I’m flattered and stoked at the invitation to talk (for only a few minutes) about a mate I have known for nearly 50 years. I knew him well and he taught me heaps.
Tharwa – a district with a complete range of skills – centre of the intellectual universe – especially Friday nights!
The last three verses of Vals’ poem “Mans Cruelty to Nature” that he wrote in 2003.
City proud of trees amidst the homes, spread through the fields,
A place of pure bush-beauty should not expect such tragedy,
That thrust this town with vicious fear into a firebrand battlefield
Surely we were let down by such a feat of foolish travesty?
I wander now through black, bent, lonely, twisted trees,
Where as a child I savoured many misty moments here,
Still; eerie now, no urgent rustling movement through the leaves,
Fools have stolen sounds of chirping vibrant birds I held so dear.
Can the scars of gaping wicked wounds to nature’s precious folds,
Be ever salved and lessons learnt from man’s short sightedness,
Or will the blessed autumn rains bring life’s beauty to behold,
To hide human frailty beneath the newborn forest’s ruggedness?
As a tribute to the late Mr Val Jeffery, we decided to republish his inaugural speech to the Legislative Assembly (ACT) – 2nd August 2016.
MR JEFFERY: Twenty-odd years ago we believed that the ACT was grown up and ready for self-government. I was one of those who held that belief and I voted for its introduction. I am afraid as I look back that we were kidding ourselves. Sadly, the circus of its introduction has basically extended over 20 years to this day as maturity has not become the mantra of central quality experience. I am just so disappointed as we expected so much and deserved better.
I was born in the Depression and spent my childhood in the shadow of the Second World War and steeped in reality. Although only five years old I remember vividly the declaration of war as I walked into the kitchen at the shop where I was raised and where my mother was ironing and listening to the Prime Minister on the radio when his sad words fell out that “Great Britain has declared war on Germany, and as a result we are at war.” The frightening, sad look on my mother’s face said it all; her shock and despair as much as to say, “Not again”. I can never forget that sadness in her eyes…
Tharwa’s unofficial mayor Val Jeffery had one wish for his send-off following his death last week (18 July 2017): just a plain, simple graveside service at the Queanbeyan Lawn Cemetery.
No-nonsense and no-fuss, just like the man himself. But he could never have stopped hundreds of people turning out on Wednesday to honour his decades of service to the village, bushfire management and rural heritage.
Greg had a lifelong involvement with the bush fire brigade.
He was at the very first meeting in the old town to form the Adaminaby Brigade in 1940.
In later years Greg was involved in the Hume Snowy Bushfire Protection Scheme and District Bushfire Committee, where many debates were held about hazard reduction.
Greg proved that he was always able to get his point across in his quiet diplomatic manner and Senior Rangers from the National Park always held him in high regard.
The entire service is saddened by the news that Deputy Captain Paul Sanderson has passed away.
Paul was battling a blaze when he suffered what was believed to be a heart attack.
Our thoughts are with family and friends.
This article is republished as a tribute to Laurie Norton who passed away on Wednesday 18th March 2015. Laurie created the article for the April 2009 edition of the VFFA Magazine.
Laurie was a foundation member of the VFFA and our first treasurer. When Laurie spoke everybody listened. He was a man of great knowledge and conviction. He will be sadly missed.
“If only these people could work with nature – not against it… It is no longer an open pristine alpine area, but a mutilated jungle”