Honouring the legacy of Mandy Press

 

 

Mandy Press (1947-2013)

 

On Sunday 13th October, we will remember the life and passion of the indefatigable and incandescent Mandy Press.

 

Mandy died in her sleep on 1 October 2013 at home at Yarambat, Victoria.

 

Mandy’s husband, Gerry Morris, provided this obituary.

 

Mandy was born in on 7 December 1947 in Brighton, and apart from three years working in New York, lived in Melbourne all of her life.

 

After training as a Social Worker at Melbourne University where she was inspired by the lectures on urban history and renewal (from Professor Renate Howe) she worked with disadvantaged people at the Clarendon clinic, and then at a centre for disturbed children in New York. She was a founding staff member of the Brotherhood of St Laurence’s experimental Family Centre Project under Connie Benn.  She then became a lecturer for the new Social Work degree course at the Phillip Institute (now RMIT) for 8 years — working with Viv McCutcheon and Wendy Weeks.   Each of these women demonstrated their vision and commitment to human justice through advocacy in the demanding of society equity and justice and introducing women’s studies.

 

Mandy’s focus then switched to policy, planning and community development through action research in local government.  She was foundation Director, Community and Cultural Services (1984-94) at Eltham Shire, including a brief period when she swapped roles with the Chief Engineer to create new approaches to resident issues.

 

Mandy then moved to the City of Port Phillip as a Senior Manager specialising in the `wicked’ problems which confound policy makers. “Sex, drugs and  parking” was her description of one part of her role.

 

Mandy managed the Port Phillip council’s community housing program for eight years and was involved in establishing 120 community housing units through four different projects, all of which were hotly contested. She wrote her Master’s thesis: Planning contested ground: place, voice and governance in local government planning – based on this experience (Melbourne University, 2009).

 

Professor Carolyn Whitzman (Urban Planning Melbourne University) remembers her thus:

 

When I first met Mandy Press, soon after my arrival in Australia in 2003, she was already sick with the cancer that would take her life. She was presenting at a conference on community safety, and her story of the transformation of Talbot Reserve was an immediate inspiration to me. Talbot Reserve is a small park, cialis generique adjacent to the National Theatre in St. Kilda. As Manager of Neighbourhood Development for the City of Port Philip, Mandy could have responded to concerns of some residents about alcohol use and prostitution in the park by bringing in police, increasing lighting, installing CCTV, or some other simplistic and ultimately ineffective approach.

 

Instead, and with the help of Andrea Cook of Red Road Consulting, she took the difficult option of treating everyone as having a legitimate voice. Together, the representatives of the `parkie’ and sex worker residents, along with other residents, worked out a partnership approach that sought to decrease anti-social behaviour while improving social inclusion. Today, Talbot Reserve is not without problems, but it is a much more used and loved public place. That was typical Mandy.

 

Mandy left full-time work in November 2005 to pursue a more relaxed lifestyle on 5 acres of bush — part of the Plenty Gorge Park at Yarrambat. This included writing her thesis, being a custodian of the flora and fauna on her (temporary) land, further research and writing, constant activism on local issues and singing in the local Hurstbridge community choir – the Chocolate Lilies – for which she always arrived late.

 

Mandy was co convenor of the Nillumbik Women’s Network, a local advocacy group which aims to further the interests of women through local action and working against violence to women.   One much loved project was the documentation and publishing of the stories and achievements of hundreds of local women.

 

Mandy was awarded the Selena Sutherland International Women’s Day award on 13th March 2013.

 

Mandy was honest about her struggles with cancer, but always maintained she was not a victim and was not “fighting it”.   At the onset of her third bout she said: “Well, I’m definitely dying this time, but the good news is, I’m not depressed about it”. Like Dorothy’s companions in Oz, she sometimes doubted her possession of a sharp mind, a big heart, and the courage of a lion. But she did possess that remarkable trifecta, and that is what made her an effective advocate for people’s rights to justice, consideration, housing and public space.

 

Mandy is survived by Gerry (Kevin) Morris, her loving and loved husband of 42 years, siblings Jeremy and Georgina, children Morgan, Magnus and Tilly, grandchildren Zoe, Atlas, Imogen and Phoenix, in-laws Brian and Renate Howe, best friends, including Gay Bilson, Tracey Naughton, Viv McCutcheon and Susie Forbes, and her beloved multi-doodle, Miffy.

