Goldfields Legends Gone

Published on Saturday, 10 July 2021 at 2:42:00 PM

In recent weeks, we have lost three champions of Kalgoorlie-Boulder – two loyal employees and a legend of the Goldfields.

Darryl Tonkin, who served as the manager of the Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport from 1990 until 2020, John Lowry, a long time building surveyor, and past resident Tony Bozich.

John Lowry worked as a building surveyor initially for the Shire of Boulder as far back as the early 1970’s, and remained in local government through the amalgamation of the Shire with the Town of Kalgoorlie to become the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder. John’s literal “stamp of approval” is on countless building applications issued across the City, both as a City building surveyor and as a private consultant.

Darryl Tonkin was a loyal and hardworking employee of the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder from 1990 until his retirement in 2020. He first came to the Goldfields region in late 1970, working for the Department of Mines, and then at the Chamber of Mines as its Kalgoorlie-based eastern regional secretary, before moving into private enterprise. It was while running a private exploration consultancy that Darryl obtained his unrestricted private pilot's licence with a night flying endorsement and then a twin-engine command instrument rating, and most of the qualifications required to gain his commercial pilot's licence.

At that time the City of Kalgoorlie-Boulder was seeking to appoint an airport manager,  and Darryl was engaged initially to oversee the construction of the new airport and then to introduce all of the documentation and systems necessary to achieve licencing of the new airport.  Instrumental in the development, construction and operation of Kalgoorlie-Boulder Airport,

The airport opened in November 1992 and has under Darryl’s management substantially expanded in the interim. His commitment and hard work made it one of, if not the best regional airports in the State. Darryl was well respected by his colleagues in Air Services around the nation.

Tony Bozich grew up in the Goldfields, attending St Mary’s Convent School and CBC Kalgoorlie before going to Teachers College at UWA. He then returned to Kalgoorlie-Boulder and taught at South Kalgoorlie Primary School and Kalgoorlie Primary School  He was an avid and keen bicycle rider who successfully rode his bike from Perth to Kalgoorlie 16 times out of an attempted 20. In his later years, he would often brag about some football greats whose origins were in Kalgoorlie, and also took an active stand in writing letters to the editor, particularly to the Kalgoorlie Miner. Many would recall his strong opinions, always signed off “Tony Bozich, Balcatta”.

His commitment to Kalgoorlie-Boulder saw me go out of my way last year to meet him for the first time, and we established a nice rapport.

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