10 July 2015

I would like to dedicate this column to Cessnock City Councillor Jeff Maybury who sadly passed away last Monday evening. I’m sure many in our community will be in attendance at Jeff’s funeral today. I will be standing proud and remembering the tireless work of my fellow Councillor and all that he gave to our community during his 35 years on Council.

Jeff was the longest serving Councillor here at Cessnock and was renowned for always lending a helping hand to those in the community who needed it most. A Ward C Councillor, Jeff was often referred to as the ‘Mayor of Weston’, having lived in the Weston/Abermain area for most of his life. I worked alongside Jeff for 16 years and he was so passionate, especially about the Tidy Towns movement and helping people less fortunate. Over his time he saw significant changes in local government and his historical knowledge of Council was invaluable to us.  

Besides his Council work, he was very active with the St Vincent de Paul Society. The father-of-two was president of the Weston RSL Sub Branch and was committed to helping the Tidy Towns movement. Jeff saw many projects he supported come to fruition over the years including the construction of the Multipurpose Centre and restoration of old Council chambers at Greta. He was also a long-time advocate for the general maintenance and improvement of Chinaman’s Hollow/Peace Park at Weston.  

Jeff and his wife Pat celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary earlier this year. Throughout his life, he worked as a telephone technician operator, fireman and a coal miner. He was a life member of the Australian Labor Party. My thoughts are with Jeff’s wife Pat and children Karen Jurd and Justin Maybury at this sad time.  

Thank you to everyone in the community who supported NAIDOC Week during last week’s celebrations. NAIDOC week is an annual celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and provides an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australian in various fields. It was pleasing to see such a full calendar of events across our local government area. The Barkuma Neighbourhood Centre Day and Black Creek Aboriginal Corporation NAIDOC dinner dance were two highlights for me this year. Thank you to those in the community who organised events, job well done. If you missed out on attending a NAIDOC week event, there are still two fabulous free exhibitions at the Cessnock Regional Art Gallery on display until late July.

Congratulations to Newcastle Jockey Club on last week’s annual tradition of the Jungle Juice Cup. I was fortunate enough to see our local champ and Cessnock City hall of famer jockey Robert Thompson ride out the winner Youthful King to make it 11 Jungle Juice Cup wins. The horse made it his third Jungle Juice Cup victory and local trainer Jeremy Sylvester’s eighth. The support of local sponsors is fantastic as it keeps this Cessnock tradition alive.