Wally's been visiting the same pub for 72 years

Wally Norman of Parkes is certainly one loyal patron.

He’s been drinking a beer at the same pub, the Star Hotel, for 72 years.

So it was very fitting for Wally to celebrate his 90th birthday, on September 23, at the hotel with a birthday lunch with his wife and four children.

After a hard working week as a wheat grader in summer and a shearer in winter, every so often – usually on a Saturday morning – you would find Wally walking from his Clarinda Street home and into the Star for an Old ale or two.

And it’s been that way since 1944.

Of course a lot has changed since then.

“It was a workers pub back in those days,” he said.

“It was a lot different to now, the bar has changed.

Wally can’t quite remember how much a beer cost in the 40s and 50s.

“But it wasn’t $5,” he assured.

It was also a time when the pubs used to close at 6pm, though Wally remembers it remaining open longer more often than not.

Wally is a country boy through and through – he was born and raised in Parkes, attending Gunningbland school before entering the workforce at 14 years old.

He looked after the mail run on a horse and sulky three times a week, travelling 30 miles a run.

When he was 16, his family – that included three older sisters and a younger sister – moved to Sydney.

But the big smoke wasn’t for Wally, lasting only two months before he hopped aboard a train back to Parkes on his own.

In 1969, Wally and his wife Joyce bought the dry cleaners.

But these days, Wally volunteers his time at the Parkes Golf Club, cleaning the halfway house toilets every Friday and is a life member of Parkes Harness Racing.

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