On his soapbox: Local Legend Warren Weick

Warren Wieck is a local character, full of local knowledge and a love of life.  He's driven the local school bus for nearly 40 years amongst many other careers and man, can he tell a story.

If you’ve lived in Bellingen for any time at all you’ll know him.  Possibly not by sight, but you would have heard him.  “Gooday mate.” “Good on ya.” “How are ya darl?” “Behave yourself.” “How’s it going?”

Warren Weick is a local character, full of local knowledge and a love of life.  He’s driven the local school bus for nearly 40 years amongst many other careers and man, can he tell a story.

We decided to get him up on his soapbox and discovered there’s no stopping him once he gets going.

 

Warren Wieck is a local character, full of local knowledge and a love of life.  He's driven the local school bus for nearly 40 years amongst many other careers and man, can he tell a story.

Warren on his Soapbox

Warren are you a true local?

Sure am.  I was born in Bellingen Hospital in 1961, schooled at Bellingen Public and High and have worked here all of my life.  I’ve lived my whole life in Gordonville.

What was it like growing up in Bellingen?

I had a great time.  Certainly got up to a bit of mischief and wagged school a bit, gave the pinnies in town a run.  Back then Bellingen was humming.  Businesses thrived.  You could get everything you needed right here- from a new car to everything for the home.  There was even a black market- maybe we don’t need to go there.

Did you have many local mentors?

So many.  Real salt of the earth locals who would do anything for you. Cliff Schofield, the Prestons, Carl Foster, Max Adams, Barry Keough, Wally Humphries were just some of the locals who taught me a thing or two.

Is it true your career started as a menswear connoisseur?

Mens wear, ladies wear and haberdashery.  I left school at 14 and started working at the Bellingen Emporium.  I’d been earmarked as a butcher but liked my fingers too much.  I worked with John and Cec Hammond and some lovely local ladies, who taught me everything I know about sales.  I was there for 10 years and spent my days fitting out the local blokes.  Best salesman in town I reckon ha ha.

Warren Wieck is a local character, full of local knowledge and a love of life.  He's driven the local school bus for nearly 40 years amongst many other careers and man, can he tell a story.

Warren on his beloved bus

So what prompted you to change careers?

My family purchased the school bus run when I was 16 years old for $16,000.  For the first few years dad was on the bus, but I was itching to get behind the wheel.

I’ve really loved the kids on the bus, connecting with parents, getting the kids home safe, watching the kids grow and knowing them as young adults.  This job has meant I know so many in the community. All the kids were lovely to me. Of course there was the odd kid who gave me curry- but when I see them as an adult they say- “Thank god we had you driving the bus Warren.”

Your family were farmers originally.  How was it for farmers and how is it now?

To be honest it has always been tough country.  Ask any of the old farmers- the severe cold and frosts, the floods that took out whole paddocks and decimated livestock.  Mind you, things are even harder now.  Weeds like we never saw before now infiltrate everything.  Fire weed and parramatta grass have made it tough going.  These days if you plough up a field and sow corn or potatoes you’ll eventually end up with a paddock of weeds.

Lots of larger blocks have been subdivided, which I think was a good thing.  Bringing more families in.  But to be honest, it is only hobby farming these days.

Do you think the weed issue is due to climate change or farming practices?

Look there is no doubt the weather is changing.  All the farmers know it.  Maybe this is causing the weed problems.  What I do know is water is our primary need- without it we have nothing.  Farmers out west are shifting to Dorrigo looking for water.  What we don’t need is this drilling for gas, stuffing up water supplies.

There might be a perception that farmers aren’t greenies- but we are all green to some extent. Bob Brown is a good friend of the family. Terrific guy.  Last time he was in town we had a great chat which meant a lot to me.

You’ve seen a lot of Mayors.  Has there been a stand-out?  What would you do if you were Mayor?

Ha ha mate firstly, I would never be Mayor.  But I have seen a few Mayors here. All have left their mark on our community- some better than others.  I reckon we just need to talk commonsense and work together.  And keep an open mind.

Mind you, if I was Mayor I would just make things work better in the community. There are too many walls put up to stop things happening, too much red tape for business and too many rules.  I would let business flow and flow well for everyone.  It doesn’t always seem that the rules apply to everyone fairly.  If everyone is given a fair go and everyone works together, it’s like a recipe for a cake- each step is crucial for the final result.

Another problem that I can see is the price of rent and housing (even though I’m a real estate agent I can be honest about this).  We need growth and the young families moving in, keeping the local business community humming.  Higher rents are killing businesses.  When times are tough landlords need to accommodate their tenants.  Plus we need more subdivision to allow for affordable land.  Without this the town won’t survive.

Too many locals are under way too much pressure.  You can see it in the eyes, many people these days aren’t happy.  We can do better than this.  Working together to solve the problems is the way forward.

So how does this fit with your successful local real estate agency?

Look mate I’m honest.  I tell it like it is and my clients are grateful for that.  I know some people in Bellingen would like to close the gates.  But everyone needs to remember that zoning changes and subdivisions in the past have allowed them to buy here and be part of this community.  We have something very special here.  But without new families moving in how will our schools and hospital survive, not to mention local businesses and all of our tradies.  I want to see this place buzzing again.  Community is everything.

 

22 Comments

  • Phil Wilson says:

    Thanks Warren. I appreciated your soapbox article. I’d seen you whizz past and now I have a greater understanding of your past and present 👍
    Go well.

