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Vale: Peter Cairney 1944 – 2019



Peter Cairney was a Eurobodalla Shire Councillor from 7-10-1987 to 13-9-2008, and Mayor from 25-9-2001 to 24-09-2002. Photo ESC

Death and Funeral Notice

CAIRNEY, Peter - 9th April 2019 at Estia Health, Dalmeny, late of, Broulee. Dearly loved Partner of Janette, father and father-in-law of Peter and Karen, Craig and Olaf, Shane and Kellie. Much loved Pop to Ashleigh, Josh, Zac, Mikayla and Liam.

Aged 74 years.

Peter's relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend a Memorial Service to be held at Broulee Crematorium, Broulee, with a service commencing at 2:00 pm on Thursday the 18th of April 2019.

Peter Cairney was the proud son of a coal mining man, Sylvester Cairney, a staunch Social Democrat, a Union Delegate, and in later life to become the President of the South Coast Labour Council. Peter was the second youngest of (7) siblings born to Sylvester and Mary Elizabeth Martha Cairney. He lived his childhood in the family home in the Vale De Cluet a famous mining village in the Lithgow Valley. In the early fifties Sylver, Martha Peter and younger brother Alan moved to Scarborough a small mining village perched on the cliffs near Helensburg and later to Sandon Point Bulli, an other mining village and suburb in the Illawarra. Peter completed his secondary schooling at Bulli High School and from there attended Wollongong Technical College and did his fitter and turner apprenticeship at Port Kembla Steel Works. On completion he became a fitter and turner at Coalcliff Colliery and the Darkes Forest mine then quit the mines for a multitude of jobs in the 70. Peter went on to marry Patricia Lonesbrough and they had two sons Peter and Craig during their brief marriage. In the first part of the 70s, Peter was a professional boxer, boasting a record of 13 wins (10 via knockout) 5 losses and 1 draw. It was at one of these boxing events that Peter met Jan, his partner to be for the next 48 years. Jan recalls that she was astounded that a man who was nearly 6ft tall and weighing only 9 stone three would have the nerve to even get in the ring and this won her over. Together they began a family with Peter and Craig and in 1973 Shane was born . After his boxing career Peter became a boxing trainer and promoter. His most noteworthy pupil being one Billy Mulholland whom Peter successfully trained to take out the Australian Super Featherweight and Light Weight titles in the mid to late 70s. In 1981 Peter and the family left Wollongong to take on the lease at the Pearly Shells Hotel in Moruya. The 80s was the heyday of the “Pearly” as it was known by the locals who flocked there to see various live bands, comedians and novelty events.


Above: Peter and Jan with sister Sylvia and niece Roberta


Peter on his wedding day

The Pearly was the place to be and hosted a great variety of events including, mechanical bull rides, woodchopping, bonfires, auctions and who can forget the crazy girls nights out watching the all male revues? Peter and Jan at the Pearly supported many of the local sporting groups including the local Rugby and Rugby League Clubs as well as the Surf Club and many touch footy and indoor cricket teams over the years. But it was Peters love of boxing and working with disadvantaged youth that once again lead him, Noel Dolton and Stan Jay to open up a gymnasium to train young boys in boxing and instil fitness and discipline into the lives of these young fellows. Over the years a multitude of boys came and went and trained at the gym, travelling all over the state to compete in junior and senior boxing events. However, a political calling consumed more and more of Peters time. In 1987 he was first elected to ESC serving 21 continuous years as a councillor. Peter maintained his typical straight shooting no nonsense style in the political arena and this lead to several colourful bouts with other councillors from time to time and some very heated and sometime unconventional debating. But his heart was always with the people whom he served and who elected him to represent them and he was always a staunch advocate for the underdog. A short stint as Mayor in 2001-2002 was an indication of the respect he had earned in this forum and a recognition of his valuable contribution to Eurobodalla Shire. After stepping out of local politics in 2008 Peter enjoyed a slower pace at home and regularly caught up playing bowls and sharing a few beers with mates at the Tomakin Sports & Social Club where he also volunteered several years service on the board of directors. Peter was a very community minded person who always attempted to stand up for what he believed was right and fair. He will be sadly missed by all of the people he helped along the way as well as his family and friends. Peter is survived by his brother Alan, sisters Shirley and Sylvia and their families. His partner Jan, his sons Peter, Craig and Shane. Their respective partners Karen, Olaf and Kellie. As well as grand children Ashleigh, Josh, Zac, Mikayla and Liam.

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