Farewell to a true gentleman

October 04, 2017

Terry Hogan (pictured) will forever be remembered as a passionate councillor and rice pioneer, who always worked hard for his community.

The long time Jerilderie councillor and mayor, regional councils leader, Water4Food campaign champion and former SunRice chairman lost a lengthy battle with multiple myeloma last Wednesday night. He was 76.

The commitment Terry put into the effort in his public life was only overshadowed by his commitment to his family life.

He and Heather have three sons — Scott, Brett and Matthew. They also have six grandchildren — Thomas, Madeline, Georgia, Corey, Abbey and Bree.

For Scott, his father’s passion for the rice industry was inspiring.

He said his father helped to ‘‘save the Australian rice industry’’ through his role with SunRice during the decade long drought through the 2000s.

‘‘Dad followed his own father’s footsteps and wanted to make the rice industry better, which he did,’’ Scott said.

‘‘Right up until the 2003 drought, we only ever purchased rice in Australia. They (SunRice) then had to make the decision to buy rice from throughout the world and that’s what they did.

‘‘They also shut three of the six mills down which was a very hard thing to do, but without those two things I don’t think the rice industry would be here today.

‘‘I feel proud that he helped save the rice industry,’’ Scott said.

Terry was a SunRice board member for 17 years, serving as its chair from 1996 to 2001.

Highly respected in the industry and across the Riverina for his fight for water, he was a long-serving director of the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia and Coleambally Irrigation.

He also served as Chairman of the Rice Cooperative Research Centre.

Current SunRice chair Laurie Arthur said during Terry’s time as SunRice chairman, his leadership was instrumental in driving change that underpinned the company’s transformation from a rice processor to a globally competitive food export business.

He instigated the restructure to deliver a commercially skilled board to best support and serve the company, while harnessing the information and analysis capabilities of SAP business resource technology to improve company performance and returns to growers.

‘‘It was an honour to know Terry, who I greatly respected for his leadership and support, not just for myself but for many current and future rice industry leaders,’’ Mr Arthur said.

‘‘Terry undoubtedly played an integral role in driving the success of SunRice and the Australian rice industry and both will be indebted to his significant contribution.

‘‘He will no doubt be sadly missed by the rice industry and those who had the privilege of knowing and working with Terry during his time with SunRice.’’

Terry was also well known throughout the Jerilderie and Coleambally communities for his long service to the former Jerilderie Shire Council.

First elected to serve in 1971, he held a seat on the council until May 2016 — when the proclamation to merge Jerilderie and Murrumbidgee shires into Murrumbidgee Council was handed down.

While announcing his retirement from local government at that time, Terry continued to serve the people of the combined council on its Local Representative Committee.

During his time as a Jerilderie councillor, Terry served three terms as deputy shire president and three terms as shire president.

He was then re-elected to the top council role — by then renamed mayor — in 2004 and retained the position until 2014.

Terry was also a local government champion for the entire region, serving as Riverina Regional Organisation of Council’s chair and then as the inaugural chair of the merged Riverina and Murray Regional Organisation of Councils from 2005.

Holding that regional role until the merger in May last year, Terry was the leader of 18 representative councils across NSW.

It was through RAMROC that Terry also launched the Water4Food campaign, to educate politicians and the wider community on the role water had in producing the world’s food.

RAMROC chief executive officer Ray Stubbs said it was an extension on his role as a food producer, and was a chance for Terry to showcase his passion for both the rice industry and community resilience.

Serving on council with Terry since 1977, former Jerilderie Shire councillor Laurie Henery said he always enjoyed his time with the popular councillor.

‘‘Terry was elected in 1971 and I was elected in 1977, so we went right through to the end (of Jerilderie Shire) together,’’ Mr Henery said.

‘‘He was excellent to work with; we rarely disagreed on anything.

‘‘Terry always saw the shire as a whole. Even though we were elected through wards, he never had a bias for his ward or a prejudice against other wards.

‘‘Terry recognised local councils as the first tier level of government, because he knew what people were thinking and talking about.’’

Murrumbidgee Council general manager Craig Moffitt, who was general manager of Jerilderie Shire, said Terry was a ‘‘true gentleman’’ and ‘‘fierce community advocate’’, and would be sadly missed.

‘‘Terry was an extremely passionate man, whose contribution to his community was exceptional,’’ Mr Moffitt said.

‘‘He was someone with a progressive mind and a real desire to make a difference.’’

In her tribute to Terry, his Jerilderie Shire leader predecessor and now Murrumbidgee Council mayor Ruth McRae described him as a ‘‘unique individual’’ who was also a ‘‘visionary and realist’’.

‘‘Terry was always ambitious for not only our part of the world, but regionally and nationally. He was passionate about everything he involved himself in.

‘‘He was a terrific leader and had the ability and humility to surround himself with like minded people who could make things happen.’’

Terry’s commitment to the local government sector was rewarded in 2013 when he received the NSW Local Government Association’s Commitment and Service to Local Government Award and again when he was bestowed the title of Emeritus Mayor in 2016.

He also received an Outstanding Service Award for 45 years contribution to local government.

In an interview with the Southern Riverina News when announcing his retirement from local government in 2016, Terry explained that his time as a councillor was the perfect fit for him.

‘‘I felt being a councillor was one of the most noble things to get involved in,’’ he said in the interview.

‘‘You need to have the passion to make your community a better place for you and your family, to live and to work.’’

Terry’s commitment to both local government and the rice industry was honoured nationally, when he was made a member of the Order of Australia (AM) in the Australia Day honours list.

Terry’s funeral service is today at 11am, at the Coleambally Catholic Church.

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