A guard of honour comprising police, scouts and community representatives was a reflection of the admiration and respect the community has for retiring Childers Court House officer Bob Edmiston.
It was a pleasant surprise for the long serving former Clerk of the Court and Manager of TMR Childers business as he turned the key to lock the Court House last Friday for a final time.
While Bob’s 23 year tenure at the Court House may have ended, locals were determined to ensure his final work day was memorable.
A strong contingent of Childers Police, members of Bob’s much-loved Childers Scouts group and community friends who just wanted to wish him well provided a lasting memory as they lined the path from the steps of the Court House to applaud his exit.
While his working career has spanned almost 45 years, most of the time has been spent in Childers where he settled with his wife Sandra and children.
“We liked Childers and decided we would stay until the kids had finalised their education.”
Bob’s working life commenced in St George and this was followed by moves to Caloundra and Barcaldine.
“Initially I considered accountancy as a profession but I’m more than satisfied with the career I enjoyed with the Justice Department and finally with TMR as manager of their services in Childers,” he said.
While larger population centres may be equipped with more grand Court House facilities than Bob has experienced in Childers, he wouldn't have it any other way.
“The building was constructed in 1897 and although there have been additions over the years the building is still very much the original structure.
Childers Court House built in 1897
The Court House is adjacent to the Heritage listed Post Office and former QATB (Ambulance) buildings at left and right while across the highway is a raft of Heritage listed buildings.
“I thrive on history and I admire this building just as it is. A lot of this community’s important undertakings have been transacted in this place.
“While times within the justice system have moved on, Bob is not certain modernisation has necessarily produced economies in time management.
“I used to live 750 metres from the Court House. I could leave home at 8.50 am and have the office open for business at 9am. Now it takes me 15 minutes to boot up the computer systems,” he laughed.
Bob never experienced any major incidents during his time as Clerk of the Court.
“I have always endeavoured to abide by the tried and proven adage that you treat people as you would want them to treat you.
“I have certainly seen some characters come and go through the doors of the Court Houses where I have served.
“When I was leaving Barcaldine there was a chap waiting to appear before the magistrate. He had just found out I was leaving and was anxious that he had nothing to give me as a parting gift,” Bob said.
“I told him it was unnecessary but he eyed me up and down and commented we were both around the same build.
“He removed a plaited belt, one which he had handmade, and presented it to me.
“I said to him that he couldn't appear before the magistrate wearing no belt. He just grinned cheekily and said it would help and that the magistrate may show a little pity if he thought he couldn’t afford a belt.
“I still have the belt to this day.”
Bob Edmiston has community at heart
Officer in Charge of Childers Police Sergeant Geoff Fay said the community was losing a valuable asset with the retirement of Bob Edmiston.
“You would not find anyone who would say a bad word about Bob,” Sargeant Fay said.
“He worked here in the heart of the community and there is no doubt he had the community at heart.
“Court proceedings can be puzzling for many people but Bob always freely gave any advice that was sought and regularly steered people to the right areas where they could get the professional advice they needed.”
Sergeant Fay said the youth of the community had benefitted from Bob’s involvement with the local Scout Group as its leader.
“The general consensus is that the Scouts locally may not have survived if not for the perseverance and effort of Bob.”
According to Bob he became interested in the Scouting movement while in Barcaldine and he was happy to continue that involvement in Childers.
“Young people get a lot out of the Scouts,” Bob said.
“It’s not just the friendships, leadership and skills that they develop but I feel it provided them with a degree of independence.
“They learn that they can achieve things they probably never would have normally attempted.”
Bob and Sandra, who share a love of bushwalking and the natural environment, plan to travel in coming months.
“We intend to stay in Childers and to continue to enjoy everything the district has to offer,” Bob Edmiston said.