Why crash cop’s connection to military museum runs deep
STEVE Webb clearly recalls the first time he strolled into the Maryborough Military and Colonial Museum about 10 years ago.
“I just thought ‘Oh my God, this is fantastic’,” said the former police officer.
“There was stuff here you would not expect to see outside of Canberra.”
With a lifelong interest in military history behind him, he became one of about 100 volunteers who help look after the museum founded by John and Else Meyers.
Mr Webb retired last year from a 37-year police career that took him to postings from Thursday Island and North Queensland to the south Brisbane area.
He has found more time for his passion for matters military, ignited as a youth growing up in Canungra and influenced by a father and uncles who served in Asian deployments by the Australian military.
This week Mr Meyers announced that Mr Webb had been appointed as the manager of the museum, replacing Ken Ashford who, with his wife Judy, stepped down due to other commitments.
Barry Stanberg, who worked in the hospitality industry for 26 years, will back up Mr Webb at the museum, which is steadily growing in patronage since the pandemic shutdown.
Mr Webb’s first foray into the workforce was as a motor mechanic apprentice.
He joined the Army Reserve and served in the regular army for three years as a vehicle mechanic.
After early years as an instructor at the Queensland Police Academy, he moved into active police work and specialised in the challenging role of forensic crash investigation.
He investigated more than 500 road deaths, as well as handling many grim crimes.
He’s frank about the calibre of some of the folk he crossed paths with.
“I’ve arrested a lot of a***holes in my time,” he reflected.
“I’ve been shot at, assaulted, punched in the face and kicked in the nuts. And spat at. God, I hate that. I would rather be kicked in the nuts than have someone spit at my face.”
Despite that, Mr Webb loves mixing with people and enjoys the interaction with visitors to the popular museum.
“Military history is so important. It is interesting to see how people react when they see what is in the museum and learn about what their relatives might have done in war-time.”
He is particularly attached to the Maryborough military museum because it is dedicated to Mr and Mrs Meyers’ children, Geoffrey and Karen, who died as young adults in a traffic crash in 1982.
“To some that is just another road tragedy.”
He knows the pain that never ends.
“What John and Else have done here is a lasting memorial and an incredible legacy for Maryborough – the best military museum in Australia outside of Canberra.”