The Shoalhaven has lost one of its true characters and an outstanding horseman in his own right.
Terrence "Terry" Bennett passed away on July 6, aged just weeks short of his 74th birthday.
The family has produced this tribute to the man known by so many as "Buster" which was read at his funeral by his nephew John.
Terrence Charles Bennett was born on July 31, 1947 at the Edmund Hospital annex in Junction Street, Nowra to Ivy Clare Bennett and Harold Oswald (Os) Bennett.
Os was a dairy farmer at Berellan, Brundee and his wife Ivy was a city girl, raised in Kirribilli, North Sydney.
Terrence was the second son of Ivy and Os, after his brother Mervyn, born two years prior.
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Terrence was known by many as Terry, but he is mostly referred to as "Buster", a name he has had for very good reason since he was a young man.....
Terry went to primary school at St Michael's, Nowra. He didn't settle easily to school life and was often tied into his chair by the nuns to keep him sitting still.
While at St Michael's he played in the rugby league football team, a sport he excelled at. He played rugby league for St Michael's right through until 1969 when he was 22.
As a boy Terrence loved to ride his pony, spending every Sunday at Nowra Pony Club at South Nowra.
His first pony was a little creamy pony called Pammy.
One day while feeding Pammy (in his mother's copper preserving pot, that he'd taken from the kitchen) he decided to tie Pammy to the handle while he went and got her saddle. The pony spooked when the pot moved and she galloped with the pot through every single fence to the back of the farm.
So, she was out of action for a while as was Terrence when Nanna saw the state of her preserving pot.
For a while thereafter being down to one horse, Terrence and his brother took turns going to pony club riding their pony Fudge until Terrence got his next pony Pixie.
Pixie was followed by her sister Fairy. Terry rode Fairy in the pony picnic races at the old Worrigee racecourse, which was on his parents' property at Worrigee.
The pair also represented Zone 22 in numerous interclubs' competitions across the state and they competed in showjumping at the 1962 Sydney Royal, winning second prize.
Terry also rode John Shea's pony Rumba, who was a great little jumper too.
From the tons or ribbons held by the family still, it seems Terry with Fairy and Rumba cleaned up almost everywhere in '62 and '63.
At pony club Terry liked sporting and jumping but not so much the English riding. He far preferred all western riding activities from the outset.
After St Michael's primary, Terry went to Nowra High School where he continued to excel at football - sport being more his interest than academics.
Terry finished school at age 15 and went home to work on the farm.
Once he was able to drive at 17, he went to work at the Shoalhaven Papermill where he would stay for the next 10 years.
He worked shift work as an operator on paper making machine number one. His cousin Leo working just down the corridor on the cutter.
Shift work at the mill was tough, but not for Terry who was often advised to "go steady mate" or he'd make everyone else look bad.
Around this time a family friend of the Bennett's, Don Collins had a racehorse trainer's licence. He and Terrence decided to train horses together with Terry doing all of the riding as Don wasn't built for riding horses.
Terrence and Don started with a horse called Hudalomi who had considerable success, once winning at Rosehill at 100 to one, a story Terry loved to tell!
Terry trained Hudalomi by riding from the farm gates at Berellan to Mayfield Road, along Mayfield Road to Culburra Road, back along the Pyree straight where he would let him gallop, then back past the red shed, the butter factory and home to the farm, a distance close to 9km every day.
That's the work you need to win races in the city, he'd often say.
After Hudalomi, Terry owner trained a horse called Downright and they had considerable success, winning races across the state from Grafton to Nowra to Kembla Grange. For a time, Downright held the track record at Kembla Grange.
After Downright, Terry trained a horse called Colourful Skye who won at Bong Bong. This horse would go on to qualify for the Olympics at Montreal and would also be one of the first thoroughbreds to be classified and registered as an Australian Stockhorse.
Once he finished with his racehorses, Terry took to the sport of polocrosse with significant success too.
He had a lot of fun playing for Nowra with people like Bernie Quinn, Alan Smith and Frankie Bourke. He had a very handy and well-known polocrosse horse called Donald Duck.
Terry and his future wife Maureen Clayden first met as children when Maureen's parents made a visit to the Bennett's farm at Brundee.
Maureen's first memory of Terry is seeing a red headed boy swinging off the front gate while he opened it for them as their car arrived.
They next crossed paths again a few years later at a Christmas party that was held at Maureen's parents' home in Sydney.
Maureen remembers them dancing together when the record player was put on after lunch and says "that day also showed me the mischievous side of his character".
Years after that, when Maureen was nursing at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Sydney, she became friends with a Pyree girl, Barbara Bennie who invited her to come stay.
The girls visited the Bennett's farm up the road and again Terry and Maureen would cross paths.
The girls were invited to a party by Terry and Pat Egan and after Terry shared his menthol cigarettes with Maureen, and they became an item.
The couple had a break for three years while Maureen finished her nursing and travelled overseas but Terry found out that she was home via another local, Jan Monaghan and he contacted her at the hospital and as Maureen says - "the rest is history".
They were married on May 11, 1974 at St Michaels, Nowra.
