By Jessica Anstice
Vietnam veteran Max Murray was the face of the Nar Nar Goon RSL sub branch.
He loved the Nar Nar Goon community and was the instigator for many RSL projects, including the construction of the town’s war memorial.
The beloved Nar Nar Goon RSL president died on 4 June at 83.
Mr Murray will be remembered for his dignity, good humour and can-do attitude.
According to the RSL President’s Shield, which hangs in the foyer of the Soldiers Memorial Community Centre at Nar Nar Goon, Mr Murray took over the presidency of the Nar Nar Goon RSL in 1993.
With the support of the World War II and Korean diggers in the branch at the time, the decision was made to establish a memorial in the centre of the town in 1997.
“Most of the work was undertaken by the fellows. Max related the tale of when he went with Joe to source some bricks, the bloke didn’t seem too keen,” Nar Nar Goon RSL secretary Russ Hughes said.
“A few days later a pile of bricks were dumped on site, no questions asked.”
Bit by bit the memorial arose and on Remembrance Day in 1999 it was dedicated by the local vicar Peter Rickards and opened by Joe Bramich.
In 2005, along with the declining World War II members, Mr Murray was disappointed in other local Anzac Day dawn services he went to, before leading his unit later in day in the city parades.
So he decided to try one out at the Goon.
With the fire brigade on board to host a gunfire breakfast afterwards, the first dawn service was held.
The first Nar Nar Goon dawn service in 2006 only saw sprinkling of folk in attendance along with the scouts.
Now plans are in place to turn the memorial around to cope with the growing numbers.
“Max and the early returned men and members would never have envisaged what they started so humbly back in 2006 … how it would grow … what would become,” Mr Hughes said.
“Max conducted all the Anzac Day services, missing this year’s for the first time whilst recovering from an operation.”
His next project, in 2010, was with the help of a federal government and council grant to establish glass display cabinets to hold local memorabilia in the foyer of the community centre, where the Nar Nar Goon RSL hold their monthly meetings.
Mr Murray was awarded life membership at the Nar Nar Goon RSL in 2017.
“Max always conducted our meetings with dignity and good humour and we will miss him greatly,” Mr Hughes said.
“He was our leading light, and is legacy will hopefully live on in Nar Nar Goon at out various commemoratives services which he helped establish.”