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Byron Shire
July 6, 2022

Local man not ‘just a loser’

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There is something magical about a country hall. These small wooden buildings dot the landscape. They have a frugal modesty and an old fashioned generosity. If they had names they’d be called Thelma or Rose or Alan. They’re a pungent olfactory mix of last week’s wedding enmeshed with yesterday’s committee meeting. Curry and Jatz, tea and beer, tears and laughter.

North face of Mount Everest.

In the streets of Mullumbimby you might pass seemingly ordinary people whose remarkable achievements, if you only knew of them, would serve as an inspiration to many others. People like Chris Dewhirst, who started Australia’s first commercial hot air ballooning operation in 1980, and then in 1991 became the first person to fly a hot air balloon over Mt Everest. Or Dave Osborn, who just this week became the first person to park in every carpark at Woolies Mullum*.

Dave Osborn, achiever.

In a way Osborn’s achievement is the more remarkable, as the international patent lawyer, who has never thought of himself as ‘cool’ despite once sporting a henna gecko tattoo, also had to earn the respect of his teenage daughters.

‘Before my dad did this, I thought he was a bit of a loser who wasn’t going to achieve anything in his life,’ said daughter Cleo. ‘Now I couldn’t be more proud of him.’

Osborn’s map of every carpark in Woolies.

Osborn’s inspiration came in the depths of a pandemic in May 2021. Using aerial photographs, innate resourcefulness and organisational strengths, he produced a map of every carpark in Woolies, then over eight long months slowly ticked them off on bona fide purchasing trips to the supermarket. Finally, after many disappointments and many learnings, on 1 February 2022 the final spot (E8 on Osborn’s map) was parked in.

Was he ever tempted to just turn up at midnight purely to tick off a spot? Rather than be offended, Osborn, like all great men, used this question as an opportunity to teach.

‘Why choose to park in every spot in Woolies carpark?’, Osborn asked rhetorically. ‘We choose to do this not because it is easy, but because it is hard. Because that goal will serve to organise and measure the best of our energies and skills. This is something that humankind has never achieved before and may never be repeated. I am humbled by the weight of history on my shoulders.’

*excluding disabled and click-and-collect and that spot in the corner that’s not really an official carpark.


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17 COMMENTS

  1. No one has to earn the respect of his teenage daughters.
    Each of us is born and being a human being until death we all have respect for yourself.
    That all you need. Then you own yourself and no one owns you.

  2. That the Editors chose to leave this story off the front page baffles me. This man should be on a throne on top of the first truck in the November parade, to give residents of this town an opportunity to gaze in wonder at the conqueror of this remarkable feat. This is one in the eye for those who assume living in a country town is dull.

  3. As a purist I think you really do have to include click and collect. And to be absolutely clear Dave – you WILL need to do the real click and then the collect – not just the quick grab the spot and get out of there.

    Until then, don’t waste my time.

  4. Dave Osborn is a credit to his community and an Inspiration To Us All. It’s wonderful to witness the Human Spirit Triumph in this way.
    Dave’s forethought, determination and persistence inspire me to keep going with my life. I am disabled due to chronic illness. I would like to extend an invitation to Dave, that if he cares to take me to do my grocery shopping (including locating the elusive ‘wheelchair trolley’), then he will be able to park in the disabled parks as well, and get closer to collecting the set.

    • Remarkable feat of persistence and resilience; a shining example that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. So thrilled that the Echo has run this story and acknowledged and honoured Dave – a quiet achiever.

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