Home' Tennant and District Times : 2017-1208 TDT Contents 8 TENNANT AND DISTRICT TIMES FRIDAY 8 DECEMBER 2017
THE 2017 CHRISTMAS
d Festive News
d Gift Ideas
d Christmas Wishes
Russell, Kerry & the Team at Dexter Barnes Electrical & Dexter’s Tree
Lopping wish their clients and the Tennant Creek community a...
Refrigeration/Airconditioning Installation, Repairs and Sales
Phone 8962 2674 or 0407 623 083
Solar systems supplied
and installed by locals
JOHN Stocks has been putting cheer into
Christmas and the community for years
although many wouldn’t recognise him
in his North Pole get-up.
The now-retired signwriter quite often
masquerades as Santa, like he did last
Saturday night at the Senior Citizens’ Christ-
mas party where he handed out gifts to the
oldies who had turned out for their annual
He has also put smiles on the faces of
thousands of children as a stand-in for the
real Santa at Christmas Tree events over
It’s a role he loves.
“Everything about being Santa gives me
so much pleasure,” he said.
“I love the kids, I love the joy ... I just love
“You don’t always get to see so much hap-
piness. It’s really lovely.
“The older ones are good too, you can
have a joke, a laugh and a really good time.”
Santa is not the only Christmas role John
Gifted with a beautiful voice, he’s often
asked to sing at local events including
Carols by Candlelight.
In fact, John will take centre stage for
a few numbers at the annual event this
Sunday evening so if you want to hear him
sing some very memorable songs including
Mary’s Boy Child, When A Child Is Born and
So This Is Christmas then make your way
down to Peko Park at around 7pm.
In 1993, or thereabouts, John was sitting
in a pub in Harvey, Western Australia when
he heard there was a job going in Tennant
Creek for a signwriter.
His initial response was: “Where the hell is
Tennant Creek?” He had just returned from
Scotland and was looking for work so soon
he was off to the town that would become
his home for decades to come.
“I fitted into town really well,” he said.
“My boss, Sharon, was great and so were
the people. I joined Lions and got to meet a
huge range of people, not only from Tennant
Creek but throughout the Barkly and other
places in the Territory.”
John left town after a while but returned
when the signwriting shop was sold to a
local businessman. He later established
his own business, cementing his ties to
During his time here, John has been a
passionate community advocate who has
always spoken up for battlers and mates.
He is known for his determination to see
the townspeople get a fair go and, on many
occasions, has risen up in revolt (Freedom
on the Wallaby style) when the need arises.
John captured the town’s Aboriginal, min-
ing, pastoral and community history in an
amazing mural that took pride of place on
the wall of an old picture theatre.
The artwork became iconic and was a
much loved tourist attraction until the build-
ing was burned to the ground by vandals.
However, there is still evidence of John’s
artistic talents all over town with many busi-
nesses and organisations bearing his signs.
A couple of years ago, John decided
enough was enough and passed the busi-
ness on for a peppercorn.
“It was time to hang up my brushes,” he
“I don’t really handle the heat all that well,
my skin yearns for a cooler climate, so I
was planning to leave town and head down
That didn’t happen. More than two years
later and John is still here.
“Being a part of this lovely little town always
reminds me of a line in the Eagles’ song,
Hotel California,” he laughed.
“‘You can check out any time you like but
you can never leave’.
“The thing is, there are so many things to
“Friends I have made here are real friends
who are there when you need them.
“People really care, we are a part of a tight-
knit community and it’s very reassuring.”
John said he has had ‘a bit of a crook year’
and has spent some time in hospital both
here and in Alice Springs.
“As expected, everyone has been fantas-
tic. I received top-shelf attention that goes
beyond just being somebody’s job. We are
so lucky to have such genuine, caring peo-
ple at the hospitals both here and in Alice.
“And you know what? I found that a
number of the doctors have also become
attached to the town.
“Talking to them, I hear the same story -
that they came as locums, expecting to be
here just a few weeks but have returned
time and time again.
“I think Tennant Creek is full of people like
that, currently and historically.
“People check out all the time, they head
off on journeys and adventures all over the
country and the world, then they come back.
“Because you can never leave.”
Bringing Christmas cheer to town
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