Cliff Emerson was well known in the Macleay community as the principal of Gladstone Public School from 1973 to 1979.
Sadly, Cliff passed away on July 9 2020 at Sutherland Shire Hospital.
Born in November 1935, Cliff grew up in Mortlake on the Parramatta River. His father Alan worked at the gas works as an electrician's assistant and his mother Thelma (née Cordingley) did tailoring.
Cliff completed his Intermediate Certificate at Croydon Junior Technical College. His parents wanted him to have a trade and he initially seemed destined to become a cabinetmaker, but a sawdust allergy led him to become a fitter and turner with AWA (Amalgamated Wireless Australasia) making the moulds for the Bakelite radio cases.
In 1954, AWA had managed to combine the monarchy with radio waves to provide the first experimental television broadcast in Australia, the coverage of Queen Elizabeth's royal tour. Cliff was one of the soldiers lining the route as Her Majesty drove past the University of Sydney.
Cliff loved fishing and sailing and eventually became an honorary life member of the Australian National Maritime Museum. When the time came for him to begin his National Service in 1953, he joined the army, specifically the Royal Australian Corps of Signals.
Cliff continued to study, with the long-held ambition of becoming a teacher. His first attempt at completing his Leaving Certificate ended badly when he contracted osteomyelitis in one leg and was hospitalised for months. In 1957, on his second attempt at Fort Street Evening College, he met his future wife Dawn when she asked to share his economics textbook.
By the end of 1957, Cliff and Dawn were in love, but they soon faced a problem. They gained admission to two different teachers' colleges. Cliff had a scholarship at Bathurst Teachers' College (now part of Charles Sturt University) and Dawn was accepted at Sydney Teachers' College (now part of the University of Sydney).
Cliff transfered his scholarship to Wollongong Teachers' College and Dawn to work there as an assistant librarian as she had decided upon a career change.
Cliff and Dawn were married on August 22 1959 at All Saints Church in Parramatta. They had two children together, Craig and Lara.
The family moved to the Macleay in the early 70's where Cliff rose to become headmaster at Gladstone Public School.
While in the Macleay, Cliff and Dawn wrote a book about the history of the school, Dawn was the chief librarian at Kempsey Library, president of the Kempsey Quota Club and Cliff was the secretary of the Kempsey Rotary Club and president of the Kempsey Rifle Club.
Cliff was known in the Macleay Valley for his community work, his kindness, sense of humour and his sense of adventure.
The family left the Macleay in 1979 and Cliff worked as a headmaster at Otford Public School and ended his teaching career as assistant principal at Engadine Public School.
Cliff is survived by his wife Dawn, his children Craig and Lara and his three grandchildren.