John Martin Waterman
Born in Tinonee in 1913 to Harold and Gertrude Waterman,1 John Martin Waterman attended Tinonee School, followed by Taree High School. His writing talent was apparent when in 1929 he was awarded a special prize in a state wide essay writing competition run by the Dickens Fellowship.2
After leaving school, John worked on his family’s dairy farm, also cutting timber with his brother. During World War 2 he enlisted but remained in Australia serving as an Instructor in Warrant Officer Training.3
But writing was the thing John most loved doing. For over 40 years he was a correspondent, firstly for the Northern Champion, later the Times and Wingham Chronicle.4 He wrote about Tinonee happenings, and publicised news from the many local organisations he was involved in.
John would ride his bicycle around Tinonee, visiting and stopping to chat with townsfolk; no doubt gathering information for his column. Significant happenings, big or small, happy or sad, in the lives of Tinonee’s residents would be respectfully reported in his column. John’s love for Tinonee and its people, his desire to see the village progress while preserving its history, affectionately earned him the title of “Mayor of Tinonee” by some, and he filled this role admirably!
At celebratory community events, John would often lead a rousing chorus of “For they are jolly good fellows…” adding a verse sung numerous times, to the same tune – “It’s the way we have in Tinonee, the way we have in Tinonee….”
John died in 1989, and, of course, is buried in Tinonee Cemetery. Honouring his lifetime of service to his community, a memorial stained glass window was installed in St Luke’s Anglican Church, Tinonee, of which he had been a dedicated member.5
Author: Sue Langdown
1 NSW BDM, birth index No. 49119/1913.
2 The Manning River Times and Advocate for the Northern Coast Districts of New South Wales, 30 November 1929.
3 Story of the Grill and Waterman Family – Jeanette Greenwell, Diane Steadman & Margaret Corben, held at Tinonee Historical Society Inc.
4 The Chronicle-Extra, June 14 1984 – Rod Kirkpatrick.
5 Story of the Grill and Waterman Family – Jeanette Greenwell, Diane Steadman & Margaret Corben, held at Tinonee Historical Society Inc.