Characters of the Kimberley
~Ranger Henry ~
Henry is a proud Australian. An aboriginal from the Yawoo tribe of the Broome area on his Father’s side, and equally from the Nyl Nyl tribe from Beagle Bay on his mother’s.
Having spent most of his childhood in The Northern Territory, in the early 1980’s he met the love of his life Ros, at Halls Creek.
He captured that love and turned it into a marriage which delivered them 2 boys – Ethan and Douglas who are now grown men 26 and 23.
So Henry is not only a proud and loyal husband and father, but he has 5 grandkids who share his huge bulging heart.
Henry has worked for CALM/DEC (The Department of Environment and Conservation of Western Australia) for 26 years now. His start with the department saw him working in Broome at a nursery CALM (the Department's predecessor) had, which grew native plants for revegetation.
Not one to miss an opportunity, Henry became a mobile maintenance man travelling long distances, from National Park to National Park for many years. These duties also brought Henry to Mt Hart where he willingly pitched in when he was about, giving a hand to do construction work.
Never one to sit still, Henry moved on and up, spending 8 years working at silent Grove(near Bell Gorge - approx 60km away from Mt Hart as a crow flies) as a National Park Ranger.
These days Henry is an “Overseer” and he still does a fair bit of construction work helping with Parks accommodation and odd jobbing for DEC.
When you meet this man, just by looking into his eyes you instantly sense something. That is you are in the presence of a really, genuine, honest, kind hearted soul.
You’d be right, for Henry’s heart is as big as The Kimberley country he oversees.
This man, our friend, came out to Mt Hart the other day as we were packing and as we hadn’t seen him in a long time, it was like a gift to us to suddenly have him about.
Henry often says his fondest memories of the past 26 years, were working as a National Park Ranger at Silent Grove and helping out at Mt Hart when a hand was needed. Times in memory now which forged this, our great friendship.
This is one man who loves being a ranger out here in the bush more than almost anything in the world.
Henry has a great sense of humour and loves trying to play tricks on his mates.
Once whilst out here at Mt Hart helping to build the bar, Henry and the then district manager (Allen Grosse) his boss, were helping Taffy lift and secure some of the heavy roof supporting beams up.
One day Allen said to Henry;
“Just go up that ladder and weld that beam up there for me Henry”
“Whatcha want me to do Al?”
“Go up that ladder and weld that bloody beam”
Henry replied in a perplexed manner;
“Sorry Al, I don’t know what you want, I don’t know what you mean”
With that, frustrated, Allen grabbed the welding helmet and the welding rods off Henry, climbed up the ladder and welded the beam up himself.
When Taffy look around, Henry was killing himself reeling with laughter for tricking Allen into doing the welding.
I felt privileged listening to Henry and Taffy catch up the other night – listening to all their stories from the old days. The vividness of each story in the surroundings of Mt Hart Station delivered an incredible night of nostalgia that painted a pictorial history that no one could mistake.
It was so really, really special to be able to see Taffy and Henry out here at Mt Hart together again.
We all know people who touch our lives and remain in our memories from that time on. Henry is such a person and more, and as Taffy folds 20 years at Mt Hart and prepares for the road, Henry brought with him some of the glue that gives Taffy the strength of purpose and drive to actually take that step.
The Kimberley is lucky to have such a protector and most may think this is an Aboriginal thing, Taffy and I know, it is the man.