Monday, 2 April 2012

Tribute to Harold George Mackrell

Harold George Mackrell OAM

26-1-1924 – 1-4-2012

Harold George Mackrell OAM died peacefully on Sunday 1st April, 2012. He leaves a legacy of community service, strengthened international bonds and remarkable friendships. He will be remembered with deep affection by the many overseas students to whom he was mentor and friend. 

His life of public service involved him in both political and social spheres; he served as Mayor of Fitzroy City Council. He was active in the Australia Asia Association, St Luke’s Anglican Church, Friends of Merri Creek, Fitzroy Historical Society and Fitzroy Bowling Club.

A scholarship for Indigenous students is to be established at the University of Melbourne in his name. In accordance with Harold’s wishes there will be no public memorial or funeral service and in lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to Sunrise Children’s Villages.

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The Mackrell family mourns the loss of Harold, brother-in-law, cousin, uncle and family elder. 

Harold was held in deep affection by his close and extended family for his kindness, humour and the depth of his generosity and affection. He was a loving son and a fun companion to his cousin Evelyn in childhood; devoted to his sister Shirley and brother Roy their children Mark and Fiona and his wider family.  

He accepted everyone with equal generosity, to our family he introduced wayfarers, the lost and lonely, eminent politicians and war heroes, high ranking international government ministers, intellectual and spiritual giants and gave us loving friends. 

It is typical of him that he gave everything of himself to the extent that he has donated his body to medical science and wanted no funeral or memorial service.  

He enriched our lives and gave us a model of a truly good man. It was a privilege for all of us to be related to him.  We will all grieve his passing, he will be deeply missed by family: sister-in-law Marie Mackrell, nephew Mark Skelton, niece Fiona Mackrell, grandnieces Ella Bentley-Skelton and Charlotte Hutson, cousin Evelyn Smedje and family.

The family wishes to sincerely thank the special friends who maintained their visits and contacts with Harold over the last two years, Bai Ming, Lia Yin, Anna Hooi and Bob Sims for their devotion, and the management and staff of Westgarth Aged Care Facility for their dedication and compassion. 

Saturday, 31 March 2012


Harold served in the Second World War as an army medic and spent his 21st birthday in New Guinea. He had a life long interest in science and after the war studied at Melbourne University. Harold commenced his working career with the Dept of Air.  In 1956, he moved to the Australian Taxation Office until he retired in January 1984. 

Whilst a full time career public servant, he also fully committed his spare time to several other causes. 

Harold was a founding member of Fitzroy History Society since its formation 27 years ago. He retired as its Treasurer in 2009.  He is also a life member of Friends of Merri Creek, and spent several years as an active member contributing to improvement of the Creek.

He started sharing his house with Asian students in 1962 and this arrangement continued till 2010.  As a result of this sharing, Harold has became an active member of a number of Asian Friendship organisations, including being on the executive committee of the Australian Asian Association.  On Australia Day, 26 January 2002, he was presented with a special gift by the Chinese Consulate to honour his care of Chinese students for over 40 years and for his work with the Chinese community.

Harold was elected a Councillor with Fitzroy City Council and served as a Councillor from 1973 to 1976, and from 1979 to 1982, and was elected to the role of Mayor in 1982.

On Australia Day 2002, Harold was awarded City of Yarra Citizen of the Year for 2002. 

In the same year, on the Queens Birthday (10 June 2002),  Harold was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.  This award was for his work in the Fitzroy community – helping youths, the needy, the elderly, the unemployed, homeless people and overseas students.

Friend and family are welcome to leave tributes and comments below.