Stawell's hardest working couple

There is a lot in Stawell that has benefited from the hard work and dedication of Don and Ruby Webb.

Don, who is 82 in February and Ruby, 77 are, despite their advanced years, one of Stawell's busiest couples.

The pair, who were both born in Stawell at Sister Davies Hospital, are well known for their contribution to the community, whether it be through their work with the local Lions Club, men's and ladies Probus Clubs, or the Stawell Bowling Club, just to name a few.

Don and Ruby Webb have been married for 58 years and lived in the same house for 57. They have two children, Kevin and Julie.

Don worked at Australia Post in Stawell for 44 years, while Ruby worked as a school secretary including Stawell West, Stawell High School and Stawell Technical School.

As well as working at the Post Office, Don joined the local council at the age of 40 and later on, became mayor of Stawell.

He was in the mayor's role in 1981 when Stawell Gold Mines restarted its exploration, and turned the first sod at the mine reopening.

Don also oversaw the building of what is now known as the Stawell Leisure Complex, including the indoor pool and also oversaw the transition of Main Street into the Gold Reef Mall.

He speaks fondly of his time on the council and as the town's mayor.

Don has been a Justice of the Peace for 33 years, was on the Stawell Harness Racing Club committee for 20 years, and both he and Ruby are life members of Probus.

The pair were president of the men's and ladies Probus Clubs at the same time, and together were involved with the Grampians Community Car program, an unfunded, not for profit service which uses volunteer car drivers to provide community transport solutions for people living in Stawell and surrounding areas.

The tireless work of the couple hasn't gone unnoticed, particularly Don's contribution to the town through council and also his role on the water board.

Don received an Order of Australia Medal in 2004 for his contribution to Local Government in the Grampians region and just last year, received a senior achievement award at Government House.

The pair spoke of their motivation behind their work over the years.

"I suppose I just felt to live in the community, you had to contribute what you can. You're not looking for rewards, you get out what you put in," Don said.

"Once you start, it's really good to keep up. I've thoroughly enjoyed it all and have made some lifelong friends," Ruby added.

When asked if Stawell can be improved, Don said it was important for local communities to work together.

"It's better to improve on population numbers," Don said.

"A big challenge is industry and cheap labour in Asia. We've got to concentrate on what we're good at and Ararat and Stawell must work together.

"A lot of Stawell people work at the Ararat Prison and people from Ararat work at the mine or the abs (abattoirs). We must look at the big picture."

Don said he had his opportunities to leave Stawell through his work with Australia Post, but both he and Ruby are glad he decided to stay in Stawell.

"We're very happy we chose to build our future in Stawell," Ruby said.

"As our son Kevin, who lives in the USA says: 'It was a great place to grow up, get an education and a great place to retire."

"I have loved and enjoyed all I have been involved with and all the great people I have met along the way."

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