BIG JOHN (Newcastle NSW), BARBARA MAGGS (Cranbourne Vic) and ROD QUANTOCK (Melbourne Vic) were awarded ORDER OF AUSTRALIA MEDALS today, June 8, 2015.
All three have served the community over many years through, among other things, motorcycle TOY RUNs. Each year these events help less fortunate children to have a happier Christmas and promote road safety. Riders come together for a grand parade bringing gifts and donations for worthy charities like the Salvation Army and the Father Bob Foundation.
TOY RUNs began in both Melbourne and Newcastle in 1978. The organisers did not know about each other at the time. It just seemed like a good thing to do that year.
In Newcastle Big John did not realise he was starting something that would still be happening nearly four decades later. John is the Grand Champion TOY RUN organiser. 2015 is his 38th TOY RUN. His OAM is fitting recognition for this great achievement.
The first Melbourne TOY RUN was held in the Salvation Army car park at the corner of Spring and Lonsdale Streets in December 1978. Early TOY RUN meetings were held at the famous Society Restaurant in Bourke Street. The picture shows Salvos, industry representatives and bike journos in Rino's Room at the Society.
Rod Quantock was a pioneer in Australian television, particularly in live comedy. His live shows were, and are, extraordinary. He led groups of "theatre goers" through our city with a rubber chicken on a stick. He conducted mock trials in the Old Melbourne Gaol. Wherever there was a good cause, he put his hand up. In the early 1980s I invited him to be Master of Ceremonies at the MRA TOY RUN in Melbourne. For more than a decade Rod ran the stage and was part of making the event the major success it was attracting 10 to 15 thousand riders each year.
In the early 1980s Barbara Maggs and her partner Tony began organising the Cranbourne TOY RUN which would come up the Monash Freeway to join the Melbourne TOY RUN. Barbara has organised some 34 TOY RUNs. A mighty effort. Her OAM is certainly well deserved.