On Monday last week in Cloncurry, an icon from the golden era of Mount Isa Mines, was farewelled, with dignity and celebration. Coming from Mount Morgan, Vic Stampton was well-versed in the mores and mechanics of mining communities and had all the personal attributes to liven up this remote city in the 1960s.
Vic and good friend Cliff Jones soon became the pivotal point for parties – the go-to guys who could bring gatherings to life. When Vic and Cliff joined the staff mess, there was sure to be dynamite happening. They acquired the names “Mad Dog” and “Bones”.
Vic’s dynamo was harnessed in many acclaimed leading roles in MITS stage productions. He was adored for bravado, cheekiness and irreverent sense of fun. Stories abound of Vic testing the limits of fate in extra-curricular activities – one involved walking on top of a moving train carriage.. perhaps a regular occurrence in India, but certainly a dangerous antic in Australia. The camaraderie knew few limits but there were young lives that needed to be lived to the full.
He was much loved socially and talented in his work with Rock Mechanics at MIM. In later years Vic was able to fashion unique farewell presents for those leaving the Isa. The base for a lamp he gave to my husband, Bill Perkins, was Vic’s creativity, and the leadlight was the perfect fit to remind us of our spirit country. Working for Felix Leahy, Vic earned the respect of all: his irrepressible energy and optimism lifted any environment.
He showed his kindness intervening outside the Buffs Club a few years back. Two young guys were sparring and Vic tried to diffuse the situation. He was viciously attacked by these brothers and his eyesight was impacted severely. Virtually blinded in one eye, and the other one compromised, Vic struggled with his vision. He had to give away his licence recently ending his independence but he bore no malice – Vic’s mission was always to help others.
Vic was always drawn back to the North-West. He spent a lot of time with his friend, Bob MacDonald, at “Brightlands” so it was natural that Vic would “retire” there, living out in the peace and quiet of Malbon Railway Station house.
Vic’s life parallels the life of the Isa, with MIM.. As a buoyant, energetic, enlivened company, MIM was the toast of the nation. Vic was a giant in harnessing the energy and optimism of the young professionals who descended on Isa from around the world. Rest in peace, Vic. His legacy is his children and grandchildren: Megan, Haydee (with Charlie) and Jake (with Leo).