ForeverMissed
It is with the heaviest of hearts we advise the tragic and sudden passing of our dear Dad John.   Father to Mark, Sian and Simon, Father-in-law to Christina and George, cherished grandfather to Tomas, Alysha and Alex, devoted husband to our late mum Eira and brother to Dorothy (Dot) his adored 96-year-old sister. 

Our rock throughout our lives, he was a caring wonderful man with solid values and a generous heart, always ready to offer guidance and counsel in troubled times.

In many ways a self-made man his knowledge and expertise in the field of livestock husbandry gained during grim post war years in the UK spread afar and resulted in a life-changing job offer from Australia.  As ten-pound Poms our young family's migration from the UK to Queensland in 1963 was willingly embraced by our mother who shared in his sense of adventure. 

Settling in Moggill, an outer bush suburb of Brisbane, Dad's early years in the 60's and 70's cemented his reputation as an unconventional innovator. He wasted little time in recruiting and mentoring a loyal team of young professionals and while Dad revelled in hard work it was an enthusiasm matched in equal measure by hard living – at least in those early years. In Dad’s case a hard-earned thirst certainly did need a big cold beer, typically enjoyed in the spirited company of his equally inclined farming mates along with his ever-present pack of Benson & Hedges which later in life he simply quit announcing “that’s my last”.

He instilled in us, his three children a can-do attitude of self-reliance, emphasising the value of determination and hard work through physical effort, whether through chores as a 5-year-old mowing lawns in Queensland, or press ganged into his latest venture whatever it may be. One visceral memory of a hot summers’ day involved hammering nails into the corrugated iron of a newly established shed roof, with Dads' encouraging words 'just hit the bloody nail in!'

As youthful 'apprentice' labourers, team Dodd strung acres worth of fence lines, wielded crow bars, sunk fence posts, erected sheds, horse stables, studios and pergolas of various levels of architectural ambition and sometimes dubious structural engineering. We mowed vast areas of lawn, raked mountains of cut grass, dug giant holes for future fishponds, cut, collected and stacked firewood, established vegetable gardens, planted trees, cleaned bricks, paved patios and planted flower beds......Forever pursuing his 'next big project', a drive he never lost until the last.

Occupational health and safety was often given little thought as Dad’s zeal to reclaim a bounty of building timber in an abandoned US Navy facility on the banks of the Brisbane River would attest when handkerchief face masks substituted for PPE during the ensuing asbestos demolition in order to retrieve the valuable hardwood bounty.

From Moggill in Queensland, Warrandyte and Kangaroo Ground in Victoria, Exeter in Tassie and finally Eltham and Mt Eliza back in Melbourne, no property or family home remained untransformed by his and our mothers' creative vision and handiwork, and every home ascribed a name. 'Sweet Meadow', 'Wirreanda', 'Native Ridge' and 'Nunnook'. For Dad...his home was always his Castle, and any extended outing was always acknowledged with an “It's good to be home” affirmation on return and a, 'Put the kettle on Kiddo'.

A vivid flood of childhood memories includes Dad's epic driving feats including the annual Moggill to Turramurra Christmas pilgrimage. A 'cannonball run' to Sydney in our old XP Falcon wagon with us kids jockeying for the window seats in the back, as we sweltered in soaring summer heat blasting along the New England highway....barely worthy of the name in the late 1960's.  Kicks of the football on a wet Warrandyte oval or sitting on his lap being taught to 'drive' up the long, straight mango - tree edged driveway to our old Queenslander, optimistically named “Sweet Meadow”. 

His expertise with livestock sadly did not extend to horses but Dad thought it a sound idea we should learn to ride at a young age.  Three horses quickly found a new home at Sweet Meadow where riding mishaps assured our front paddock became the worthy rival of any rodeo. The ponies eventually settled down somewhat and we fondly recall riding our weary mounts home in the twilight hours after bush gymkhanas at the Brookfield showgrounds, with Dad patiently driving behind us lighting our way.

Our late Mum Eira – and Dad’s school sweetheart – was a fabulously talented painter whose award-winning impressionist style paintings were made all the more attractive by Dad’s self-acquired expertise as picture framer.  His pride and encouragement of her innate creativity continued throughout their long and enduring marriage and while there were times when Dad would struggle to identify with Mum's art world, he always recognised her free spirit and need to paint. The untamed Australian bush, the inspiration for her sublime paintings meant 'Wirreanda', the home they built amidst the bush in Kangaroo Ground was a much-loved family home for us all.

