John will remain as an “unofficial” Cobar ambassador

John Martin, pictured at the Great Cobar Heritage Centre (his second home for the past 26 years), last week before his retirement.

After serving for almost 26 years as Cobar Shire Council’s tourism officer, John Martin retired from the role on Friday.

And while he may have officially retired from working life, John will continue to be an “unofficial” ambassador for Cobar.

“I’m staying in town. I’m not going anywhere,” he said.

“After nearly 26 years, I considered what I should be doing now that I’m nearly 66.

“Golf is probably going to play a part of it, I’m the newly elected golf secretary.

“There’s also a few things that I’d like to be involved with in town, there’s some holes in the tourist precinct that I’d like to be involved in,” he said.

John said when he was awarded the newly created position 26 years ago, he was told his job was to go out and put Cobar on the map.

He said being involved with promotion of the Kidman Way as a tourist destination had helped to achieve that goal.

John is also proud to have seen the local visitor economy develop and grow considerably in the past 26 years.

“When I started our tourism economy was about $2million per year and it’s grown to about $15-17million per year.

“If the caravan park, in the height of the season had 10 caravans, they’d be busy!

“Now between April and October the caravan park is full every night!” John said.

Over the years John said he’s worked with a lot of good people who were “passionate” about our history and our town.

And for most of his career, John has worked out of the historic Great Cobar Heritage Centre building at the entrance to town.

“I think this is one of the most significant buildings in town.

“The fact that we’re lucky enough to have it as our heritage centre/museum, there aren’t a lot of towns that do that.”

John said he had frustratingly worked for many years with different museum curators, writing reports and applying for grants in an effort to secure funding to help preserve the beautiful building.

“Council just didn’t have the dollars to do it and we didn’t qualify for any of the grants.”

He is however happy to see that council has recently been awarded a number of grants which will see major upgrades carried out.