Memories of a not-so sterling find come flooding back
HALF A century after Andrew Baker and his mate, Ken Lawrence, found a wallet with $530 floating in floodwater and handed it into police, the Maclean businessman says he is still recovering from the experience.
Yesterday's Backward Glances column recalled the boys, then aged about 13, finding a wallet filled with cash, floating in floodwater in River St, Maclean.
"Typical of the press, the part of the story saying there was a worthwhile reward was totally wrong," Mr Baker said.
"The miserable old so-and-so only gave us $2 each."
While Mr Baker was disappointed with his reward, he said he got his "revenge" in due course.
"A few years later I started taking his daughter out," Mr Baker said. "So I got my reward a lot later."
He said he and Ken were riding their bikes to Stanford's Pharmacy, where the fish and chip shop is now, when they saw the wallet floating in floodwater.
"I used to do a bit of riding for the chemist and we were riding there after school," he said.
"There'd been a hell of a storm and we saw this wallet floating toward the river.
"If it had gone another 50m, it would have been in the river."
He said they took the sodden wallet straight to the police station, where police laid the contents out on the counter.
Mr Baker recalled it was only a few weeks after the introduction of decimal currency and the wallet was full of the largest denominations of the new money.
"It was pretty interesting," Mr Baker recalled. "The wallet belonged to a teacher at Woodford Island, and I think he was going on long service leave, so that money was probably all his pay."
He said neither he or his mate, had any thoughts of keeping the money.
"I don't think it passed through our minds," he said. "Maclean was a small place and everyone knew each other.
"We took it straight into the police station and they were able to contact him."