WICC caught up with Menang Elder, Lester Coyne, to talk about sustainability, resolving conflicts and solving problems as a community…
WICC: Lester, can you tell us a little bit about your family background and your connection to this area?
Lester: I was born in Katanning and I lived there for about three years. Then we came to Albany. I'm the oldest of six. Two sisters, four brothers. We lived on an Aboriginal Reserve alongside the highway. I was very fortunate to go from high school straight into a job down at the golf links. I did my apprenticeship as a greens keeper. I loved it, probably the best job I've ever had in my life. I made five pounds, eight shillings a week. Didn’t question it, I was a millionaire. Mum got three pounds and I had two pounds in those days. That was a lot of money. You could buy a hell of a lot of things. So I really felt very, very, very rich. I didn’t realise at the time that the golf club captain, Harry, was taking money out of my pay each week. Years later Harry called me up to go to afternoon tea. So I rode my bicycle down and outside the window there was this magnificent FJ Holden with white sidewall tires. This car was glistening. The man who drove it was Jeff, a prominent Perth businessman. Harry and I knew him from the golf club. Jeff owned car lots. Jeff said, “Do you want a lift home? Will my bike fit in the boot?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “Do you want to drive it?” I said, “Yeah”. So, Jeff and Harry gave me the keys and didn’t get in the car. They said, “It’s yours, we’ve been saving all this money up.” I couldn’t believe it.
Listen to the interview with Menang Elder Lester Coyne