A FOND farewell is planned this Saturday for Woolomin man Bill Newman the famous waving man when he moves out of his tiny cottage and into Nazareth House tomorrow.
Mr Newman, 88, has been an institution at the village of Woolomin, on the way out to Nundle, since 1975 when he moved there.
His friendly waves to all and sundry from his house near the bridge were usually returned in kind, said Woolomin shop owner Kylie Douglas, whose husband Shane used to shear sheep with Bill.
"As long as everybody can remember, no matter what time of the day or night, Bill would be standing out on his verandah with a big wave for every car, truck and school bus, his favourite," Mrs Douglas said.
"If Bill happens to go away for a couple of days and isn't out the front of his house waving near his gate to the cars and school buses as they drive past the community misses him.
"Everyone looks out for him and keeps their eye on him."
Born in Tamworth in January 1924, Mr Newman grew up for 12 years at Bugaldie, near Coonabarabran.
A shearer for 52 years, he has been all over the state including Queanbeyan, Forbes, Parkes, Grenfell and Condoblin, as well as shearing in Victoria and Queensland.
The most remote place he sheared sheep at was McDougall's Well Station at Yanco Glen, near Broken Hill.
But the biggest shearing shed he worked in was Windy Station, Quirindi, in 1946, which had eight working stands at the time (50 altogether, he recalls).
He has shorn about 200,000 sheep in his life, with his biggest year of shearing totalling 14,000 sheep (and crutching 12,000 in the same year).
"I still know a few shearers," Mr Newman said.
"I used to go away with a team called Grascos. I used to be a Grasco 'tourist' (when I was working)."
Mrs Douglas said Mr Newman was a well-respected, well-known gentleman and his move tomorrow would be the end of an era.
"Bill is now a bit frail and has decided to move into Nazareth House," she said.
Mr Newman said: "I'm frightened I'll fall over; I've fallen over a few times."
Was he sad to be leaving such a loving community behind?
"Yes, I am really," Mr Newman said.
He particularly wants to thank neighbours Norrie and Fay Townsend for all their help over the years.
But, two days after tomorrow's move, it's looking likely Mr Newman will be back for a party in his honour.
"They're talking about a party on Saturday at the hall; they want me to come back out," he said.