  • Ruth Holmes says:

    Warren raises some very important points, the red tape, everyone working together, water, high cost of rent, need for younger families to move into the area, increase of weeds & a number of farmers are greenies. Agree with all of these comments. A beaut interview. Hopefully, the connection with communities has commenced!

  • Bee and Ian says:

    Thanks Warren what a gentleman you are. Thanks for all your hard honest work over so many years. Everything you say makes such good sense. Now tell us about the black market stories! 🙂 Bee and Ian

  • Leigh Emery says:

    Having lived all over the world and in Bellingen for 22 years I can say, without doubt, that Warren is one of the most likeable, honest and friendly blokes I have ever met. With just a few simple words, he was a great comfort to me during the recent illness and subsequent passing of my beautiful partner of 35 years, Julie. He is sincere and straightforward and I would like just 10 per cent of of the battery power of this ‘Duracell Bunny’ of a man. I think he must have been born with the ‘long life, gold, maximum power’ batteries — they never seem to run out! He is a wonderful advertisement for and credit to the extraodrinary town of Bellingen.

  • Janet Hosking says:

    The above comments say it all. You are a great bloke Warren. Long may you live.

  • Couldn’t say it any better Warren.
    Keep up the good work!

  • Dom & Jackie says:

    When are you running for Mayor Bellingen needs you!!

  • Helen Lambert says:

    Loved this interview.. You’re an absolute legend Warren and thanks for all the chats we’ve had as a newcomer to this great town. You have a heart of gold.. I reckon Bello would do well to have you as our Mayor! 😊

  • Linda Pankhurst says:

    Hi Warren,
    About time you stood on the soapbox … lovely story … can almost see and feel you standing there and using those exact words : )
    Bruce and I really enjoyed liaising with you when we had our Leura home on the market. At that time we were so interested in a lovely piece of land on top of the hill overlooking the lake below (an estate). Needless to say, the subdivision did not materialise. Things move on, we sold our home but prices and properties in Bellingen just did not seem to match our needs at that time. We are now in Kings Creek (Port); have been here for a month now.
    You certainly did give us the best impression of Bello, and we loved your positive, humble, generous and relaxed attitude, towards everything. One of our visits (in September 2018 I think) took us to your farm, where we watched a new water tank being installed, and then we met your lovely daughter and her friend. Our impression of you, your life and the life in Bellingen stays with us still.
    We look so forward to going to the Bello Market and catching up with you Warren.

  • Helen Tree says:

    Good to see you Warren, on your soap box.. Warren was actually the first person we spoke to when we were thinking about relocating to Bello. You were sweeping outside what was lj hooker on the corner.. and we got one of those cheerie, “ how you going” welcome to Bello.. it was like a welcoming committee.. that was over 30 years ago. We love yo tell the story of purchasing our land after Warren sent a message home on the school bus with our eldest son.. you are a legend Wazza, and my four boys and now some of their children have traveled on that bus.. “ it’s the best. School bus in the world “ my kids used to say!
    Some straight talking ideas there about the future . Good one

  • Jaimi says:

    Warren drove me on the school bus as a young one, then recently he helped us relocate back to Bellingen when we found the property of our dreams. Now we get to call him a neighbour – and he’s a bloody good neighbour to have. One of the most genuine people in town! Would do anything for anyone and he’s always up for a joke and a laugh.

  • Leah says:

    Great. Gotta love a local💜💜💜

  • Debbie Keough says:

    A true local aussie legend you are Warren. Up front, honest and caring and always welcoming.. A privelege to know you. I remember your Hammond days very clearly. Debbie
    Keough

  • Em Reynolds says:

    Great interview Warren and team! Images of you selling haberdashery made me smirk.

  • Janette Lovell says:

    Honest as the day is long !
    Great interview, with all the new faces to town I still enjoy seeing familiar faces around, and let’s face it , that one makes me smile !

  • Helen Badger says:

    Hi Warren,
    A good man and was a great neighbour for 15 years. Hi Warren!
    Cheers to you and thd family.
    Helen and Tom

  • petrina & family says:

    Thanks Warren

  • Jenni McLennan says:

    My first job was ladieswear at Hammond & Wheatley. I’m one of those “lovely ladies” that worked with Warren and we’ve been great mates ever since. Warren is a neat freak – he would sweep the street out the front of the shop everyday and chat away to passers-by or talk then into popping in to check out the wears in the shop. Warren is the kindest and funniest bloke I know. He would give you the shirt off his back. He is knowledgeable and speaks his mind with confidence. It’s our absolute pleasure to see him interviewed & read his article. Commonsense and community is so important. Well said Warren – never get off ur soap-box mate. Love Jenn & BJ

  • Alex Roques says:

    We need more people like Warren. Our world would be a much better place. Warren is one of the friendliest, honest, generous, genuine people we know. His ethics are paramount. A rare breed indeed! Warren, we are proud and lucky to have you in our life.
    Keiren, Eido, Winter and Alex

  • Viv & Jesse Forder says:

    Jess and I agree with everything that has been written about your Warren you’re the best, known you since you were a young lad and you’ve grown into a fantastic man, you have always had a heart of gold helping people and encouraging them . So proud of you , love you to bits.

  • Nancye and Darrell Martin says:

    Some great comments there and well deserved, when we had our Thora, Darkwood Bus Runs Warren used to come every week to our weekly morning tea with our Bus Drivers for many years, we really miss those days ,and Warren almost became another son to us. Happy congratulations Warren you have done well. Nancye and Darrell Martin plus Mark.

  • Georgina Frogley says:

    Warren for the next mayor! Georgie Girl

Leave a Reply