When Bob Wilson was a young man, he came out to western NSW looking for work. In Menindee, he met the love of his life – Rita Webster, a young Paakantji woman. They married and reared their family of ten children in Wilcannia. Bob proudly built their first home on the riverbank – he always called it ‘the old tin shack’. Later on, they bought a house in town.
Their youngest daughter, Colleen, says ‘Dad was a devoted husband and father. He wasn’t just our father, he was our best mate. He always said to us that the world is full of possibilities, so when we grow up we can do whatever we want to. He was a support person – people came to him for whatever support they needed, physical or mental. He was a good friend, a hard worker and a man of his word. When he married Mum, he embraced Paakantji culture and language – he made sure Paakantji was spoken in the house every day. And he wrapped Mum up in cotton wool!
‘Mum was the most perfect human being to all of us. She made the home, she was the backbone of the family. She wasn’t one to tell you she loved you every day but she said it through her cooking – her food was very comforting. Music was a big thing for her, fishing and her garden. When you walked in off the street into Mum and Dad’s yard, you could forget everything.’
Bob and Rita always had room in their home and hearts for special kids, and they didn’t treat them differently from their own family – they were loving and protective to them.They became part of the family forever, and always had special feeling for Uncle Bob and Aunty Rita.