Corboy drew biggest dinner crowd

By Robert Muir

The Rotary Club of Corowa’s annual Federation Dinner and Tim Fischer Oration is always popular with an excellent guest speaker and good crowd every time.

This year’s Friday January 25 night, however, drew the biggest crowd in its four-years-to-date dinner with guest speaker Michael Corboy APM helping to attract 103 people and a sell-out in the Oddfellows Hall.

Now aged 58-years, the former Mulwala Central School and Corowa High School student took the audience on his wonderful journey from a tall, skinny farm boy through to NSW Police Force Assistant Commissioner.

Rotary Club of Corowa President and MC Bill Bott said how pleased and privileged the club was to have Michael, who has such a distinguished career, as guest speaker.

The two have fond memories of Michael’s early days in Mulwala before high school at Corowa. “I used to wear number 8 on my footy jumper, after Bill Bott,” the former young Mulwala Thirds player told The Free Press. “Bill was my local hero.”

Bill played 99 senior games with Mulwala. Michael also played with Corowa Reserves and seniors at Buraja but admitted he couldn’t skite about his football ability to the Federation Dinner attendees.

He certainly could if he wanted to about his 38-year-to-date police career but told it matter of fact, with his challenges both inside and outside the police force, and how he has obviously been a brilliant success story.

The career has been a full workload with many challenges, involving a wide range of police actions and many causes outside the office such as SIDS and Red Nose Day.

But he loved being back in Corowa where he had served at the local police station. “I went to Corowa High School. I got married here. Our son was born here. Corowa is very close to my heart. It’s great to see a lot of my friends at this dinner,” he told the packed audience.

Several examples of leadership throughout the world were given by Michael, especially about South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, South African President and first black head of state from 1994 to 1999, and philanthropist Nelson Mandela.

“Individuals can make a difference,” the NSW Police Force Life Member, who has always strove for fairness and equality, said.

“I’ve learned a lot about leadership. But the greatest compliment anyone can give me is that I have always been true to myself and haven’t changed much from the tall, skinny farm boy from Mulwala.

“It has been a journey, a journey that is very solidly influenced by this town and the people in the room. What I have learned is how little things from seemingly ordinary people can actually change and influence changes.  

“Nelson Mandela said ‘we can change the world and make it a better place. It is in your hands to make a difference’.

“I’m grateful for the influence on me both as a police officer but more importantly as a proud member of this community.” 

A standing ovation followed Michael’s 25-minute speech - for the Vylands farm boy half way between Mulwala and Rennie who travelled by bus to Corowa High School, who was an average school student, who successfully undertook various tertiary studies, obtained vast experience, learnt a lot and has achieved an outstanding police career.

His Mum Jan Corboy of Mulwala described her oldest son’s speech as great and said the family was so proud of the former star athlete at primary school.

Jan, of course, was Mulwala Central School (later renamed Mulwala Public School) Infants Teacher, Miss Hawke. “I had infants like Possum Purtle, Vin Slattery and Robert Hamson,” she had to tell the Yarrawonga Chronicle.