Unsung HeroesRevealing the Remarkable in Seemingly Ordinary People
Third generation Australian of Scottish ancestry, Alan Robb, born in 1937, spent his early years travelling with his parents and two younger sisters to railway outposts within the Narrogin catchment area to sidings and small locations that no longer exist. His father, an engineer on the railway, was based with his family in Popanyinning in a house across the line from the railway station. At the outbreak of WW2 when his father enlisted in the 32nd Engineers the family moved to Perth where Alan attended Highgate Primary School.
On his father's return, reinstated as an engineer and put in charge of realigning the line from Northam to Kalgoorlie, his work force comprised mainly of Italian prisoners of war. The Robb family moved to Kalgoorlie and five years later, moved again to Mullewa where their father began work on the new Midland to Geraldton line. Finishing school in Mullewa, Alan's ambition was to become a stocky with an agricultural company, but, his father advised, "no future there." With his uncle working as an accountant at the Sunday Times Alan secured an apprenticeship, enrolled for five years and was sent to Moora to publish two newspapers. A year later, receiving tuition at Perth Technical College, he was invited to stay on at the Sunday Times, but being a country boy, he joined the country relief group and transferred to Kellerberrin.
On visits to his mother in Narrogin, Alan would often stick his head in the door of the Narrogin Observer, eventually working there for forty five years until they sold out to a local consortium and "The West" and Alan retired.
A volunteer fireman for 27 years, Alan progressed through the ranks to become Captain, and was given a life membership in 1973.
Lawn bowls began to dominate Alan's time and his achievements are many, first as player, then in multiple roles in the organisation as Secretary, Captain and Chairman of Selectors. He raised funds to enable a country bowls side to travel interstate, established Corporate Bowls in Narrogin, received in 1997, the Outstanding Delegate Award and then in 2000, was presented with the Australian Sports Medal and Life Membership to the Upper Great Southern Bowling league.
Sharing his life with wife Jeanette, also a tireless volunteer, Alan is Chairperson of both Residents and Friends of Karinya Committee and Meals on Wheels, is a member of Lions Club and a volunteer at Narrogin Museum/Art Group.
Revealing the remarkable in seemly ordinary people
Portrait painted by Graham Smith 2020.
Text compiled by Jan Smith from notes provided with the nomination in 2020.