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P. 2

Absent Friends

                                                His stories of London theatre life  Peter combined his cinema and
                                              in the fifties, where he seemed to see  railway interests by filming, firstly
                                              every show and film, were often  on 9.5mm then later 16mm, many
                                              unbelievable, but knowing Wally’s  local events and now historic rail
                                              charm, were probably true.      trips including the last narrow gauge
                                                To give you the flavour: Wally  Colac to Beech Forest train.
                                              goes backstage after one show      We rode our motorcycles many
                                              determined to meet the star. He finds  kilometers together, including an
                                              her in conversation.  Seeing Wally,  extended trip to Cairns in 1987.
                                              she comes straight to him, throws  From time to time Peter would
                                              her arms around him with a loud  lead motorcycle club rides, often
                                              “Darling” and, hugging him tight
                     Walter (Wally)                                           with the destination being some
                                              whispers, “You’ve saved me from a  obscure railway siding or long
                 Francis James Perkins
                                              crashing bore.”                 forgotten disused railway easement.
                   (1928 - July 2010)
                                                On one occasion, after listening  Peter had trained as a Pharmacist
                 Memories by Brian Miller     (again) to the details of an early  and upon completion commenced
                                              encounter with an actress, I    training as a Radiographer but soon
               first met Wally in 1963 when I       admonished him by saying, “You’re  changed his vocation to hospital
             I joined RACV Travel Service,    just living in the fifties.”    administration, eventually becoming
             Queen Street Melbourne as a      Unperturbed, he shot back, “Only  the CEO of the Altona Memorial and
             consultant and tour escort. Wally  place to be.”                 District Hospital. He remained there
             was one of three QANTAS Airways
                                                Wally had run away from home  until he retired, when the hospital
             representatives who called regularly
                                              as a youth, and his parents only  was closed under the Kennett
             to ensure we were booking our club
                                              caught up with him because he   government’s rationalization of the
             members on their airline.
                                              forgot that his letter of explanation  1990s.
                Wally supported the Melbourne  would have a postmark. He didn’t  Just prior to this Peter had moved
             Film Festival for many years and  run away to join a circus, the classic  to Daylesford where his interest in
             joined CATHS in 1994 at my       ‘poor boy makes good’ story, but he  trains saw him become a volunteer
             suggestion. He was the original bon  might just as well have, because that  guard and later Director of the
             vivant and his big personality soon  was the spirit in which he lived his  Central Highlands Tourist Railway.
             became a regular part of our club  life.
             functions, especially Christmas                                     In recent years as his health
                                                A lover of good food, red wine  continued to deteriorate, Peter was
             parties, where he could be relied
                                              and a ripe joke, we have all lost a  no longer able to attend CATHS
             upon for a Broadway song or two.
                                              character.                      meetings at the Sun and also
                Some members here today
                                                Cheers Wally.                 relinquished his active and dedicated
             enjoyed his company on our recent
                                                                              role with the Tourist Railway.
             trip to New Zealand, and are grateful  Peter Gerard Dwyer
             for that memory.                                                    Following a funeral service at
                                                (28-2-1938 - 16-7-2010)       Cowwarr, Peter was interred at the
                Wally’s passions were
                                                                              Heyfield cemetery.
             entertaining, the theatre, and films.  Memories by Ross King
                                                                                 A life of community service well
             When Wally was a guest in your
                                                  fter a long illness, Peter passed  lived.
             home he would come with presents
                                              Aaway at the St John of God
             for host and hostess. Generous to a
                                              Hospital, Ballarat.
             fault, with that wonderful chuckle, he
             could also be aggravating and      I first came to know Peter around
             irritating on bad days, but entertaining  1980 when he was a member and
             and effervescent at his best.    secretary of the Motorcycle Touring
                                              Club of Victoria.  We also shared
                Wally once admitted to a CATHS’
                                              common interests in cinema and trains.
             friend that he lived a totally
             undisciplined life. For those of us  Peter had grown up in Cowwarr,
             who find it easier to live a somewhat  Gippsland and as a young man had
             organised life, this difference was  conducted the picture show in the
             part of his charm.               Cowwarr Hall using a16mm outfit.
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