Adjournment Speech: Vale Trevor Davies
I rise today to mark the very sad passing of Trevor Davies. Today a community - a community in the truest sense - gathered at Pitt St Uniting Church to bid farewell to Trevor Edward Davies. At the young age of just 55, Trevor died on 14 June 2011 of a heart attack.
His devastated family spoke of a beloved brother and an uncle for whom they cherished.
A man quick with a joke and a long and infectious laugh.
They told how as a teenager he had tried to revive his father after a fatal asthmatic attack.
They told of his undying love for his mother.
A man who always had something interesting to say - just as he was always able to listen to the stories of others.
They told how Trevor wagged school to listen to the federal election and started his first newspaper at high school .
A man whose faith was unshakeable and whose care for others unbounded.
His friends talked of Trevor as the man who knows everyone.
A man who involved himself in the community of Darlington, Chippendale and Redfern in a way that knitted people together.Someone who enriched everyone by the simple act of reaching out to others and bringing them together to work for the common good of their own community.
His friends talked of someone who truly loved his neighbours as he loved himself.
Trevor Davies was the founder and co editor of The South Sydney Herald. The South Sydney Herald started life as the local newsletter of the local Labor Party with a distribution of 5000 one page photocopies. Trevor, in partnership with the South Sydney Parish of the Uniting Church grew this little newsletter into a full colour, 16 page, independent newspaper produced every month and delivered to 22,000 households.
It is made by the community for the community. Every month over 450 hours of volunteer work go into producing it. Trevor's death has been described as leaving a Trevor sized hole at the Herald. I am however confident that the community built around the South Sydney Herald will be able to continue this unique and vital community publication.
Trevor Davies was an elder of the South Sydney Uniting Church, the Founder of REDWatch, a management committee member of a number of local community organisations including South Sydney community transport and the Settlement.
He even managed to become the Protestant vice president of the Erskineville St Vincent de Paul Society.
For Trevor Davies faith and politics were two sides of the same coin. Trevor had been the Secretary of the Darlington Branch of the Labor Party for more years than anyone can remember. Trevor worked for Labor at every local, state and federal election for the last 30 years.
He was committed to Labor in the finest of traditions. While his commitment was rock solid this did not mean that his support was unconditional.
Trevor encouraged debate, he was prepared to be inclusive of others - even if they were not members or indeed supporters of the Labor Party.
Trevor was fearless in his pursuit of what he considered was the right thing for his community - be it a compassionate approach to refugees, the need for a local community centre or indeed fixing a street chair so people in his community could rest on their way to the shops.
One of the great contributions Trevor made was his passionate campaign to gain government support for the redevelopment of the Block in Redfern. The Pemulwuy project he fought for alongside the Aboriginal Housing Company is now a reality.
He unashamedly backed the underdogs and spoke out at injustice when he saw it.
I would like to share one of my favourite quotes from Trevor. He said this when we was a candidate for the City of Sydney in 2008.
"The great thing about working class people is that you can't piss on them from up high"
His Labor family will miss him terribly.
One of his oldest and dearest friends, Dorothy McRae-McMahon wrote this poem.
For Trevor - The local legend
There he was,
in his favourite café,
with life unfolding around him,
engaging with everyone as they passed
and sharing the latest.
And then he was gone,
as suddenly as a bright red autumn leaf
falling off a tree in the wind.
We looked around,
unable to imagine life without him,
he who knew everyone
and gathered us all together in his knowing.
Plod, plod, plod, he went,
pulling his trolley behind him
as he delivered his papers to the community
and kept checking
to see that we all did the same with our bundles.
Then he was mixing with
the state and country's leaders,
standing on the ground for what he believed,
a faithful representative
of his Party and the people.
"Do you vote Labor?" he asked the doctors
in the hospital emergency ward.
"Jesus loves you anyway" he reassured them
as they wondered what to say.
Such a mixture of determination
and vulnerability he was.
and yet a man of the people.
Such love and passion you leave behind you,
No-one can replace you,
but maybe your kindly spirit
will travel on among those who have known you.
Rest in peace, dear friend.
Jesus does indeed love you forever,
and so do we.
Vale Trevor Davies