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Thursday, 11 September 2003
Page: 19965

Mr JOHN COBB (12:56 PM) —It is with a great deal of sorrow and enormous respect that I rise to inform the House of the passing of J.E. (Jack) Scoble MBE, OAM. The name `Jack Scoble' was a byword in the central west, and he was one of the most respected people who ever lived west of the mountains. With his passing, we have lost one of the most generous people that ever lived in the back country.

These are just a few brief facts concerning his life. He was born in Cumnock in May 1918. He enlisted in 1940, serving in the Middle East, Australia and Indonesia. His son, Murray, was born in Canowindra in 1946 and his daughter, Alison, was born in May 1952. In 1954, Jack formed Scoble and Nash, a farm machinery and farm supplies retailing business which went on to earn enormous respect. He joined the Rotary Club of Parkes in the same year. In that same year he also became president of the Parkes Primary School P&C Association. In 1962 he was elected as the inaugural president of the East Parkes Primary School P&C Association. In 1966 he was elected unopposed as mayor, serving in that position until 1979. In 1976 he was awarded Membership of the British Empire for services to local government and the community. In 1977 Jack was presented with the Queen's Jubilee Medal. The list just goes on and on.

In 1996 he commenced research into the incidence of Parkinson's disease in the central west. Phyllis, his wife of 55 years, died on 16 April 2000. In 2002 Jack Scoble was awarded the OAM for services to local government, the Uniting Church, the community and Parkinson's disease research.

There are a few more details of Jack's life that were noted at the time he was nominated for the OAM that I would like to repeat. Jack Scoble was born on 5 May 1918 in Cumnock and completed his formal education in the slightly larger town of Canowindra. After the outbreak of World War II, Jack joined the AIF and served in the Middle East and the Pacific Islands. He married Toowoomba-born Phyllis Avoca Carter on 26 February 1945 in the Albert Street Methodist Church, Brisbane—a partnership that was to extend more than 50 years until she died in 2000. Jack and Phyllis returned to the central west area of New South Wales in 1948, when he was appointed as a representative for a major oil company with his home base in Parkes. After a relatively short time, he joined with two local people to create Scoble and Nash. In 1975 that company opened another branch, in Forbes.

Jack served the public of Parkes exceptionally well for over half a century as an extremely active and respected member of the following key organisations: the Parkes and District Chamber of Commerce; school parents and citizens associations; the Rotary Club of Parkes, which awarded him Rotary's highest award, the Paul Harris Fellowship, and in 2001 granted him life membership; the first Parkes Industrial Development and Decentralisation Committee, of which he was convener; and the Parkes Tourist Council, which later became the Parkes Advancement Corporation, with Jack as the foundation chairman.

Jack's contribution to local government in Parkes was exemplary. He was elected to the municipal council in 1962 and in 1966 was elected mayor, retaining that office unchallenged until 1979. His 13-year term of service was, to that time, a record as the Mayor of Parkes. He enjoyed substantial involvement in the reestablishment of a student hostel in Parkes and campaigned vigorously to secure tertiary education facilities. He achieved significant enhancement of community life through his involvement in water augmentation and a planned drainage system for central Parkes. The upgrading of sporting facilities during that time effectively positioned Parkes to attract major events for the years that followed. Jack also served with distinction on the Parkes district board, including a term as treasurer; on the RSL sub-branch, as chairman; and on the Parkes Technical College Advisory Committee.

I do not have time to go through Jack Scoble's life, except to say that, in later years, he was badly affected by Parkinson's disease. He showed incredible courage in helping people to research that disease—and not for himself, because it was too late for him, but for other people. I had the honour of getting to know him in the last two years and the extreme honour of presenting him with a Centenary Medal last May when, despite his afflictions, he gave a magnificent speech to the people of Parkes.

Question agreed.

Main Committee adjourned at 1.01 p.m.