His devotion to Mum throughout her long illness was an inspiration to all who were close and we will always remember with deep love and admiration his unfailing tenderness and advocacy for our beloved mother during her declining years. As the Head of Nursing at our mum's Nursing home said “John, you did her proud”.

Dad was a man perhaps typified by his era – stoic, stiff upper lip and steely resolve. A man whose unique world view included bearing witness to the end of empire, who served on active wartime duty with the RAF in Iraq and British mandated Palestine, experiences which without doubt moulded the Dad we knew and which had a lifelong legacy. His wartime experiences – like many veterans - held closely and seldom revealed in detail. He suffered adversity with stoic determination and was a man of principle, fiercely loyal to his family and good friends. He maintained great pride and interest in the careers, talents and achievements of his 'Tribe' near and afar, but even more so of his grandchildren, Tomas, Alysha and Alex.

There was also a softer side although it was not always evident. Dad had a natural ability to nurture.  When any of us were unwell he showed great care and tenderness. He found much pleasure and delight in hand raising calves during the years our parents spent in Tasmania in their early retirement, a pleasure enhanced by the setting of their small hobby farm in the majestic Tamar Valley. It was a return to his farming, livestock, and animal husbandry roots, and we recall Mum describing how he would unfailingly rise throughout the night to feed 'his babies'.  Likewise, he was always 'nurturing' and tending to his garden which has been his 'Happy Place' throughout his life - memories of our dad standing hose in hand, and more than likely quietly singing is seared into our collective consciousness.

The experience of caring for our mother through profound sadness and loss had shaped dad into the gentler, empathetic and reflective man who we are all very grateful to have had in our lives.  Forever picking himself up he had an inspirational capacity to rebound and find meaning in simple pleasures. He was a man blessed with great reserves of energy, quick to laugh and an amazing capacity for happiness. Proud of his Welsh heritage he was easily moved to booming song and family gatherings were ceremoniously toasted with a spirited “Iechyd da” ... or Good Health!

The past 11 years living on the Mornington Peninsula in Mt Eliza gave Dad a new lease of life where he again found his place, genuine happiness, contentment in his daily interactions and sense of community.  He seemed to have discovered a new 'lightness of being'.  He would frequently affirm to us “I'm happy” and was fortunate to have found companionship and love,  sharing his life with partners anew.  Initially with 'Trish from Mornington' with whom he regained a new zest for life and to whom we all owe an eternal sense of gratitude for being there when he suffered a major stroke in 2012,  and who’s swift action allowed for Dad’s full recovery.  In more recent years 'Tricia from Mt Martha' - Patricia Reilly - in who's company he found much happiness, sense of purpose, fun and joyeux de vivre. 

Dad, independent to the end, you are forever missed and will always be in our hearts.
We'll make sure those bulbs are planted and a rose garden remains a fixture in all future homes.

XO always.

Mark, Sian and Simon and loving family

Posted by Gillian Song on May 1, 2021
I knew John in the early days. And attractive fellow always a hard worker. In Australia he had interesting and challenging ideas that he brought to fruition. Very self disciplined and showed devotion to my sister to the very end. On our several trips to Australia and Tasmania he was always enjoyable company. John was a real trooper.
Australia was lucky to get him.
Posted by Helen Tossell on April 29, 2021
Such a beautifully written tribute.
It’s hard to think of John no longer being here. Both he and Eira played such a significant role in our lives as our two families were so close especially when we all lived in Victoria.

Mums earliest memories of John are when John and Eira lived in Lower Withall. John would always be making everyone laugh.

My first impression of John - up in Mogill were that he was slightly terrifying! So tall and with a big deep voice.

I fondly remember our family meals together- especially Christmas. John had a hearty appetite ( all that hard work I suppose) and loved his bread especially! If John was coming over for a meal there had to be at least half a loaf sitting on the table just for him!

It didn’t take long to see the kind, sweet and loving man behind that boisterous exterior. The years he looked after Eira will forever stay in my mind as the ultimate example of true love.

Creative, strong, dependable, energetic, hardworking, mischievous , loving, compassionate are some of the words that come to mind when we think of John.

But it’s impossible to sum him up in words so we’re glad we have so many memories to keep him alive in our hearts.

We like to think he’s now singing a rousing version of Cwm Rhondda in heaven with Alan. Eira will be loving it.

