FROM time to time, the Macleay River Historical Society is consulted by council on the naming or renaming of new or existing streets.
When South St was extended recently, it was necessary to rename that part of South St to the east of the Macleay Valley Way and traversing Gill Park. We were pleased when our submission to have it named Faulkner St after an industrious South Kempsey businessman and respected citizen was accepted.
Colin Ivan ('Doc') Faulkner was born at Uralla around 1912 and attended Rocky River Public School there. Both parents died young, his mother from pneumonia and his father from snakebite. After his mother's death the family home was burnt to the ground for fear of infection and Clarence was raised by an elder sister.
Doc Faulkner moved to Kempsey in the 1930s and worked as a timber cutter and charcoal burner at Collombatti, employed in the latter occupation by Albert Fisher who described him as a good, hard worker. In 1938, Doc took out a special lease of four acres (1.6 hectares) in South Kempsey near the Crescent Head Rd.
After the Second World War broke out, the supply of petrol to Australian motorists was severely restricted. At the time Australia was completely dependent on imported petrol and with limited storage facilities, petrol rationing was introduced in June 1940.
This rationing was increased as the war progressed and alternative fuel supplies were sought. In 1942, the Kempsey Shire Council garbage and sewage contractor declared that he could not continue the service as the petrol allowance was 35 gallons per month whereas his truck used 35 gallons per week.
Producer gas, made by passing air through a glowing charcoal core, was promoted as an alternative to petrol for use in vehicles. Gas producing units allowing vehicles to use charcoal as fuel were made, and fitted to the rear of cars and the sides of trucks.
Having long experience in charcoal burning, Doc Faulkner set up the Kempsey Charcoal Works on his South Kempsey property with four of the latest type of steel kilns to accommodate the demand for this alternative fuel. Sourcing his wood from dead trees at Collombatti, Doc continued to produce charcoal after the war, his largest customer being Nestles at Smithtown until they started to use timber mill scraps for their furnaces.
Doc Faulkner was married to Doreen Gray and they had five children - Helen, Neville, Colin, Ron and Peter. The family had a long association with the nearby Kempsey Golf Course, with grandson Darryl Faulkner equalling his father Ron's tenure of 25 years service as greenkeeper in 2008. His maternal grandfather helped transport the soil that formed the club's original tees and greens in the late 1940s while his uncles helped build the course.
Colin Faulkner spent all his spare time on the golf course caddying or hitting a golf ball until in 1957 he represented Kempsey in the State schoolboys' championship at The Lakes course in Sydney. He was later employed by the Sydney sporting goods firm, Slazenger.