Give way

ALMOST 50 years after forming the Citizens Road Safety Association of WA, Frank Ash is ready to hand over the reins.

The Inglewood resident is approaching 90 and says he and his wife’s ill health means their time trying to badger governments into making WA’s roads safer, and cajoling motorists into driving on them more carefully, is at an end.

In fact, the association has been dormant for nigh-on a decade, and it was only after tying up some loose ends recently that Mr Ash discovered it was still incorporated. He’s on the hunt for six people who can help fire it up again.

• Frank and Joan Ash want the Citizens Road Safety Association to live on. Photo by Trilokesh Chanmugam

• Frank and Joan Ash want the Citizens Road Safety Association to live on. Photo by Trilokesh Chanmugam

At its peak, about 2000 people were on the mailing list for CRSAWA’s magazine Action.

Mr Ash came to WA to work for the national statistician on the 1966 Census and was kept on afterwards.

“My job was counting the dead and injured from accidents,” he says. “In 1968 I took it upon myself to start the Citizens Road Safety Association because while I didn’t see the horror of it, a couple of my workmates and people I knew were involved in accidents and I knew what they’d been through.”

Mr Ash’s access to the statistics meant Action was packed full of facts and figures that often irked authorities who preferred they weren’t made public. He was even investigated, but cleared, for releasing official secrets.

“When we got into driver training, we had 100 people come into Perth at a time,” Mr Ash says.

The association’s courses became so popular that Mr Ash and his wife personally invested in 90 hectares of farmland in Chidlow so they could host more people. He says national authorities lauded the courses as the best in the land, but red tape bought them to an end.

The family instead used the land for Mr Ash’s other passion; organic food production. With unusual zeal he links the two issues. The Ash family still owns the land and he’d like to see a crowdfunding appeal so it can be bought out by a recharged CRSAWA.

Anyone interested in joining and running the association can call Mr Ash on 9271 2576.

by STEVE GRANT

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