Hobby can recallhorsing around

Headshot of Lisa Favazzo
Lisa FavazzoGeraldton Guardian
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John "Hobby" Robert Peet at home in Mullewa.
Camera IconJohn "Hobby" Robert Peet at home in Mullewa. Credit: Lisa Favazzo/The Geraldton Guardian

From the son of the woman who sold the best chocolate-topped ice-cream in town to the man behind the wheel of the ambulance, a lot has changed over the last eight decades for one of Mullewa’s usual suspects.

However, some things never do. John Robert Peet’s bubbly energy and cheeky grins are still lighting up rooms, ambulances, bowls clubs and barbecues around the town.

Mullewa locals call him Hobby, after a hobby horse his father made for him when he was still in primary school.

Although he does have lots of hobbies — his bowls team got into the final division earlier this month — he’s known more widely for his chuckle-inducing stories.

“When we were kids, we used to do ‘grape raids’,” Hobby told the Geraldton Guardian.

He paused to let the statement’s absurdity sink in. “The railway houses were everywhere. They had fig and grape trees. We used to go and do ‘grape raids’, flogging the grapes hanging over the fence,” he said.

Much later in life, he started driving the town’s ambulance.

John"Hobby" Robert Peet with his late wife Tosia on their wedding day.
Camera IconJohn"Hobby" Robert Peet with his late wife Tosia on their wedding day. Credit: The Geraldton Guardian

When asked how many heavily pregnant women Hobby had driven to Geraldton over the years so they could give birth, he said he didn’t have a clue.

“I did a trip with a nurse once and, when we’re about 30km out of Geraldton, she told me to put my foot down as the woman in the back’s contractions were getting shorter,” he said.

He did not want the woman to give birth somewhere along the bumpy stretch of road between Mullewa and Geraldton.

Hobby thought he had made it to the hospital in time, so he hopped out of the vehicle, pulled out a stretcher and opened the big doors at the back.

“Shut the door,” screamed the nurse in the van.

According to Hobby, she delivered the baby right in front of the hospital.

With a lifetime of stories all set against the background of wildflowers, red dirt and the former railway station, Mr Peet said he would never live anywhere else.

“When people are in trouble here they all help out,” he said.

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