been somebody!

But my moment was to come. 1969 Barrow Creek as a young fella driving Semi’s to Darwin in the late 50’s to 60’s I spent a long time leaning on the bar at the Barrow Creek hotel. A very hot country sometimes.- nice cold beer!! But back to 1969 the Assoc raced Barrow Creek.  My big thrill was gaining first place - the only bird in race time ”one thousand miles.” The thrill to follow was at the old Assoc hall on Henley Beach road. Getting a count down from Doug Green and Allen Pearce where there were usually a couple of hundred clocks going off. This night there was only one there for the race. There were ten cash prizes for a total value of $500 plus ten trophies. The race was greatly advertised: John Martins, Myers and David Jones. My wife invited to these stores to spend her vouchers. The bird was a three year old grizzle hen bred by my late uncle Alec Wear, late of the Port combine, also his father - my grandfather I believe was the local clock chairman working out of a shed at the back of the Alberton Hotel. I’m not sure when, late 30’s early 40’s. I used to ride with him up and down the Old Port Road as a very young boy in his horse and cart. “Great times!”

After a few years I moved to Port Lincoln. I recall someone said “go west young man” so I did, with my ex-wife’s blessings? Setting up a loft there and joining the local club I again won my first two races. It was difficult racing; very heart breaking trying to get birds to a race point often with no result but with some success. Friends with a flyer in Whyalla I was gifted an unrung blue bar cock off the early imports. Over the years I mated him to different hens with great success. My Whyalla friend called him “Gladiator”. Down off him I bred a grizzle cock who won three races, three seconds and two thirds from Ceduna, Barton and Kingscote. He would win by a margin; I don’t think he raced with the mob I think he broke away. From the same blood I had a hen that won two Marla’s and her full sister gaining a second in one. Colin Mander, our Secretary, had all of these results. I think the Club is now caput. In Pt Lincoln this strain I had developed thanks to the imported cock and my old Adelaide blood (Gladiator). “Russell Crowe eat your heart out.“

Boy it brings back memories, one Saturday flying Barton Derby 600 kms, comes darkness. One hour later out in the freezing cold with a cold echo in hand and my wife says you’re mad, just then a flicker of white dips in the backyard light. What was that she cried? The grizzle hen I called. I rattled my tin, thirty seconds later out of the darkness she came again zooming in on the landing board. Walking into the club that night, no clocks on the table just echos. She had gained first place only bird on the day. You could have made a movie about it like “Lassie come home” Memories hey!!

Unfortunately amidst the good years in Pt Lincoln, I had my own trucking business I fell victim to Mennieres disease. We moved back to Adelaide for treatment resulting in an operation at Ashford hospital that really didn’t do the trick. I set up another loft joining Nth Suburban. But the input would be deterred owing to reoccurring problems. There was no input.

My wife was diagnosed with cancer and decided she would live with and be cared for by her daughter leaving me alone. Being nearly 80 yrs of age and no plan-B I, like a lot of my grey haired friends say it’s time to put the cue in the rack while I can. My operation along with driving old cab over semi’s Adelaide to Darwin late 50’s through 60’s - eight years of it, has left me deaf and unable to communicate with my Members and friends. My way of speaking is with these pages.

Like a lot of flyers I spent a lot at auctions. Peter Millay, Max Taylor, Curly Phoenix, Merv Hatch, Tasmania. Over the years I buried a few of these under the tree in the back yard. The rest producing quality birds. Lacking the input they still made me proud. Like a lot of you I was not far off the money, they kept coming year after year. It was getting hard for me but I would breed a few and line up again next year. Like a lot of us I would wake up nearly feeling dead.

But the little black duck says it time to pack it in, not being computer savvy I wasn’t up to date on food tonics latest hoo-ha and wacko stuff. Just a pea and wheat man who loved his birds. So as the sun pulls away from the shore and our boat sinks slowly in the west I say farewell and thanks for this wonderful lifelong sport, the memories and the friendship. R.J W