At 90, Stanthorpe man Toby Dempster is still full of life and an irrepressible sense of fun.
An extremely well known figure around town, he celebrated his birthday in fine style on Saturday 25 November at the Queensland College of Wine Tourism amongst a crowd of 60 people including his four children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and friends.
The Occasional Players, including the virtuosic ring-in, James Wannan from Sydney, brought a touch of musical class to the occasion as they played on the balcony.
The stories abounded, dating all the way back to his early school years when he made firm friends with a fellow named Frank Watson – who is still a great friend today after all those decades.
Toby and his late wife Marlene had an extremely successful orchard at Thulimbah for many years. A keen cricketer and tennis player in younger life, Toby brought enthusiasm to everything he did. Bicycle and motorcycle riding was something he increasingly took up in his retirement. Just three years ago he, his son and two friends rode to Cairns on their motorbikes, shadowing a trip that Toby started as a young man but never completed due to a bike failure. He made it easily three years ago and is still considering another trip, to Central Queensland, to visit a mine that he missed on the last trip. There is no keeping a good man down!
His family recalled him being able to recite reams of poetry when they were kids, especially that of A.B. ’Banjo’ Paterson. And he hasn’t lost his touch, giving a rendition of A Bush Christening to the appreciative audience.
And here’s something that people may not know about him. Toby is not his name by birth. He earned the moniker as a child because of his love of the famous breakfast food, Uncle Toby’s Oats. And as he says, if someone uses his given name, that person doesn’t know him very well.