Vale Brian Ahearne. I do not remember whether it was Neil or Isabel Trease who said to me, ‘You should come out to Lyrebird Walk to see what’s going on—what the men are doing out there.’ I did that, and when I arrived at Lyrebird Walk apparently Parks Victoria had closed the park. Brian Ahearne had decided to go out every Wednesday and start to clean up so that people could start to use Lyrebird Walk again. Neil Trease went with him, with the support of his wife, Isabel, and that is how the Wednesday Warriors started. When I met them, I went out there and saw what they were doing in the park—how they we rehabilitating the park, the weeds, the bridges, the walks, everything—and I called them the Wednesday Warriors. They went from two to four to six to eight to 10—how many of them there are now, I am not sure. The member for Charlton said before, ‘Men don’t talk face to face, they talk shoulder to shoulder.’

We arrived at the Mirboo North Memorial Hall on Friday because of the sad passing of Brian Ahearne, and I saw the Wednesday Warriors there. They were putting out more and more and more chairs because people were arriving and arriving and arriving. Their son spoke beautifully of their father. His daughter was there for support. Their grandchildren spoke beautifully.

I was asked by the Wednesday Warriors to come and join them and speak about Brian. After we had been to Lyrebird Walk that day and saw the work that they were doing and tasted Brian’s beautiful gourmet sandwiches and morning tea—he was a marvellous cook—I hopped in the car and I said, ‘I reckon I know that guy. I reckon I know him. I don’t know how.’ I did not know him, until Phil Toovey got up the other day at the service, and it twigged. When I was active in disability services 30 years ago, so was Brian Ahearne. I remembered him for all those days. I said in my address that people with disabilities are better off for the fact that Brian Ahearne lived. Men, in the Mirboo North area particularly, are better off because Brian Ahearne lived. The community in general—the swimming pool and all the other organisations that he was in—were better off because Brian Ahearne lived his life. That is why there were so many people gathered at Mirboo North to celebrate his life. And I do mean celebrate his life. Vale Brian Ahearne, a man of the people.