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Remembering Tom Guthrie

Vera & Tom Guthrie
Vera & Tom Guthrie

I’m sad to record the passing of Tom Guthrie, peacefully in Berry, NSW on 6 April.

Tom was a great spirit, a man’s man. Growing up tough in Yorkshire in the 1930s, he made his way out to Rhodesia, where he raised his family in the sun. When it came time to leave Zimbabwe, the family followed many others to a new life in Australia, which is where I met him.

He and his wife Vera stood in loco parentis to me and Stephania during our years in Australia. Christmas wasn’t Christmas if it didn’t finish with a singalong.

I last saw Tom in 2001, taking my mum on the tour of Oz she’d long wanted. We went looking for dolphins on Jervis Bay, then swam with Tom from the fine white sand of Green Patch beach.

I’ll miss Tom’s hard-won optimism and good cheer. I won’t sing with him again, but his voice still echoes in my memory. It was a privilege to know him.

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