I make a very brief contribution to finish off this week and to recognise a giant of the community of Cessnock, Mr Brian Davey, who unfortunately passed away this week. Brian arrived in Cessnock some 60 years ago with his wife. They were both schoolteachers and went on to become principals of local primary schools, serving more than 60 years in the local area. Indeed, they had a local business that continues to educate young people in our area. When Brian arrived in Cessnock he was a young cricketer and Rugby League player, and he went on to give the rest of his life to Rugby League in our area. Although I said that he gave a lifetime to Rugby League, I probably should have said that he gave two lifetimes because of the length of his ongoing service.
Brian was the voice of Rugby League whenever you went to Cessnock sportsground. He was the ground announcer who made all the important comments and statements during the games and he kept those watching up to date with the scores. Brian Davey was also a lifelong member of the Lions Club and received various awards for his long-term service there. Brian wrote as a columnist in our local newspaper, the Cessnock Advertiser. He wrote under the name “The Shadow” for more than 40 years, and his identity was a complete secret to the community until his retirement from that column just three years ago.
I had the good fortune to be taught by Brian as a nine- or 10-year-old student in year 3, and then as an 11- or 12-year-old in year 6. As a schoolteacher, Brian had a life-changing effect on me. He taught me a lot about being a man, being respectful, having fun while learning and being open to, and aware of, the broader community and the world. In my inaugural speech I mentioned three schoolteachers who had had a significant role in the development of Clayton Barr, and Brian Davey was one of those teachers. At the 2011 election, I ran against Brian Davey’s wife, Alison. Alison was then the Mayor of Cessnock and she was also a member of The Nationals. I send my deepest regards, sympathies and respect to Alison, not just because of the work that you have done but because you have lost this giant of a man, who Cessnock has been so fortunate to have in our community for so long. Vale Brian Davey.