20 November 2008

Vale Bob Sullivan

The Pioneer Museum lost a loyal supporter in the sudden death of Bob Sullivan recently. Back in 2005, Bob helped the museum acquire a very popular exhibit - Granny's Cocky.
From diary records we know that Granny Maley kept a pet cocky whilst she lived in this house. Although the diaries do not mention what type of cockatoo it was, it was probably either a Galah (Cacatua roseicapilla) or Little Corella (Cacatua sanguinea) as both species make excellent pets, and both birds are common to this region.
On 23 July 1886 it was recorded in the family diary that, Granny’s Bird bad I gave it Castor Oil this morning thought it was dying - 8 o’clock the Bird still alive won’t eat or drink anything. Unfortunately we do not know the ultimate fate of the bird.
Now the museum had an old bird cage in it's collection, but no cocky. A live bird was not feasible, but where to find a stuffed bird? These birds are protected.
Now Bob had a cocky. This bird was a Little Corella that was hatched in the Yuna area about 1940. After falling from the nest, the fledgling was found by a truck driver and given to Dave Sullivan, another truck driver. Dave took the young bird to Perth where it was cared for by his mother, Winifred Luff (formerly Sullivan).
In 1947, Winifred came to live with her son and family in Jose Street, Geraldton and Cocky came too. Cocky entertained the guard all night on the train coming up here. Winifred (or Nanna) and Cocky soon became well known in the neighbourhood. Cocky talked and sang incessantly.
Nanna died in 1969 and so Dave and his wife Greta took over the care of Cocky. Dave passed away in 1977 and Greta looked after Cocky until she became unwell. Greta died in 1995 and care of Cocky passed on to her son Bob and his wife Connie who moved Cocky to their place in Cairncross Street, Geraldton. Shortly after Cocky's arrival, she laid an egg! This was the first time anyone realised the bird was a girl. Cocky kept on entertaining the Sullivan family until 10 April 2005 when she died aged 65.
After her death, Bob temporarily housed Cocky in their freezer whilst money was collected from family members, members of the Geraldton Historical Society and visitors to this museum, to have the bird stuffed and displayed in this museum in her new role as Granny Maley's Cocky.

Thank you Bob for your Cocky and your support.

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