Roger Arrow: A lucky man with a passion for the Oberon community

Roger Arrow - 18 February 1945 - 12 November 2021

Roger John Arrow was born on the 18th of February 1945 at Haroldeen Private Hospital in Oberon. He was the first child, and only son, of Patricia and Dennis Arrow. He was big brother to five sisters: Maree, Shirley, Denise, Therese, and Cathy. Roger left school when he was just fifteen. He sat the public service exam and joined the Forestry Commission. He briefly worked at Timber Industries and at the Oberon Golf Club before returning to the Forestry Commission, moving to Tumut around 1965. His next move was to Bombala, where Joan joined him after their marriage in 1968. Still with the Forestry Commission, Roger and Joan moved to Glen Innes in 1972, where they had their first child, Michelle.

In December 1976, Roger and his Forestry Commission colleagues played their regular lottery ticket - a syndicate entry - and won. The prize was enough for Roger and Joan to make a big life change: they used their winnings to purchase their first newsagency, in the New England town of Walcha, in 1977, the same year their second daughter, Jodi, was born.

Roger Arrow. Photo: Submitted/Michelle Arrow

Roger Arrow. Photo: Submitted/Michelle Arrow

In 1982, the Oberon newsagency became available for sale, and Joan and Roger moved back to their childhood town to buy it. In 1987, they built a new premises for the business at 175a Oberon St and a few years later, they bought the building next door to expand further. Joan and Roger ran Arrow's Newsagency together for almost forty years. It was a family business in the very best sense: Joan and Roger shared the many responsibilities of the business, and the business sustained Roger and Joan's family for decades.

As the internet changed the ways that people consumed their news, Roger and Joan skilfully adapted their business to changing times, expanding new stock lines, coping with technological change and always making the newsagency a welcoming place to shop. Ensuring the papers were available every morning - rain, hail, snow or shine - had its challenges. It required decades of (very) early starts, and occasionally, last-minute drives to Bathurst on snowy roads to collect missed bundles of newspapers. Through all these challenges, Roger and Joan made the newsagency an important part of the Oberon community, and they were grateful to the people of Oberon for their many years of support and friendship.

Roger was, in many ways, very lucky. He won the lottery twice. He hit three holes in one over his life. He had five wonderful sisters. He had two granddaughters who he adored. But most of all, he was lucky because he had his wife of 53 years, Joan. Joan and Roger met through friends when they were teenagers and they married in the Oberon Catholic Church in 1968. Together, he and Joan built a happy, active life, rich in friendship, family and community. They were always busy, working on home improvements and especially developing beautiful gardens, both at Strathroy Avenue and at Blenheim Lodge.

Roger was fit and active almost all his life. He loved to play tennis and he was a keen golfer, playing most weekends for many years, enjoying regular games with Bob Slattery and other friends. Most recently he took up an electric bike, which made it easier to navigate the hills near the house. Roger was also a keen fisherman and hunter.

Roger was an important member of the Oberon community and an outspoken advocate for many of the causes he was most passionate about. He played a leading role in the successful campaign to seal the Abercrombie Road, and he helped organise opposition to the forced amalgamation of Oberon local council, for which he received an Australia Day award, together with the anti-amalgamation committee. He was a keen advocate for the development of The Reef as an outdoor recreation area, which is now a popular spot for picnics, camping and fishing, in part because of his efforts. He took a keen interest in politics and he and his mates spent long hours solving the problems of the world over a glass or two of red wine, or during early morning yarns at the shop.

Roger's numerous health challenges over the last twelve months hastened his long-awaited retirement. Roger's family are very grateful for all the support and help they have received during Roger's long illness. Joan, Jodi and Michelle would like to particularly like to thank Helen Lowe, Bob Slattery, Pam Dellow, Roger's sisters Maree, Denise and Shirley, and Roger's brother-in-law Noel Kitt, for all their help and support during this difficult time. They would also like to thank the staff of Arrow's Newsagency for their dedication and care.

Roger's granddaughter, Saskia said that 'You couldn't always know what grandpa was thinking. But you could always tell when he was happy.' Few things made him happier than being with his grandchildren, Saskia and Piper, and they loved going out with him in the Toro to feed the horses, or to play with dogs Poppy and Beau. Roger had a rich, full life.

He was much loved. And he will be greatly missed.