 

Mandy was a strong-willed and determined person. She was still planning projects and research even as her body collapsed. She will be missed by the many friends, colleagues and organisations to whom she was a constant inspiration.

 

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++


I have my own recollections of Mandy.

 

My first encounter with Mandy Press was in the late 1980s, working together (with the late Kevin Taylor) to develop a new plan of for Eltham Town Centre. She was a gorgeous, red-haired, dynamo with a strong “alternative” streak and flowing, silky clothes. She became my client again at the City of Port Phillip, as Kelvin Walsh and I co-designed with her a manual of community engagement processes. I had never met such a passionate and collaborative manager! I know that the Kennett years almost broke her heart. She told me it nearly killed her to have to ask her librarians to tender for their jobs. And she felt that one cause of her cancer might have been her anguish at having to do things — as a manager — that she did not believe in.

 

Recently,

I reconnected with Mandy and spent a number of memorable evenings with her – and Gerry – in Melbourne, hearing about her creative exploits and marveling at her ability to “soldier on”.

 

Mandy’s approach to her illness was to keep it from getting in the way of her life – or her friends’ and family’s relationships with her.

 

So she danced the last steps of her remarkable life to the fullest – savouring the last drop of her life.

 

And we all delighted in dancing with her.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

 

A memorial gathering for Mandy will be held at the Eltham Community Centre, 801 Main Road, Eltham at 2 pm, Sunday 13th October.  

 

All her friends and colleagues are welcome.

 

Let’s give our “darling girl”, our beautiful Mandy, the send-off she deserves!

 

 

 

 

Flight Poem

On 25 May 2013, I flew to Adelaide from the Gold Coast.

I associate Adelaide with hopefulness and opportunity. I was looking forward to basking in the pleasures of old friendships once again.

 

Twin griefs had distracted me for several months: the death of a dear friend and the loss of a longstanding friendship.

 

On the flight, I had a magical experience. Here is my poem.


landscape

 




window seat 16A

pale clouds streaming

soft eyes embracing grey, brown land

my wide, brown land

late afternoon forests dark like lakes

and inlets

tiny islands of brown within them

pale edges like beaches

 

cheek pressed to the window

I measure the land below

it folds itself onto itself

precise as origami

not gentle hill-folds

 

and

then it happens:

up floats this massive, folded landscape

and enters my heart

like posting a letter

 

I raise my hand to touch it

find it already inside


 

 

Two Trees I Loved: An Anthem

At the EcoEnco retreat in Western Australia in July, I participated in a songwriting workshop. What a treat!

 

Joseph Pul© (https://soundcloud.com/joepule) and Steve Andrews (https://steveandrews.bandcamp.com/ and https://earthoceanphoto.com), both talented musicians, songwriters and guitarists, led us into the Karri forest.


They helped us write our songs and set them to music.

 

I’m waiting for Steve to arrive in September so that we can finish the job. The music. It’s in my head but I can’t write it down.

 

For now, here’s my anthem.

 


Two Trees I Loved

 

two trees I loved

nurtured and blessed

billy goat plum

watered, watered

humble young cheese tree

then tall as my cheek

saved and protected

now sheltering me

 

saved and protected

saved and protected

saved and protected

shelter, shelter

 

humble young cheese tree

tall as my cheek

saved and protected

now sheltering me

 

gratitude cheese tree

now two metres tall

shelters my garden

shelter, shelter

marking my progress

from a harsh start

saved and protected

now nurturing me

 

saved and protected

saved and protected

saved and protected

shelter, shelter

 

marking my progress

from a harsh start

saved and protected

now nurturing me

 

all of Earth’s trees

live in my heart

beg my protection

begging, begging

touching my caring

for our harsh starts

saved and protected

I’m nurturing them

 

saved and protected

saved and protected

saved and protected

nurture, nurture

 

touching my caring

for our harsh starts

saved and respected

I’m nurturing them

 

 

 

Steve Andrews  Photo: David Deeley

Steve Andrews           Photo: David Deeley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Pule  Photo: David Deeley

