GREEN THUMB: Barry Faulkner is devoted to his small garden at Kerrisdale Gardens.
GREEN THUMB: Barry Faulkner is devoted to his small garden at Kerrisdale Gardens.

Yellow envelope holds precious memories of the past

WHEN a large yellow envelope with a typewritten label was delivered to the Daily Mercury it sparked some interest.

Inside was a typed note and several photocopies of old newspaper cuttings dating from 1936 to 1989 – they were all stories featuring Barry Faulkner.

This called for a visit to see the man who had sent the intriguing package.

Visiting Mr Faulkner, 84, at Kerrisdale Gardens it’s obvious he is passionate about his writing. His room is full of photos, books, poems and boxes of papers – all connected to his past.

Also dominant in the room is his electric typewriter.

The typewriter has become an important tool for Mr Faulkner. He suffered a stroke in 2003 and another one in 2006. He now relies on a wheelchair to get around and his speech was also affected.

Mr Faulkner has posted many envelopes to various destinations. He’s been sharing photos, newspaper cuttings and other information he’s collected over the years.

When he isn’t writing his letters, his daily routine includes having a good look at the racing guide to see who is running at Flemington, spending time in his small patch of garden and delivering flowers to fellow Kerrisdale residents.

Barry Faulkner tends to his garden patch at Kerrisdale Gardens.
Barry Faulkner tends to his garden patch at Kerrisdale Gardens.

Mr Faullkner was born in Guyra, NSW, on July 25, 1935.

His family later moved to Premer, NSW, where he worked on the railway for 16 years and where he met his wife of 62 years, Marion.

“We met when I delivered the mailbag from the post office to the railway station,” Mrs Faulkner said.

Mr and Mrs Faulkner were married in Premer on March 1958 and had three daughters, Patricia, Rhonda and Kaylene.

Mr Faulkner worked with steam trains and later diesel engines. He said the diesel engines would trick them when arriving. He could tell when steam train were approaching because of the plumes of steam puffing over “The Plain” and it gave him plenty of time to get ready.

After working in Premer he transferred to work as a porter at Kyogle Railway Station and stayed there for 23 years.

It was during this time he became interested in gardening.

The railway station was featured in one of the articles posted to the Daily Mercury. It was about the hard work of station master Jim Dooley and Mr Faulkner in coming second in a State Rail Authority station beautification competition in the North Coast in 1989.

Mr Faulkner said his mother had been a great gardener. His favourite blooms include stocks, geraniums and azaleas.

He has a small raised garden bed at Kerrisdale where he can grow his own flowers.

One of his proudest achievements was winning a 2002 gardening competition in Bundaberg where the couple relocated in 1992. His garden was awarded Most Colourful Home Frontage (Retired Persons).

His secret to a successful garden is honey for striking and banana skins for vitamins.

He also waters the garden consistently every second day.

The Faulkners arrived in Mackay in 2010.

Mr Faulkner is ‘Poppy’ to seven grandchildren and ‘Great Pops’ to six great-grandchildren.