Raymond Austin Walsh is one of the few people and organisations to have been conferred the Freedom of the City of Tamworth.
The Chronological History of Tamworth notes that the honour was bestowed on Alderman Walsh in 1989, “in recognition of 40 years of dedicated service as a member of the Tamworth City Council”.
He was elected in December 1949 and served on the council until his death.
A fellow Tamworth city councillor during some of those years, Bill Forrest, recollected in a 2009 piece for The Northern Daily Leader that “life around the council table was interesting”.
“Norm MacKellar was the only mayor during my term,” Mr Forrest wrote.
“But two councillors stood out, and I remember their favourite remarks.
“Ray Walsh: ‘I have only one question, Mr Mayor. Where is the money coming from?’ and Ellis Wall: ‘Now, what would you know, young feller?’ whenever I rose to speak.”
Tamworth Regional Council’s premises, Ray Walsh House, was named after the long-serving alderman.
Raymond A Walsh was born in Toowoomba and educated at Canterbury Boys’ High School, Sydney, and Melbourne Technical College.
He went on to have what the History described as a “distinguished career in local government”, but also military and business.
He saw Second World War service with the RAAF from 1940 to 1945.
In 1949, he became a council alderman, serving as deputy mayor from 1951 to 1954.
From the early 1950s, Mr Walsh was involved in electricity distribution boards.
In 1951, he became a member of the Local Government Electricity Advisory committee and, two years later, of the Local Government Electricity Executive, for which he later served as treasurer, then vice-president, then president.
In 1954, he became the general manager of the Tamworth Co-operative Ltd, and two years later chairman of Peel Valley County Council in 1956.
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