Back in the chair

Happy 2012. After a good, restful break I am back in the Mayor’s chair and am looking forward to getting back into the key issues for Fremantle in 2012. I have no doubt that 2012 is going to be a big year for Fremantle with key debates from city centre heights, to the Kings Square revitalization; to the proposed State Government reform of local government boundaries to be among the many we shall be debating and sharing.

Before getting into the issues for the year I thought I’d start with a post that included a small photo selection of my Christmas/New Year holiday highlights:

1. Kayaking with my nephew on the lake in Boo Park as part of a Christmas Day picnic and seeing giant fish

2. Riding on a new section on the Munda Biddi mountain bike trail from Nannup to Ferguson Valley and then riding the technical trails there.

3. Having a stay-cation that included lots of gardening and collecting mulch from down the road in my electric bike towed wheel-barrow trailer.

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A sad part of my holiday was that my much loved Dad died just before Christmas after a battle with cancer.

Below is the eulogy I gave at his funeral:

When I was a kid dad was my hero. He knew more than everyone and he had bigger muscles than the Incredible Hulk.

Dad was also awesome from my kid’s perspective because he also worked at great food companies. When he worked at Beecham we always had a house stocked with endless Ribena , Lucozade, Horlics and Enos. Later he worked at Peters and I’ve never quite weened myself off the ice-cream addiction I developed.

When I was in my 20s we even had the same job one summer – stocking shelves in the baked bean aisle Stammers Palmyra supermarket on the night shift.

Dad taught me all the expected things that dad’s normally teach their sons; the value of hard work, of keeping fit, of getting a good education.

But more importantly he also taught me – through example rather than just words – the values of honesty and integrity. The importance of respecting all people, no matter who they were – especially those less fortunate than you.  He showed me the values of respect, loyalty and reliability through his treatment of everyone around him.

It was nice to read in the death notices that my dad was referred to as a gentleman. It is not a word we use much these days but it does capture a large part of the essence of my dad.

His kindness gentleness and all-round goodness was not only towards other humans but for all creatures great and small. From the German shepherds that helped define my childhood; to his care for the goldfish in his ponds; to his amazing garden on a suburban block that became a sanctuary and refuge for dozens of birds that would politely queue at his always full bird baths.

After dad’s death I’ve been surprised and reassured by the beauty and gentleness of the sadness of his passing. And that too is credit to him. Before he died he made sure that everything that needed to be said got said that there were no regrets left behind – only love and care and lots of good memories:

•           I will always remember our regular coffees on a Sunday mornings before taking a stroll along Cottesloe beach and maybe having a dip.

•           A dad who would break up my days of relentless meetings and emails with a lunch a Cully’s where we would try to solve the world’s problems.

•           His reliable and regular calls – just checking in, making sure I am Ok.

•           The newspaper clippings left at my front door highlighting what someone had written about Freo just in case I might have missed it

•           I will always remember a dad who would quietly come around and look after my neglected lawn and garden. Some of the rosemary you’ll have the opportunity of laying is only thriving today because it was watered by Dad.

Dad, I’ll always treasure our time together – even those hard last weeks sitting together choosing the songs for this funeral. I’ll treasure the fact that you made sure you told me you loved me even though it I had no doubt about it. I’ll treasure that I got to tell you that you were not only a great dad you were also a best friend.

Dad believed most of life’s ills could be addressed via a glass of milk, eating more red meat and going for a swim in the ocean – or a combination of the above. Sadly, none of these worked this last time

Dad, the world’s a better place for having you in it. You’ll leave a huge gap that no one can fill but you will also leave far more than that. You will leave a wife and three kids who new they were loved, a beautiful garden full of fish, plants and birds, and lots of good friends across a life well lived.

Thanks mate for everything. I’ll miss you.  I wish you infinite peace.

About Mayor of Fremantle Brad Pettitt's blog
City of Fremantle Mayor

2 Responses to Back in the chair

  1. Janine marshall says:

    Brad, that was beautiful. Your father sounded like an exceptional man and a true gentleman… He may have now left this world but he left us all another exceptional man and gentleman, and that’s you!!
    I, and I’m sure everyone who reads these amazing words, gives you our most heart filled condolences and we wish you to continue the fantastic work you have been doing! What a proud daddy you have 🙂

  2. Colin Nichol says:

    Condolances, Mayor Brad – you obviously chose your father wisely and well.


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