Graham Millgate, Narromine NSW
Get plenty of sleep before you leave, take plenty of water and drinks with you, stay mindful of your surroundings, and if you feel tired, pull over at a Driver Reviver site.
Narromine co-ordinator Graham Millgate says: “We’ve suggested to a lot of people over the years to pull up and have a sleep in the car for half an hour and we’d wake them up. It may have saved a life or two.”
Awarded the Emergency Services Medal in the 2015 Australia Day Honours List for his tireless work and commitment to the Volunteer Rescue Association (VRA), Graham has operated the site since it opened.
The VRA volunteer for 38 years says the squad started it with help from the local Apex, Lions and firefighters, initially operating from a tent at the roadside rest area just outside of town before serving refreshments from an old caravan near the Narromine Aerodrome with limited access to facilities and safe parking.
“There was a lot of traffic going through in those days,” he says.
“All the shops shut at five o'clock Friday and there was nothing open in town. This was the same with Dubbo. Only the service stations were open. There weren't any fast-food places or anything.”
Today, the site is operated by 11 squad members from the council-owned facility at the Narromine saleyards, 150m from the Mitchell Highway and has 24-hour access to toilets and showers.
In the past, the Narromine site has remained open well into the night, although no longer needs to.
Graham has met countless people in his time, “people coming from Canberra and going to visit friends in Warren and Nyngan and Bourke, people coming from Sydney going to Broken Hill”.
The retired Narromine Council employee worked in the engineering department for the last 12 years of his career and was a plant operator for more than 20 years before that.
He initially volunteered with Dubbo squad but transferred to Narromine, which covers an area stretching down to Peak Hill and out to Dubbo and Trangie and the Bogan River.
During that time, Graham has sadly seen “one or two” really terrible accidents that highlight the need for Driver Reviver.