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Percy Hobson’s son Doug reconnects with family in Bourke


Percy Hobson’s son Doug Hobson with Victor Bartley, cousin Freddy Harvey, Dwayne Willoughby, Aunty Heather Mieni, Aunty Freda Harvey and cousin Phillip Harvey. Photo TWH

In April 2021, renowned Lightning Ridge artist John Murray completed the iconic Bourke Water Tower Mural in honour of Percy Hobson and his inspiring sporting achievements.

John Murray worked with his mate Bob Barrett, Bourke artist Brian Smith, Melbourne street artist Lucas Kasper and a crew of local Indigenous artists to complete the mural for Percy.

At the 1962 Commonwealth Games in Perth, 20-year-old Bourke boy, Percy Hobson, won gold in the high jump. Percy cleared the bar at 6 ft 11 in (2.11m), setting a new Commonwealth Games record and becoming the first Indigenous Australian to win a gold medal for Australia at the Commonwealth Games.

Sadly, Percy passed away in January 2022 and was unable to visit Bourke and see the mural himself.

While in Bourke this week, Percy’s son Doug Hobson recalled what his dad had to say about the mural.

“Dad was so impressed with the mural, he had seen it in photos before he passed,” Doug said.

“I am amazed, it is such a good image of Dad, I just don’t know how they do it – it’s fantastic.”

Doug said that he was glad to finally see the mural in person, not just in photos.

“I’ve always wanted to come up and see it, it is good to see Dad’s legacy live on like this in Bourke,” he said.

The Boy from Bourke, Percy Hobson, began competing here as he was growing up, he was even working at the old abattoir while preparing for high jumps, catching trains to Dubbo and Sydney for meetings and competitions.

“Dad had a lot of drive and was prepared to make the sacrifices required to succeed in what he did, he wasn’t going out with mates, instead he would be training or resting for his competitions.”

Although a beautiful mural and memorial of Percy and his achievements, Doug is not sure he would have loved all the attention. […]

Read more in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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