Joseph Pule           Photo: David Deeley

 

 

 

 

Billy goat plum Humpty Doo, 1992

Billy goat plum Humpty Doo, 1992

Billy goat plum Humpty Doo, 1992

Billy goat plum Humpty Doo, 1992

 

 

 

 

 

The Cheese Tree

The Cheese Tree

A most hopeful light

Nimbin light

We designed our bedroom to handle the light of the Australian sub-tropics. We used hundreds of CAD shade diagrams and tried to honour some basic feng shui principles. So a narrow window admits morning sun along the eastern wall. Just a glimpse, a shard of light. But in the winter (almost intentionally) the paler morning sun glances off the glass in the door opposite. It makes delicate pattens on the western wall.

I turn over to face it, greeted by sparkling. Awash with brilliance.

That light is so Australian.


But it’s not my favourite light.

Nimbin bedroom window 2013OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



Grey Vancouver

I grew up (if you could call it that) in a damp, foggy, grey place: Vancouver. My father called it “Canada’s Evergreen Playground”, an advertising term he’d heard on the radio, I think. I called it grey. Living in Norgate Park in the fifties was not what you’d call a totally pleasant experience. Vancouver was dreary. Some days there were terrible smells from the fish plant and it was always foggy.

We lived near the Inlet and I’d wake in the night to the foghorns’ mournful wail. I thought it was just a foggy place, but it was actually the smoke from the sawmills’ beehive burners. Most of the fog disappeared when the mills were torn down. But the weather was still awful.

 

hazy horizon

 

In Vancouver, it was never actually sunny. Just less grey.


We had a hundred names for rain like the Eskimos have for snow. “Just spitting” was one of those.

 

New Haven light

When I was twenty, I married (largely to escape my family, the fog and the rain) and moved to Connecticut. Different light altogether. The summers were steamy and unpleasant. And the winters: well, if your car would go, they were beautiful. Snow was always on our horizon. We had a 1952 Cadillac with all the windows stalled at half-mast.

In our first New Haven winter,   the AAA started the Green Dragon (aka the Sponge on Wheels) nineteen times. In March, they wrote to say that nineteen was enough, already. No more starts.

Winter snow was challenging in an old car.

 

But the light.

 

Oh, the light!

 

New Haven light.

 

I remember waking early on a Sunday morning and sensing that something magical had happened. The light from the kitchen window in our small apartment at 98 Edwards Street is what I remember most. Something bright, almost silver, seeping into the drab interior spaces and enlivening them.

It had snowed while I slept.

 

Bottom left: our kitchen window 50 years later

Bottom left: our New Haven kitchen window 50 years later



Children remember the silence of an overnight snowfall.

 

I remember the light.

 

Raffi’s light

Last February, I lived in Charlestown in Boston for three weeks. It was heaven. My cousin would have to be the most generous person alive: he made an entire apartment available to me, kitted out down to the napkin rings. It had everything.


I
had everything.

It was very snowy in Boston, which is one reason I had to move there.

 

I discovered, my first morning, when I wandered into Raffi’s kitchen, that it had the New Haven light: the silvery light I loved so much. I guess it’s actually New England light. But I had not seen it for nearly fifty years. To me, it’s blessed with sweet memories of hopefulness. I was twenty: my “escape” was accomplished and my new life was beginning. Nurtured by New Light.

 

Raffi's kitchen, February 2013

Raffi’s kitchen, February 2013

 

 



The unfamiliar/familiar light in Raffi’s Charlestown kitchen stopped me in my tracks. I had to sit down and consider it.

 

New Haven light.

 

The place I stayed the day before – in suburbia – had none of that light.

 

So I considered that Raffi’s light might be the product of something more: the sum of many sensations. Maybe the age of the building (1906), its design, the closeness and design of the neighbouring buildings, the shape of the window, the old glass, the old window frame, the blind, the orientation of the building, the architecture of the kitchen…

 

No matter: it was the New Haven light. I basked in it!   Sidling up to its pale luminescence, cradling my mug of tea, I felt comforted. Safe.

 

Hopeful.

