THE RESIDENTS of Wooli, Minnie Water and Diggers Camp already knew the value of their village maintenance man Brian 'Fredo' Frederiksen, who has just retired from the job.

At a farewell barbecue yesterday at the Wooli Sportsground for for the man who for 15 years has kept their streets, parks and other public places in tip-top order, the running joke was Clarence Valley Council had sent out a team of two workers to do his job on the first day he no longer turned up for work.

It was hard to tell how many of the villages' populations attended. There was a crowd of around 70 people in the Wooli Rural Fire Service shed at any one time, but there was a steady stream of arrivals and departures.

Mr Frederiksen said he was the last in a tradition of village maintenance men employed at the council ending a tradition stretching back decades.

"I'm one of the last of two in the Clarence Valley, there's me and Kevin Johnson at Ulmarra," Mr Frederiksen said.

"The council has basically made the positions redundant. I could have joined a work crew at South Grafton , but I didn't want to do that,"

He said the council decision to remove village maintenance men would make it harder to ensure all the necessary work ws done.

"There were two blokes come out from Grafton the first day after I retired," Mr Frederiksen.

"Unless they're really careful the place is going to go backwards."

The two previous village maintenance workers for Wooli, Minnie Water and Diggers Camp, Don Lee and Phil Rogers were also at the shed for the celebrations.

"It's an end of an era," Mr Rogers said. "We used to call ourselves the Village People."

Mr Lee said the positions were orginally created by the Ulmarra Shire Council and continued under the Pristine Waters Council.

"Brian started under Ulmarra Shire, then it went to Pristine Water and he's finished up with the Clarence Valley Council."



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