Sending all our love

Helen and Mary
Posted by Denis Murphy on April 27, 2021
Dear Mark, Sian & Simon and family
I have had a few off line discussions with Simon who kindly advised me of Mr Dodd's passing.
From 1966 he was my commercial father & we had so many great times at Sweet Meadows. The most memorable being planning a Christmas party in 1967 or 1968 when Alan Tossell & his wife were visiting from Wales.
Mr Dodd had his junior officers, Darry Stewart, Bruce Playsted and me as his backup but when the singing started the Welsh swamped us.
The preparty was one of my most memorable events. I think Mark Sian & Simon probably wished we would go home because they might have had school tomorrow but I cherish the memories.
He & Eira were always Mr & Mrs Dodd to me & always close to my heart.
Posted by John Camacho on April 27, 2021
Dear Simon, really sorry to hear the news of your dad's passing, It is always sad to see our love once pass away.
To the Dodd family my deepest condolences, hope you are all well on this sad times.
Lots of love from Rosa
Posted by Christina Dodd on April 27, 2021
Dear Sian, Mark and Sim,

Please receive my deepest condolences for the tragic loss of your Dad and my father in law, John. His sudden and unexpected passing has left us all deeply shaken and emotionally broken.

My earliest memories of John and Eira go back over three decades ago when Sim and I started seeing each other. As a very young lady and very new to Australia I was quite in awe of “Mr & Mrs Dodd”, so very different to what I was used to. Spanish parents tend to be loud and argumentative while John and Eira were the complete opposite. Your mum was always very gentle and sweet. As a professional painter, her ability to paint true representations of the Australian bush was very unique and admired by many. Her style was so distinct that when we saw one of her paintings proudly hanging in Eltham College’s main office we recognised it immediately as your mum’s. John always had the distinct role as head of the family, with strong beliefs and a clear sense of duty. He dedicated his days to arduously working outdoors – coming in for a morning or afternoon cup of tea. Another of the Dodd traditions that I acquired. John was always very kind to me, easy to engage in conversation, always had a great big smile and was full of life. I always felt very welcomed to the family and during my first years in Australia before they moved to Tassie, “Wirreanda” became my home.

I always believed that John had strong values. The dedication with how he nursed Eira during her illness was extraordinary and without doubt those years would have been the toughest years of his life. I remember many times talking with him about trying to expand his life beyond the nursing home. He always replied that he would, one day .... but not yet. He was very well aware of his state of mind at the time, but what was clear to me was that while Eira was alive he would dedicate all his time to her, heart and soul. And that he did, till the very last minute. Not many people can claim that commitment and dedication.

Fortunately John was able to get a new lease of life and find happiness again in the latter 15 years of his life. His first trip to Hong Kong allowed him to meet baby Alysha and his love for her was immediate. We spent many days wondering around the streets of Hong Kong with him very proudly pushing Alysha in her stroller. It was an opportunity for us to get very close and have very deep and meaningful talks including discussing his thoughts of being able to meet new friends that would bring happiness into his life. And that he did by meeting Trish first and years later Tricia, both of whom were able to bring vitality and much happiness into his life.

As a Grandpa, John showed much love to both Alysha and Alex, very proudly teaching Alex how to ride a lawn mower and teaching Alysha to be his “assistant” while collecting and opening his mail. He was always very patient when they were babies and very proud of their prowess as they grew older.

John was always very supportive of our life decisions but never hesitating to give us sound, level headed advice. I felt he always knew what would be right for us and us returning back to Melbourne was one of his strongest desires.

With a very heavy heart we now know that he won’t be there physically but he will always be in our thoughts and hearts. Alysha has mentioned that we should plant a rose bush in our new Australia home in memory of Grandpa “he always loved roses, mama” so we will definitely have a special place in our garden in his memory.

We will always have John/Grandpa in our memories and our hearts. He will be remembered always.

May you rest in peace John.