Through Raffi's window

Through Raffi’s window



That got me thinking about place attachment. We’re such territorial animals, us humans. Hard-wired to love and protect our territories.

 

It might be difficult for planners to evaluate “love of light” as a place-attachment criterion. But I think it’s worth a shot.

 

For me, one beam of New England winter light is the light to have.

 

A most hopeful light.



 

 

 

“Yale Wife” No More

In February of this year, I flew to Boston to teach for a month, mainly in the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). Teaching in the GSD was a lot more intensive than Australian postgraduate planning education; the students were also an international and multicultural bunch.


The privileged Harvard student body I had witnessed in the 1960s (visiting from New Haven) was nowhere be seen.


At Tufts University, I gave a class to their planning students on community visioning, using my model called “Heartstorming”. I also gave a colloquium on “NIMBY psychology”. At MIT, I spoke to planning students about the forces that influenced my career as a social planner and my passion for community engagement. At the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard, I gave a lecture on “NIMBY psychology”, unpacking the deeper reasons behind people’ s negative responses to proposed housing density increases.


In the 1960s…

In the 1960s, I was what was called a “Yale Wife”, living in New Haven, Connecticut, in my early twenties with my Yale postgraduate student husband. It was a demeaning term (Yale College was not co-ed at that time). Wives were “non-persons”, attractive and empty-headed “appendages” in those days. Even at Yale. And that’s how I saw myself, having no real professional direction.

The "Yale Wife" 1965


The first female planning student in South Australia

When I began studying planning at Adelaide University in 1971, I was the only woman in my postgraduate course. Even though I held two degrees, I had to do an “admission assignment” that no other applying student was required to do.   (I did it.)


My then husband (an academic) was asked to sign an affidavit stating that he had not helped me with it. (He signed it.)

When I topped the planning course in the second year, the Adelaide News sent around a photographer, who asked me to pose in the kitchen, stirring a pot, to show I was still a “real woman”. (I refused.)


Adelaide News, December 1972

Adelaide News, December 1972

 

 



I have been an academic off and on over the past three decades. But always life has intervened and kept me from a full-time academic career. In 1978, I left a tenure-track academic position in Adelaide to seek my fortune in California following the break-up of my first marriage and my enduring heartbreak. I ended up teaching at Berkeley for two years.


Train to New Haven

One frosty February day, during my time at Harvard this year, I took a morning train to New Haven.

It was time to check out the chapel where I’d married my “Yale Man” 50 years before. (It was being repaired so I could not view the scene of the crime.)



I visited the Yale Library and spent afternoon in the Archives, marveling that I’d had to sneak into the library through a back door to use the stacks as I was not allowed in (as a “Yale Wife”).


A walk through deep snow along icy footpaths led me to the apartment building where we’d lived as students in the mid-sixties and it looked exactly the same.   After 50 years! Imagine!


1966 and 2013


The world’s best pizza

Before I caught the train back to Boston, I devoured the best pizza of my life in our old haunt, Frank Pepe’s Pizzeria, still operating after 80 years.

The waiter chuckled when I explained I’d traveled 17,500 miles and waited nearly 50 years for my dinner! (That was heaps better than seeing inside the chapel!)

The world's best pizza!

The world’s best pizza!

 

 

 

 

 



Gratitude

Spending a month at Harvard and lecturing at Tufts and MIT was a real thrill. No longer a “Yale Wife”, I was speaking about my own work as a practitioner.

It had been a  long journey.

And it felt marvelous.

Shame on Me: Sixto Rodriguez in Brisbane 31 March 2013

Tastatur: Sprechlasen - Blog

 

 

 

 



Sixto Rodriguez_grey

 Sixto Rodriguez

 

The whole world is enchanted by the Sixto Rodriguez story. And no wonder. It has such heart-warming and redemptive qualities. Rodriguez — and his story — touch our hearts.

 

Last night I attended his concert in Brisbane in a relatively small theatre, The Tivoli, which stands 500. Stands, not sits. Standing for some of us grey-haired ones was a challenge for nearly four hours, but we stood it. We stood up to it.

 

And we agreed it was worth it.

 

The audience was allsorts: South Africans who knew his music as the powerful voice of the anti-apartheid movement, newbies like me, Australian fans from his tours here in the 1970s. Allsorts, all ages. We sang along to the songs we knew and cheered the others.

