For three decades, in one form or another, James Treloar was one of Tamworth’s democratically elected leaders – whether it be councillor, deputy mayor or mayor. During that time he’s watched the city and its neighbouring villages grow in leaps and bounds, and has been at the helm of some of the city’s biggest changes. The Leader spoke with Mr Treloar in 2017, when he was honoured with an OAM.
James Treloar’s involvement with local government started from single issue – to get a longer term lease for a rugby club.
“It’s funny, you then look at it and think ‘wow, there is a lot more to this than what more than meets the eye’,” Mr Treloar said.
And so began Mr Treloar’s decades of service to Tamworth.
Mr Treloar, who was first elected in 1987, oversaw many important projects, but the “most significant” was the beautification of Peel St, which “changed the city enormously”.
“My first year as mayor , keeping council together was fairly interesting, given the different personalities on board,” he said.
He’s also very proud of his work with the Evocities campaign, which changed the way those in metro areas viewed regional NSW.
“When we started the program, three out of 10 said they would consider moving to regional NSW – two years later it was just under 7 people, 6.8, who said they would consider relocating.”
He also lists getting water to Barraba, just after the amalgamation of the region’s councils into what is now Tamworth Regional Council, as a “fairly significant outcome”.
“It was challenging because we had to go through so many steps, and the community wasn’t aware of that, they thought we just had to go to the state government and get a grant,” Mr Treloar said.
“But the state government told us we had to do all these tests before we could get the grant.
“Now putting holes in the ground to look for water, when you know there's no water there, seems very wasteful, but that is what we had to do.”
In 2017, Mr Treloar was awarded with an Order of Australia Medal for his services to local government and the community of Tamworth.