The undercover area at Nanango Showgrounds was packed on Friday afternoon for a public memorial service to honour former Nanango Shire Mayor  Reg McCallum OAM
Reg McCallum OAM

March 8, 2024

“We’ve Done Us Proud” … the Slim Dusty classic echoed across the Nanango Showgrounds on Friday afternoon at the start of a memorial service for the late Reg McCallum, OAM.

The words should have been “You’ve Done Us Proud”, as memories were shared of the former Nanango Shire mayor who died on January 24 aged 97.

Reg had a private, family funeral however he had touched so many lives over so many years that it was decided a public service should also be held.

The fact the Nanango Showgrounds’ undercover area was packed on Friday was a tribute to how well-respected Reg McCallum was in the local community.

Friends, former colleagues and family travelled from afar for the event.

Former Nanango resident Liz Caffery, who prepared a slide presentation, summed Reg up: “He was a remarkable man who lived a remarkable life”.

She recalled his passion for local history and his desire to honour Nanango’s pioneer story.

Liz recounted Reg’s school days at Grindstone and his mustering – using horses and dogs – on the family property ‘Glen Elgin’.

In fact, Reg’s love of horses shone across the afternoon… whether it was campdrafting, droving bullocks or his involvement with the Nanango Race Club.

Reg was intensely proud of the fact his grandfather Pat McCallum – or rather, his grandfather’s horse ‘Pilgrim’ – won the first Nanango Cup, back in 1869 when the races were held at Steamer Lagoon.

That cup is now a prize family possession.

Liz also paid tribute to Reg’s late wife Edna, who died in 2021 after 70 years of loyal devotion to her husband. The couple was married in 1951.

Edna was Reg’s backstop throughout his career, both on the farm and in the Council Chambers.

Reg was selected to fill a vacancy on Nanango Shire Council in 1968. He was re-elected at the next poll and became Shire Chairman in 1976 – a role he held until amalgamation in 2008, becoming Australia’s longest serving mayor.

Liz said it was mostly through the efforts of Reg and his fellow lobbyists that the Tarong Power Station came to Nanango rather than Millmerran.

It was also through his efforts that the Linville to Blackbutt section of the former railway line was converted into a trail.

Reg was enthusiastic about the Brisbane Valley Rail Trail and formed the BVRT Ambassadors group, a fact recalled by another speaker, Bob Howe.

Reg’s cousin, Des McCallum, described the former mayor as a “husband, father and mentor to us all” who always threw his “considerable drive” behind projects which he thought would be beneficial to Nanango.

Former Nanango councillor Barry Green, who compered the memorial, also paid tribute to Reg’s work after the Nanango Race Club was reformed.

Reg served as the club’s president from 1970-76, and was still patron of Nanango Race Club at his death.

Related articles:

Des McCallum with master of ceremonies Barry Green … Des shared memories about his cousin from the podium and also read a poem, “Close The Gate”
Former Nanango resident Liz Caffery with Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington … Liz paid tribute to Reg McCallum with a slide presentation and prose


One Response to "Reg, You’ve Done Us Proud"

  1. Whilst not wanting to be seen to be disputing Liz Caffery’s facts in her tribute to Reg McCallum at his Public Service as Reg was a great advocate for the Shire of Nanango and a friend to all, including the Smith family.

    People might be interested to know about my father, L.G.W. Smith, CBE. He was elected to Wondai Shire Council in 1945 as a Town Division Councillor, Division 4 for 3 years.

    He was elected Chairman of the Shire of Wondai in 1948. He served as Chairman until illness forced him to retire in 1982. He served 34 years as Chairman of the Shire of Wondai.

    Maybe he is Australia’s Longest Serving Shire Chairman (Mayor)?

    Gil Smith

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