 

We cheered him.

 

Only in Australia would you hear, “Goodonyer, Cisco!!”

 

We’re the same age, Sixto and I, though he’s had a much harder life and it shows in his face and in his needing to be helped on stage. But once he’s into it, he’s no longer 70. Or maybe he is 70.

Who knows?

 

This mystery man, peering out at us through thick glasses — and philosophising on culture, violence against women and cannabis law reform — seemed to be glowing with delight. And perhaps– we can only guess — marvelling at what has finally come of what might have been.

 

He’s reported to have remarked recently, It’s never too early and it’s never too late.

 

Lately, having just turned 70 myself, I marvel at my “elder mind”: so synergistic, multi-dimensional, creative, brave. I love my courageous mind!

 

Courage is what I saw and heard last night. You’d need that — and some special Hispanic chutzpah — to cover songs by Elvis, Bob Dylan, and Cole Porter’s “Just One of Those things” so beloved by Frank Sinatra.

 

Those three I recognised. There were more, including Midnight Oil’s “Redneck Wonderland”.

 

“Blue Suede Shoes” was a knockout!

 

Bob would have cheered (as we did) his rendition of “Like A Rolling Stone”.

 

Some of us cried.

 

I pushed my way through the crowd toward the exit as he was helped from the stage at the end of the concert. I was eagerly seeking a taxi on a rainy Easter night and worried for my Beloved, too sick to attend.

 

I confess that an ageist thought crossed my mind:

 

“He won’t have an encore in him.”

 

As I stepped into the taxi, Rodriguez’s voice with its melodic, sparkling rhythmns — came pouring through the theatre foyer, lyrics splashing through the door and onto the dark, rainwashed streets, enlivening them.

 

It was his second encore.

 

He was still singing.

 

Shame on me.

 

My friend, Andrew ‘Wilf’ Wilford

Andrew ‘Wilf’ Wilford

 

It’s unmaginable that the beautiful and indefatigable Wilf has died.

 

He was only 48, yet he had made such a huge difference to the world in his life.

 

We will bury Wilf tomorrow.

 

But he lives forever in our hearts and minds.

 

And our stories of his commitment and his passion will grow and grow.

 

I know him as an activist, a committed friend, and a co-conspirator.

 

What I value most are his empathy, his wild mind and his constant curiosity.

 

It has been said that the good die young. In the past year two dear friends, much younger than I am, have passed away. Maybe there’s a place where they are gathering — all the wild minds – to guide us into the uncharted waters that lie ahead.

 

I find it hard to imagine activism in Australia with Wilf.

 

See:

https://transitionthegrove.org.au/index.php/forum/climate-change/4652-vale-wilf-andrew-wilford

 

We all send our deepest love and support to Rosey and to the other members of Wilf’s family.

 

It must have been very hard to share him with so many of us for so many years.

 

Hopefully, our deep appreciation of the fine quality of his deep love for ALL life will help a little bit to sustain you.

 

Blessing and vale, our beloved Wilf!

 

Wendy Sarkissian

Officeworks and Reflex Paper: “I have to pay my mortgage and feed my dogs”

September 12, 2011 – 5:34 pm

 

Officeworks Lismore: a Bulletin

 

 

On Saturday I drove 72 kms. round-trip to my local Officeworks store in Lismore, NSW in the vain hope that they might have stopped stocking Reflex paper. I signed the pledge and the petition (with 11,000 others!) months ago and so far my boycott has meant that I have taken my business to others.

 

But operating a small business in a tiny village means I am reliant on some companies. And Officeworks until recently has been one of them.

 

Why is this boycott important?

 

Officeworks buys paper that is made from native forest timber. Simple as that! is well aware of the environmental costs of native forest logging – and that ready alternatives exist – but they continue to support this by stocking the Reflex range. They do this despite their own Corporate Social Responsibility policy, which states that Our goal is to fully integrate environmental responsibility into every facet of our operations by select[ing] better products for the environment.

 

Hmmm.

 

Greenwash? I wonder?

