Students from Tarro Public School, Newcastle Lord Mayor Councillor Nuatali Nelmes and former Newcastle Lord Mayor John McNaughton, as well as the “Minimi Magster” Bob Skelton, joined some Hexham Bowling Club directors, members and staff to celebrate Ossie the Mossie’s 21st birthday earlier in the week.
Secretary manager Jon Chin said that Ossie, the mascot of Hexham Bowling Club, has come of age.
70 Kindergarten to Year 2 school children from Tarro Public School performed a special song about Ossie and brought with them a pass the parcel they made. Students from across the school made Ossie art works, posters, cartoon or wrote poems about Ossie. Teacher Allison Bourke also made a special cake with 3D Ossies.
Jon said Ossie was well known and loved not just in the Hunter but around Australia, putting the club on the map.
“The fantastic efforts by the kids at Tarro to make Ossie’s birthday special is typical of the affection local people have for him,” Jonsaid.
Ossie has been written and sung about. People have danced about him and he has featured in travel shows, media articles and on lists of the “Top 20 Big Things” in Australia. Bob Skelton’s poem The Hexham Greys was inspired by Ossie.
The Club has always had a Hexham Grey mosquito as its symbol. In 1994 the three and a half metre high Ossie was built at a cost of $17,200, modelled on the giant chicken used by a Toyota dealership. Then Lord Mayor of Newcastle, Cr John McNaughton officially unveiled Ossie on March 10, 1994 with then Hexham Bowling Club chairman Jim Mehan.
“Ossie has already had some plastic surgery in 2004/5 and in 2008 because of damage from the elements and other insects. He had another “nip and tuck” in 2010 when the Roads and Maritime Service ordered Ossie be moved back four metres to assist with the widening of the Pacific Highway. That time he received some “animation” including glowing green eyes, a new red belly, and a neon nose.”
“Over the years, Ossie has gone from a Hexham Grey to a Hexham Rainbow to brighten up the lives of all who visit the ‘Happy Hexham’ and those who pass by him,” Jon concluded.
People may leave Ossie a birthday message or share a story on their memories of Ossie growing up on the Hexham Bowling Club Facebook page.
L-R | Hexham Bowling Club manager Jon Chin, then Club chairman Jim Mehan and then Lord Mayor of Newcastle John McNaughton.