Hi, I’ve just been to the celebration of the life of John Charles Vinall OAM – they called him Jack Vinall. A fantastic eulogy by his son, Peter, who was all the way from Canada.

I met Jack Vinall as the Mayor of Morwell, back when we were doing local government reform. He was also a good friend of my wife’s uncle, Bruce Webster, and uncle Bruce Webster spoke very highly of this man I was to meet, Jack Vinall. He was an impressive man.

As I was walking out of the funeral, I was talking to Graham Middlemiss – an old friend of the council of the Latrobe Shire. Graham and I talked about the stories of Jack Vinall – the stories told of the crayfish, down in the Morwell river, the beer that was his father’s around the open fire cooking the cray fish. Of a different time, of an era of fun and family and joy; and Jack was the man, he was a skally wag, he was a born leader, he was a very, very good sportsman – football, cricket, coach, administrator, leader, leader once again – for the whole of Latrobe Valley. He knew change needed to come from the local government – he was one of the Mayors that went on to be a Commissioner with local government down in South Gippsland.

In this story it spoke to me of a different era – an era of times past, of family, fun, joy, pleasure. Of a simpler time – not the difficulty we face today and in these years. They were times when the dairy farmers did well, and Jack did well and travelled the world. He led his community beautifully throughout the whole of his life, he led his family – he was a great family man, family orientated. A simpler time when fun was had fishing for crayfish down at the Morwell River with children and rabbits, with dogs and family.

It was very important, the celebration today, because Jack was the quintessential Latrobe Valley person – part of the young farmers movement, community based, community driven, loved his community, loved everything all about it – and it reflected in the ceremony today.

I just wanted to tell Jack Vinall’s story because that was an era gone, but an era that was something very special that we don’t have today. We don’t have the families that are connected, where they all support one another. Jack laughed, Jack cried – he lost his daughter, lost his wife; which was heartbreaking for him, and he wasn’t as good in his later years. But this man made an amazing contribution in a time when Australia was far simpler, far happier I think, than this day. He was a man of great standing, and it was a great honour to be at his get together family celebration today at Kernot hall.
So, to the family, to Jack, and to everybody that was participating today, thanks for telling the stories, and thanks for the life of Jack Vinall.

That’s just as I see it.