 

With the Wilderness Society, I believe that it is well past time for Officeworks to start taking their own policies seriously and to refuse to stock Reflex Paper until its producer, Australian Paper, no longer sources wood fibre from the logging of native forests.

 

So this matter was in my mind when I went into the store.

 

I was told by an embarrassed young man (who told me that he had to pay his mortgage and feed his dogs and therefore could not speak out against a policy he clearly did not agree with) that the stock of Reflex paper was new and that they were still stocking it.

 

So I asked to speak to the Duty Manager.

 

I think that Richard, who arrived after some time, had probably had enough of North Coast activists by the time I arrived.

 

But if he traced my stationery purchases over the past ten years, he’d see that not listening is not going to be good for business.

 

“Officeworks: Clean up your act” National Day of Action, 13 September 2011

 

Hopefully the day of action tomorrow (www.ethicalpaper.com.au) will help him see the error of his ways. Richard has no point of view. native forests from becoming copy paper.

 

To give Officeworks the extra motivation it needs to continue its role as a leader in paper retailing, the Wilderness Society, in partnership with environment groups across the country, are holding a National Day of Action to name and shame Reflex and Officeworks for their hand in forest destruction in Australia.

 

On the morning of 13 September, stores across the nation will be visited by troops of “janitors” telling Officeworks to clean up its act! Armed with vacuums, dustpans, sponges, and rubber gloves, volunteers will descend on Officeworks, scrubbing Reflex from their shelves. On the day, the TWS aim is to show Australian Paper and Officeworks that Australians will not stand for our precious forests being turned into office paper.

 

The “Company Man”

 

As I looked into Richard’s face, his cold eyes and unsmiling, trembling lips and listened to his hard `company’ line, I was reminded of a comic character, Twimble, “The Company Man” in a movie of my young adulthood: How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying (1961):

 

Twimble: I play it the company way;
Wherever the company puts me
There I stay.

Finch: But what is your point of view?

Twimble: I have no point of view.

Finch: Supposing the company thinks . . .

Twimble: I think so too.

Finch: Now, what would you say . . .?

Twimble: I wouldn’t say.

Finch: Your face is a company face.

Twimble: It smiles at executives
Then goes back in place. “¦

Finch: So you play it the company way?

Twimble: All company policy is by me OK.
“¦

Whoever the company fires,

I will still be here.

Finch: You will still be here.

Both: Year after year after fiscal,

Never take a risk-al year!

 

Shame, Richard. You can do better than that: But what is your point of view? I have no point of view.

 

Officeworks has already shown us they are willing to take action in this important issue when it comes to paper from overseas. Now is the time for Officeworks to keep this high standard they have set for themselves and suspend the sale of Reflex paper while it is made from the critically endangered Leadbeater’s Possum Habitat.

 

Day of Action!

 

If you believe that in this International Year of the Forests that it is simply unacceptable to woodchip and sell our native forests as Reflex paper, please join us.

 

To RSVP and for more action details please contact TWS Community Campaigner, Tri�r Murphy, on 0433010390 or by email Trier.Murphy@wilderness.org.au

 

For more information

 

https://www.wilderness.org.au/campaigns/forests/officeworks-clean-up-your-act

 

Do you need to buy office copy paper and do you also care about Australia’s forests?

 

Don’t buy any Reflex copy paper and don’t buy any copy paper from Officeworks.

 

Buy these copy paper brands (recommended by the Wilderness Society):

  • Evolve
  • Vision
  • Fuji Xerox Recycled

 

And try, as a supplier, EcoOffice (great Australian-owned company who does care about Australia’s native forests)

 

Funeral for Ross Kevin Taylor

It was standing room only in Adelaide Town Hall on Thursday morning August 18th when over 1100 people packed the historic concert hall to pay tribute to beloved landscape architect, Kevin Ross Taylor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



The grand Victorian architecture and soaring ceilings of the most majestic space in Adelaide Town Hall contrasted with displays of white spring blossoms from the Botanic Gardens, a forest of seedlings from State Flora at Belair and a beautifully simple `house’ for Kevin fashioned from Tasmanian oak by Adelaide-based master craftsman and furniture designer, Khai Liew.

