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Vale Bob McKinnon

October 26th, 2021Vale Bob McKinnon

SILENCE fell over the small town of Clunes last Tuesday in a beautiful farewell for town stalwart Bob McKinnon. A small family service ended in a community event that some locals have described as a once in a lifetime moment.

SILENCE fell over the small town of Clunes last Tuesday in a beautiful farewell for town stalwart Bob McKinnon.
A small family service ended in a community event that some locals have described as a once in a lifetime moment.
Townspeople gathered along the main street of the historic town, shops closed their doors momentarily, the Australian flag flew at half-mast at the RSL, while a lone piper lead the funeral procession through the streets.
Bob McKinnon was 61 years old. He was known and loved by his community – evident in the hundreds of people that formed a guard of honour.


Two weeks ago, this incredibly talented sculptor, writer, poet, motorbike enthusiast, a local member of a band, the Clunes Lodge, the RSL and all-round great bloke, died unexpectedly while out test driving a customer’s motorbike.
For his daughter Kodie, the shock for her family is something she said they will never get over. But the outpouring of emotion from this close community is something she will never forget.
“Words can’t describe what it meant to our family to have the community come out and show us how much he was loved and respected. Both sides of the street were lined with people. It was simply beautiful and overwhelming. He meant so much to so many people and for my family, it meant the world to us,” she said.


“My mum Lyn has lost her soulmate. Lyndon and I have lost our father. We grew up having a dad tell us that he could never make decisions for us but would always be there when we needed him. He was an incredible role model, an inspiration and lived by the motto, just be kind. Just help others.”
Bob’s sister Nola Brewer publicly thanked the community for its outpouring of emotion and good friend Dave Reynolds said Clunes has lost a friend to all.
“It didn’t matter what he was doing or where he was going, he always had time for a chat. He did so much for many different groups, was such an ally to the local Men’s Shed, was a brilliant artist and poet and involved in so many different community groups. He will be missed terribly. We were both motorbike enthusiasts and he spent a lot of time on my bike so I will have him with me,” Dave said.
While Dave said he feels the spirit of the Clunes township and its tight knit community, he was “simply blown away” by Bob’s send off.
“I’ve never seen anything like it. There were people from all walks of life, mothers, children, farmers, artists, poets and our local councillor was there. His legacy will live on in his sculptures and art work in our town.”
There were people of all ages, from all walks of life. Something the family said showed Bob could “cross all ages and was friends with everyone”.
For Kodie and Lyndon, losing their dad at such a young age has meant their young kids have lost their Poppy.
“He was an amazing Poppy. He had been making a billycart with my little boy and was excited to be bringing it over to us on the Saturday. He died on the Friday. It’s been so hard trying to explain to the kids that we can’t see Poppy anymore but he is in heaven. It’s heartbreaking,” she said.
“He never judged anybody and spent his time just giving back to his family and those around him. No words can describe how his community came out to say one last goodbye.”
Bob’s sidekick Monroe travelled on Bob’s truck as part of the procession, sitting among Bob’s sculptures. Three of Bob’s mates made sure Monroe was there at the end.
Because Bob was so active in the region, his sculptures, artwork, paintings and poems will continue to be his legacy. He sculptured the Anzac Man which the family donated to the RSL and it takes pride and place at the front door. He recently voiced vignettes for a local initiative to capture stories from the past that have made Clunes what it is today.
Bob always reminded his family he was there for them. And in a moving tribute, unrehearsed, unscripted, the community showed that they were there for him and for the family he leaves behind.
Words: Narelle Groenhout
Images: Jason Judd (main image) & Clunes Neighbourhood House



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