We love you
Chris
Posted by Jennifer Song on April 26, 2021
Hi Mark, Sian and Simon,
Wonderful to read about Uncle John in the beautiful tribute you have written. I have felt such connection to you all through the years. As life chugs along, times passes and we still haven't made to Australia, however it is lovely to experience it through your words. Love to all of you and so sorry for your loss. Lots of love, Jen
Posted by Chris Tossell on April 26, 2021
Dear Mark, Sian & Simon and family
Reading your really remarkable tribute to your father brings back a flood of early memories. Not just of John but his memory is inextricably linked with those of my eldest sister, your mother Eira. Eira was simply the most artistically talented and above all the kindest person you might ever meet.
John was, in my memory, always, always active and enthusiastic on his latest project. At Morfa Lodge in Glangryney his passion was Danish pigs, reared, bred and sold. All this done outside his regular work with Wibberlys.
It was John who took me to sit my entrance exam at Monmouth School, taking me around the buildings and saying ' memorise the mottos on the coat of arms', you will probably be questioned'. Then later staying at Lower Wythall near Ross-on-Wye, a great beast of a half timbered house without electricity, with John working, always working. I don't think he was ever still.
You can't think about John without (and this has already been said) his absolute devotion to Eira as she declined. So steadfast, so determined.
But you, Mark, Sian & Simon can proudly hold both your father and mother in your hearts, treasuring their memories.
With Love to you all.
Chris
Posted by John Camacho on April 26, 2021
When I was informed of the sad new of John’s passing what first came to mind was the first time I met him in Kangaroo Ground, when I went to see him in Eltham and had to remove a possum, the many Christmas spent together, all these are nice memories I’ll have of him, he was a beautiful person who will be sadly missed. My condolences to the Dodd family and wishing the family all the best.

Always be remembered Johnny
Posted by Alex Dodd on April 26, 2021
Dear Grandpa

The memory that I most recently remembered with you is your 90th birthday when we went to a club and we went to have lunch there but the best memory from that day is when we took a photo in front of a massive tree and the branches of the tree was so long with the family.

When we go back to Australia the family will go to watch a football game of Carlton for you because in the birthday card you sent me for my 13th birthday you said that we had to watch a football game together when we get back.

Love Alex
Posted by Alysha Dodd on April 25, 2021
Dear Grandpa,

The memory that to this day lives clearest in my memory is your 90th birthday, we went to this beautiful stop on the most perfect day, they had amazing views and fresh air. We walked for a while and then went to a restaurant as well, I look back at the photos today and remember almost every second like it was yesterday.

Whenever we all went down to Melbourne to visit the family, I would always ask and wonder when I was going to visit you. I loved coming to see you and will always remember that one conversation we had about the gorgeous roses you loved and cared for so much. We always said that when I finally moved to Melbourne we would have a rose garden like yours.

And when we do finally move to Melbourne, outside there will be a beautiful little garden of roses just for you.

Words can't describe how much I miss you.

Love you from the moon and back thousands and thousands of times...
Alysha

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Recent Tributes
Posted by Gillian Song on May 1, 2021
I knew John in the early days. And attractive fellow always a hard worker. In Australia he had interesting and challenging ideas that he brought to fruition. Very self disciplined and showed devotion to my sister to the very end. On our several trips to Australia and Tasmania he was always enjoyable company. John was a real trooper.
Australia was lucky to get him.
Posted by Helen Tossell on April 29, 2021
Such a beautifully written tribute.
It’s hard to think of John no longer being here. Both he and Eira played such a significant role in our lives as our two families were so close especially when we all lived in Victoria.

Mums earliest memories of John are when John and Eira lived in Lower Withall. John would always be making everyone laugh.

My first impression of John - up in Mogill were that he was slightly terrifying! So tall and with a big deep voice.

I fondly remember our family meals together- especially Christmas. John had a hearty appetite ( all that hard work I suppose) and loved his bread especially! If John was coming over for a meal there had to be at least half a loaf sitting on the table just for him!

It didn’t take long to see the kind, sweet and loving man behind that boisterous exterior. The years he looked after Eira will forever stay in my mind as the ultimate example of true love.

Creative, strong, dependable, energetic, hardworking, mischievous , loving, compassionate are some of the words that come to mind when we think of John.

But it’s impossible to sum him up in words so we’re glad we have so many memories to keep him alive in our hearts.

We like to think he’s now singing a rousing version of Cwm Rhondda in heaven with Alan. Eira will be loving it.

Sending all our love

Helen and Mary
Posted by Denis Murphy on April 27, 2021
Dear Mark, Sian & Simon and family
I have had a few off line discussions with Simon who kindly advised me of Mr Dodd's passing.
From 1966 he was my commercial father & we had so many great times at Sweet Meadows. The most memorable being planning a Christmas party in 1967 or 1968 when Alan Tossell & his wife were visiting from Wales.
Mr Dodd had his junior officers, Darry Stewart, Bruce Playsted and me as his backup but when the singing started the Welsh swamped us.
The preparty was one of my most memorable events. I think Mark Sian & Simon probably wished we would go home because they might have had school tomorrow but I cherish the memories.
He & Eira were always Mr & Mrs Dodd to me & always close to my heart.
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