 

Ashleigh Tobin OAM played the magnificent organ, with the congregation’s heartfelt singing of “Amazing Grace”, led by soloist Lauren Henderson, reverberating throughout the historic building.

 

Celebrants Geoff Boyce and Rev. Sandy Boyce, neighbours and dear friends of Kate and Kevin, officiated, lending support to those who paid tribute to Kevin.

 

Called back from Germany by Kevin’s spirit, Kaurna Aboriginal cultural bearer, Karl Winda Telfer conducted a Ceremony of Spirit for his beloved friend.

 

Tributes

 

Tributes were paid by Kevin’s brother, Ron Taylor, Wendy Sarkissian, Phil Harris, Judith Hughes, Perry Lethlean and members of Taylor Cullity Lethlean, Greg Burgess, Kevin’s daughters, Danaë and Emily Taylor, and Dom Chris of the New Norcia Benedictine monastery in Western Australia.

 

Ron Taylor

 

Ron Taylor chronicled Kevin’s early life, explaining that he had been, because of the early death of their father, like both a brother and a son to him. He offered an understanding of the man who was, in Ron’s words, “born into a conservative Christian family of very limited means.” He helped us understand that humble origins, in this case, were no impediment to greatness. His brother is, in his words, “a self-made man”: a beautiful person, no ego, no alpha male, no need for them – peace-loving, quietly but highly focussed.”


I spoke directly to Kevin, acknowledging that he lives on in our lives, our work and our love for him.


I chronicled some of his early days as my architecture student and expressed my gratitude for “a great, humble and exceptionally beautiful man.”

 

Perry Lethlean made no secret of the fact that “Kevin was our secret”: a unique, calm and quiet leader, with a moral compass with which his colleagues could connect. Perry said, “His values became our shared values without us ever realising it.”

 

Phil Harris, survivor of the accident that ended Kevin’s life on Earth, spoke of the many insights and small delights of sharing time with him, especially in the days before the accident.

 

Danaë Taylor reminded us that while he was many things to many people, Kevin always was and always will be, to her and Emily, “Our Dad”, consistently communicating his love for them in many, many touching ways.

 

Greg Burgess

For Kevin’s close friend, architect Greg Burgess, Kevin was “like a crucible ─ an intense inner alchemical fermentation always going on; of suffering, aspiration, love, transformation and healing.” He celebrated Kevin’s ability to be “intensely present” and his profound inner gratitude to be alive. Greg echoed the words of other speakers when he described “the wonderful complementarity” between Kevin and his wife, Kate Cullity, how they adored and supported each other in an atmosphere of redemptive love.

 

Kevin Taylor and Kate Cullity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 




A long personal and professional friendship nourished by many annual holidays had enriched Greg’s picture of his friend: “When working with Kevin, mystery was respected, enchantment encouraged, silence, love and grace had a place and a time.”

 

Kevin’s Dream

In the beautifully illustrated commemorative booklet was a dream recorded by Kevin a fortnight before he died:

 

Flying

 

Arms outstretched, lifting off the ground

Others flying too

Flying smoothly, gliding,

Looking down at the earth below.

It’s so easy.

 

That was the last entry in Kevin’s journal.

Tribute to Kevin Taylor from David Yencken

Kevin Taylor

 

 

Kevin Taylor came to work for Merchant Builders (a housing company that  Johnny Ridge and I had started) when he was a young man.

 

It was his first job.

 

He came with a strong personal recommendation from Wendy Sarkissian (then lecturing in Adelaide) who had taught him.

 

She has reminded me that so good was the thesis she sent me before we employed him that I asked her three times if she had helped to write it.

 

He more than lived up to her judgement of him.

 

He was a person of great flair and imagination and from the beginning had a rare ecological awareness. He was  always  interested in different ways of reaching out and working with those for whom projects and designs were being prepared.

 

His own personal qualities, his commitments, his warmth and friendliness and personal values illuminated his work.

 

I continued to have irregular contact with him over the years and am greatly saddened by his death.

 

To  Kate and  his family and to all those at Taylor Cullity Lethlean, I send my deepest condolences.

 

 

david_yencken_234_lecturer_melbourne_university_N2

David Yencken, Melbourne

 

Email: dyencken@ozemail.com.au