Edward (Ted) Ernest Bannerman has celebrated his milestone 100th birthday today with a small family gathering at Macleay Valley House.
Ted was born on May 25 1920 at Kempsey Private Hospital. He was the middle child of five children.
He attended Sherwood Primary School which is roughly where Sherwood hall now stands. At the time there was a teachers house, school house and community hall.
Ted's first job was as a dairy hand at his uncles farm, where he worked for one month before leaving due to sustaining a very deep laceration on his foot, to which he still carries the scar.
He was then offered a job at Sunny Dale Dairy Farm in Dondingalong which was also a Stud for Australian Illawarra Shorthorn cattle. Ted was often in charge because the owner was away showing dairy cattle. It was during this time that Ted became reacquainted with his future wife Una, having met her years before when Dondingalong School competed against Sherwood School for sports days.
Ted then started working for West Kempsey garage doing mechanical repairs, panel beating and welding. He was a quick learner and became highly regarded for his expertise.
Before going into the Army, Ted with the help of his uncle Jim, purchased his first house in Marsh Street. He later moved to Stanley Dyson Close where he resided for 38 years.
Ted signed up for National Service at the age of 19 years. He went into the transport section of the 41st Battalion.. He spent three months at training camps near Newcastle and three months in Kempsey working at the garage. Ted was in the Army for close to three years and remembers when the Japanese sent mini submarines into Newcastle Harbour. Fortunately they failed to hit their mark. Ted recalls being on Stockton Beach with his unit at that time.
During Ted's time of National Service he proposed to Una, which she accepted and due to an unfortunate series of events Ted was late to their wedding. When he was travelling by train the soldiers were all disembarked and told to catch a later train. Ted was able to board the much slower freight train from Kyogle which still made him one hour late to the ceremony. Una was very relieved when he did arrive. They were given four days to get married, two days to travel and two days to spend as husband and wife before he had to return back to his Army duties in Stockton.
Four years later they started their family with the birth of their son David followed by Colin, Paul and daughter Janet.
Ted was discharged from the Army because his expertise and skills were needed back in Kempsey to work on the charcoal burners which were an alternative to petrol engines. Due to the war, petrol was in short supply. Ted was highly regarded for his mechanical knowledge and considered the only person capable of this very important Job.
These machines were highly volaitile and consisted of a drum the size of a 44 gallon drum fastened onto the chasis of a vehicle with a firebox at the bottom and a water tank on the side to drip water. The fire at the bottom would go up through the coal, forming gas at the top. There was a pipe at the front of the vehicle and water would be cooled by the radiator. The machine used petrol to start the motor and the flame would be sucked through to make gas. They were very dangerous and only a handful of skilled personnel in the country were trusted with this job. Ted was the only one on the North Coast capable of this task. The gas was highly toxic and the engine was extremely combustible. To make these fire boxes safer, Ted modified a wire cage with asbestos sheeting around the firebox.
After the war Ted bought his first ex Army truck. It was an old International and needed a lot of repairs done. Ted built a cab and put a tray on the back, and he started a milk run collecting milk from the local dairy farms to supply the Nestles factory at Smithtown. It was a 55 mile round trip. He then bought his second ex Army truck which was a Ford. He extended the Chasis and built a larger tray on the back. Ted's milk carting trucks had specially designed double decks that could carry 130 cans of milk per load. They were also able to be loaded from both sides at the dairy which was a distinct advantage.
His other deliveries included potatoes from the local farmers, and these trucks had two speed diffs that enabled them easy access to ploughed fields of potatoes, which were then transported to Alexandria markets in Sydney.
Over a period of about sixteen years he increased his fleet of trucks to eight and employed local drivers. Two of these trucks were used for gravel to accommodate the growing road building industry. Ted's Milk run started to slow down when dairy farmers started to go into the more lucrative beef industry. Due to this diversity crops used to feed the dairy industry were on the decline.
During this time Ted also had several petrol depots. One at South West Rocks and another one in Smith Street. Plans were in place to purchase a third in Kempsey, however the 1949 flood water went through and over the top of the petrol bowsers. He renamed it jokingly with friends as the 'Paddle Inn'.
Ted was also an enthusiastic projectionist with 16mm films. He would often host film nights at the Presbyterian Hall in Kempsey. News spread and his services as a projectionist were in demand at other venues around Scotts Head and South West Rocks.
Ted currently resides at Macleay Valley House. He is very much respected among residents, the staff and his sister Heather.
Ted is also very proud of his family, his son David took over the service station at South West Rocks and has just retired. Colin has a PHD in Literacy and has written several books. Paul also has a PHD in Literacy and works in the Literacy Department at Sydney University while his daughter Janet and her husband have travelled all over the world doing Missionary work, and helping those less fortunate.
Ted and Una have a number of Grandchildren and Great-Grandchildren.