In 1974, Terry returned to work on the farm while his parents took a trip overseas and Maureen worked as a sister at the Shoalhaven District Nursing Service.
At first, they lived on Culburra Road near the floodgates. While on the farm, Terry struck the worst flood in a century in 1974 and had significant challenges keeping cattle above water on the flats at Brundee.
After finishing work at the farm on his parents return, Terry went to work with his brother at the concrete business at South Nowra, where he would stay for the next few years.
During this time Terry and Maureen moved a house from the block where the Trevi Fountain Restaurant is now, to their 15-acre block on Worrigee Road.
They would remain at 179 Worrigee Road all the years since and through the birth of their four loved and loving daughters; Naomi in 1976, Ellen in 1978, Fiona in 1980 and Emily in 1984.
Terry bred, broke in and trained many horses at home which were ridden by him and all of his girls at rodeos throughout the state.
He had sporting horses, barrel racers and mini trotters.
His own daughters too having state and international success on home bred horses.
He often said the pinto, which he called Treasure was his best breeding effort ever.
Maureen says "one of Terry's greatest joys in life, was teaching their girls to ride".
The next stage of his life would see Terry buy his own Bobcat and Tip Truck and start in business for himself.
Terry's Tippers is well known throughout the district - and so was he in his brown hat and orange overalls.
His willingness to take on any job and often jobs no one else would handle, a testament to why he is remembered so fondly by locals.
There would be countless customers throughout the area, eternally grateful for Terry helping them with the most difficult of jobs.
As bobcats and WHS developed over the years, more and more safety features would be added to his machinery.
It would be a continual battle for Terry to outwit the devices that his mate Mick Wray would install, to ensure he was safety compliant. But Terry always found a way in the end to work, just how it suited him.
In more recent years he worked largely from home selling firewood, again helping lots of local people who fondly recall their dealings with him, along with the yarns.
Terry's rodeo career was exceptional - he had ridden in the rodeo at Nowra Show since he was very first old enough for the poddy ride, always having Nowra Show days away from school.
He first competed in the Nowra Rodeo at the age of 13, getting first place in the wild steer ride.
He progressed on to junior competitions at shows and anything else he was eligible for after that.
His association with Bernie Quinn through polocrosse fueled his love of rodeo and Terry began competing throughout NSW and very soon at top level.
He competed in steer ride, bull ride, bareback, saddle bronc, bull dogging and "the wild horse race".
He won ribbons and trophies throughout NSW.
The highlight of his career was when he won the Australasian Championship Saddle Bronc at Sydney Show in 1979.
Later in his rodeo career Terry progressed to the sport of bull dogging and in 1983 he was selected to represent Australia in the US at the North American National Titles in Denver Colorado.
Terry had a great time over there.
He said their "steer wrestling" steers, trained to stop as soon as caught were a lot different to the wild bush steers he was used to, that kept running when you grabbed hold of them".
Terry spent many weekends at rodeos with his four girls by his side and has gifted every one of them with the same love of the sport that he had.
And now this love extends to his grandchildren too.
The incredible longevity of his career was highlighted in 2014, when at the age to 66 he took out the Australia Barrel Horse Association [ABHA] fourth division title, upstaging more than 50 competitors from around the country.
Terry was a life member of the Nowra Show Society, the Nowra Rodeo Society and the Southern Zone Rodeo Association, he was a long-time member of the Management Committee for the Worrigee Equestrian Common and a huge contributor to it.
Along with a love for fast and rough horses, Terry also had a love for fast and rough cars.
His favourite, in the early days being his GTS Torana.
He had two very severe car accidents in his early 20s, neither of which he was expected to survive.
In his most significant accident in 1969 the crash moved the Flatrock Bridge by an inch.
Terry's recovery from massive injury including severe head injuries would take years.
Seven years ago, he was diagnosed with a form of dementia that was related back to his accident, no doubt not helped by years of rodeoing before sand surfaces when you bucked out of the chute and often came off straight onto the trotting track of showgrounds.
Over the past years Terry enjoyed time at home with his family, he continued to cut and sell a bit of wood and rode his pony Treasure to South Nowra for smokes until only a couple of years ago.
Maureen, Naomi, Ellen, Fiona and Emily are grateful for the assistance of all who helped Terry and their family over this time. Maureen would like to say a particular thanks to her sister Sue, who was always on the end of the phone.
Maureen and the Girls would also like to thank the staff and nurses at Osborne House for their care and compassion, particularly in the final days before Terry's peaceful death.
Uncle Terry had a great sense of humour and his wit was sharp as a tack.
When driving through the scrubby country at Nerriga in the truck with us a while back he said. "Well at least if you buy yourself a block out here, you don't need to worry about someone coming out to steal your dirt".
He had great advice and a great way of giving it, never sounding pushy or opinionated. And he loved to have a chat.
His handshake was legendary, firm grip with an initial jolt followed by a second bigger jolt that could knock you off your feet or knock your shoulder out of its socket.
He loved a smoke and a coffee and $5 each way. He loved his four girls and his wife, Cookie and his grandchildren too.
He will be so very sadly missed but remembered vividly for the great character and true gentleman that he was.