Farewell Malcolm Hole

David Braithwaite

MALCOLM Hole was remembered as a loving father and grandfather, as well as a man passionate about his community, at his funeral on Monday.

The former Wellington Shire mayor, who died on April 10, aged 76, was farewell during a funeral service at St Michael’s Catholic Church, Heyfield.

The Requiem Mass was attended by family, friends, council colleagues, state MPs and members of organisations Cr Hole had been a part of.

Malcolm Gerard Hole was born September 30, 1944, in the Royal Women’s Hospital, Melbourne, the eldest of four children born to Rosina and Darrell Hole.

Malcolm lived his early years lived in Moe before the family moved to Bairnsdale when he was eight.

He won a scholarship, based on Latin, to study at St Joseph’s, Geelong, where he was elected a prefect and was a noted debater.

He also enjoyed playing football and A grade cricket.

From 1964, Malcolm worked for stock and station company Dalgety across east Gippsland and north-east Victoria.

It was while working for Dalgety in Wangaratta that Malcolm met Carmel on a blind date.

They hit it off immediately and nine months later, announced their engagement, marrying in 1968.

Malcolm’s connection to the local area began in 1970, when he transferred to the Dalgety’s office in Maffra.

In 1977, he opened his clothing store in Heyfield, which he operated for 32 years.

Malcolm was first elected to Wellington Shire Council in 2000, and was re-elected for a seventh term last year. He was elected mayor in 2002 and 2006 and deputy mayor in 2019.

Before working in local government, Malcolm was a water and sewerage commissioner for almost 17 years and was chairman when four authorities were amalgamated.

Malcolm was a member of the Municipal Association of Victoria and other local government bodies, a founding member of Timber Towns Victoria and was its president of nine years, and was also president of the National Timber Councils Association for a decade. He was life member of Apex and district councillor.

During the funeral service, daughter Bernadette Burton recalled a loving father who instilled a positive work ethic in his children.

“Dad was always there to take us to events when we were growing up, and with five of us, life was busy,” she said.

“Whether it was basketball, football, cricket, tennis, cycling, music or school events, dad got us to where we needed to be.”

To say Malcolm enjoyed the previous 21 years on council “would be an understatement”, Bernadette said.

“Dad always had the community in mind, particularly Heyfield,” she said.

“He was a big advocate for the timber industry, not just in Heyfield, but in other timber communities throughout Victoria.

“His depth of knowledge and commitment to projects ensured that he was highly successful at what he did.

“I think we are only realising now just how much of a positive impact that dad had.

“We are all so proud of his achievements and the respect that people had for him.”

Bernadette said her father had “left very big shoes to fill” in the community.

“Your knowledge, passion, determination, dedication and cheeky sense of humour will be missed greatly by many, however, the one position that can never be replaced is in our family,” she said.

“You have had many titles over the years, but I think the one you hold most proudly is dad and pa.” Mayor Garry Stephens felt Malcolm was the “father of Wellington Shire for all the years that he served on the council”.

Cr Stephens read a letter from Local Government Minister Shaun Leane, who expressed sympathies on behalf of the state government.

“Cr Hole’s dedication to his local community ensure their voices were heard,” Mr Leane wrote.

“The values Cr Hole stood for were admirable, particularly his passion for community service and advocacy for timber communities, and will have a lasting effect.”

In his spare time Malcolm enjoyed experimenting with cooking, often using produce from his garden. Malcolm’s wife Carmel predeceased him in 1997, after losing her battle with cancer.

He leaves behind five adult children – Michele, Damien, Christopher, Bernadette and Danielle – and 15 grandchildren.