PETER James Mack was born in Wagga on February 22, 1944 to Martin and Mary Mack of Euberta.
He was the eldest of four children – Edward also known as “George”, Faye and John.
Sadly, his twin George, died shortly after birth from heart complications.
Peter lived with his family in Forest Hill and Lake Albert until his mid twenties.
He attended Forest Hill Primary School followed by the Christian Brothers High School.
As a young boy, Peter enjoyed spending time with his brother and sister.
He kicked the footy with his Dad and brother, went fishing at Wantabadgery and rode motorbikes.
His brother, John remembers how he and Peter enjoyed chasing possums in the shearing shed and getting into trouble for feeding unwanted chickens at their grandmother’s place.
John recalls when Peter stepped up as a big brother and saved him from a possum that decided to attack him one day.
In 1970 he met his future wife, Lorraine at a dance being held at the Eurongilly Hall.
According to Lorraine, Peter had been interested in her for a while but she initially declined his advances. They later dated, became engaged and were married on a freezing cold and windy day in Junee on the 19th August 1972.
They bought a family home in Junee and went on to have two children, Belinda and Rebecca.
Peter’s first job was as a welder. He spent some time in Ivanhoe making water tanks, including building a tank in Jerilderie. He also worked for Murphy’s Engineering, Tom Bond and Leonard’s Mufflers. He then spent some time as a Fettler on the Railway before becoming a Train Driver.
His family remembers when the Call Boys would come to the window to give Peter his wake- up call for his shift.
For many years Peter also helped his Brother in laws, Geoff and Murray carting sleepers.
Peter was a hardworking and dedicated train driver for 24 years before having to retire due to ill health at the young age of 56.
Up until his retirement he had never had a sick day in his life. As you can imagine, retirement was challenging for Peter as he had been a hard worker up until this point in time and he found it tough being told to sit back and relax. As you could appreciate, this transition to retirement was very difficult for him.
Fortunately, Peter discovered volunteer work which brought him many years of fulfilment, friendships and a new direction for his life.
Peter took great pride in representing the community in his varied roles. He was on the general Committee and the Executive of CanAssist for many years and President for seven years. He was also President of Men’s Probus, an active member of the Men’s Shed and a volunteer at the Railway Roundhouse Museum.
As a member of CanAssist, Peter would often be found selling raffle tickets down the street. As much as he grumbled about having to do it, we all know he loved it as he got to chat with everyone down town. Through his volunteer work he also became a bit of a celebrity often having his photo in the local newspaper.
Recently, Peter’s family were notified that he has been made a Life Member of CanAssist, posthumously. He would have felt very humbled but so very thrilled to receive this recognition.
Peter was a kind-hearted man who was always willing to lend a hand whether it be for family, friends or something to do with his volunteer roles. He had trouble saying “no” to people when they asked for help and would still want to help out even if he was not feeling well.
Peter was an active sportsman throughout his life. He enjoyed playing tennis, Aussie Rules, squash and cricket. He was very proud to be involved in winning the Cricket Grand Final for the Junee Ex-Services Club in 1983. He had a collection of trophies for the other sports he participated in.
Peter was an avid Carlton supporter but an even bigger Sydney Roosters supporter. He would often wear one of his many Roosters’ jerseys that he owned and regularly bought new merchandise to add to his collection. Let’s not forget his beloved Mahindra with the Roosters’ number plates and matching car seat covers. While he loved the Roosters, he would only watch part of a game as he always believed they would lose if he watched the entire game. Again, for those who knew Peter well, you would always know when the Roosters had won, as he would happily tell you about it down the street.
And while we are talking about his beloved Mahindra – that he kept meticulously clean, he would quite often help Peter Cowled move machinery from farm to farm. If for some reason he was driving his Mahindra, he would dodge every muddy puddle on the lane ways. But when he drove Peter Cowled’s ute – he would take great delight in driving through every puddle he could find with mud going all over the ute and windscreen. We are sure he had an inner desire to go four wheel driving – but definitely not in the Mahindra.
Peter loved animals but oddly enough was never a fan of horses. He kept birds for a number of years and recently developed a love of meerkats. Peter was in his element at Christmas time when he and the family had the chance to visit the Walk-in Bird Aviary in Canberra. He loved being able to pat the birds while hand feeding them.
Peter had an interest in cars, planes, trains and automobiles – no not really it was actually - motorbikes. The back room in his house is full of pictures of different racing cars, model trains and planes. The first car he owned was a red Mini Minor with sliding windows. Following that car, he went on to own several different vehicles including a motorbike. Most people would have recognised him on his motor bike around town by his signature “one finger” wave.
Peter was a creature of habit and had very set routines. Belinda and Rebecca fondly remember that with each beginning and end to daylight savings, Peter wouldn’t be able to begin his day without first changing all the many clocks he had set up around the house. He would always request a calendar for the New Year - either a Ford Racing or a Roosters calendar. Whenever he would go out for lunch he would order the same meal - a seafood basket, and then would compare it to his last seafood basket. When it came to meals he had several standard responses “alright”, ‘’fine” and his favourite “edible” however, after dad’s heart bypass surgery his first meal was salt free bread and clear broth. When asked how that meal was, his response was “it was bloody beautiful”.
Peter loved his morning routine of going to the pool and getting a paper from the newsagents. There was never a day where he didn’t buy a newspaper. When he wasn’t out and about, you could generally find him across the road at George’s, his best mates’ house. Often Peter would quietly leave the house to visit George, but Lorraine always knew where to find him.
In his spare time Peter could be found doing his find-a-word books or pottering about in the backyard. Every day he would either be in his backroom or at the kitchen table doing his Find-a-Word’s. Each Sunday, after returning home from the Roundhouse, he religiously started the sports crossword puzzle in the Sunday Telegraph. This then went over to Monday, so that he could get a little help from the answers guide in
Monday’s paper. Peter considered himself as a bit of a handyman. When he wasn’t doing Find-a-Words he would potter around the backyard fixing things, playing with a new gadget or making things to add to the garden.
Peter would also amuse his family by having to try every new food product on the market. They would often laugh when opening up the pantry to find all the new items he had seen advertised in catalogues and on TV. While he thought he had found a really good spot to hide his precious snacks, his family were well aware that he kept this in the TV unit in his backroom. Funnily enough, it wasn’t just the new food products he had to try. It was not unusual for him to come home with a new gadget.
As Peter worked on the railway, he would get free train passes and take his family to Sydney for holidays, but there was just one catch, if the normal carriages were full they would have to sit at the back of the train where there were only two seats. This meant that Belinda and Rebecca had to be nursed. There was even a time when they had to sit on suitcases because there were no seats.
Peter had a cheeky side. In summer, if he killed a snake in the backyard he would coil it up to make it appear as if it was still alive. He would then casually ask Belinda and Rebecca to “come outside for a minute” and to their surprise or shock horror, there would lie the snake.
Peter and Lorraine were fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to travel together to many different locations - Canada, Alaska, New Zealand and various destinations around Australia. Through travelling, Peter had the opportunity to build his collection of Memorabilia. He would not be able to come home without a new hat or shirt which would then become his new favourite item of clothing until his next trip.
On behalf of the family, we would like to thank everyone for coming along today to celebrate Peter’s life. He would be touched to see so many people here today to say “Farewell”.
While not a grandfather, Peter cherished his great nephews who affectionately called him “Poppy Pete”. Peter was a great husband to Lorraine, a great father to his two daughters, Belinda and Rebecca , father in law to Nick, a great brother and a great friend to all who knew him.
We all really loved our Pete and he will be very sadly missed.