Malcolm passed away on August 14, 2015. He was in his 91st year. It is with much sadness that we farewell someone who has been the forefather of Neighbourhood Watch in Tasmania and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia, and a significant contributor at other levels of the Neighbourhood Watch organisation.
Malcolm was a delegate to and an inaugural Executive Committee member of Neighbourhood Watch Australasia, representing his state Tasmania. His sage advice and wise counsel was appreciated by the other volunteer members representing the States and Territories of Australia as well as New Zealand, together with their respective Police representatives. His immense contribution to the NHW movement, from local community level through to NHWA was acknowledged some years ago with the creation of the ‘Malcolm Grant OAM – NHWA Volunteer of the Year’ Award.
Malcolm was an extraordinary human being and character who touched so many lives. His contribution to the organisation is unique and almost immeasurable.
A tribute to a dear friend to so many and who gave selflessly to the community.
Malcolm slipped away peacefully from this world on 14 August 2015. It is difficult to comprehend that he is gone. Even more so that he was in his 91st year.
Malcolm was an extraordinary human being and character who touched so many lives. From a Neighbourhood Watch perspective his contribution to the organisation is unique and almost immeasurable.
I had the privilege of becoming acquainted with Malcolm in 1989. I was on the fringe of community policing and he had recently taken the role of co-ordinator of Mount Stuart NHW. We met at a meeting of NHW coordinators and police officers at Campbell Town.
Malcolm was born at Ulverstone in 1924, but my first impression in 1989 was one of an English gentleman. Like so many others I quickly became impressed and attracted by Malcolm’s intelligence, kindness, wisdom and knowledge, speaking and story-telling ability, and his sense of fun and good humour.
While there is so much more to Malcolm’s legacy we should initially focus on his outstanding and tireless contribution to NHW. As mentioned he was co-ordinator of his local watch group. He served on the State Committee from its inception in 1994. He provided exceptional leadership during his lengthy terms as State President and State Secretary. He fulfilled the roles of Southern District President and Secretary. He took on the virtual solo role of editor of the NHWT magazine and yearly calendar. Although his health had been deteriorating it is a measure of his commitment that he insisted on completing and handing to the publisher edition No. 24 of the official NHWT magazine only weeks before his passing. As reported by State President Jan, Malcolm while lying in bed expressed his concern that he had not managed to deliver a box of the latest magazines to the Glenorchy Police Station. That was our Malcolm.
When Neighbourhood Watch Australasia was established Malcolm was this State’s inaugural Delegate to the governing body. As many would be aware the National NHWA Volunteer Award is named in his honour. Malcolm always led by example. Through his persistence and initiative Bunnings in Southern District permitted Malcolm and other NHW friends and volunteers to conduct countless weekend fundraising BBQ’s on their premises.
Malcolm was an accomplished musician. He was a trombonist in the then Ulverstone Municipal Band and played at the state funeral of the late Prime Minister Joseph Lyons (also a proud Tasmanian) in 1939.
Malcolm was a gifted school teacher and educator. Neville Glover of Port Sorell NHW recalls being a pupil of Malcolm’s. It was during Malcolm’s posting as a teacher to the small rural hamlet of Mole Creek in 1947. He was the sole teacher for Grades 1 to 6. Neville recalls a young man who captured the hearts and minds of his pupils. They worshipped him.
Malcolm served in the Royal Australian Navy during WWII. Somehow he managed to continue his tertiary studies by correspondence while patrolling Australian waters and the Timor Sea on-board a warships as a signals/communications operator! According to his dear wife Linley he described his military service as an “uneventful war, travelling the Australian coastline and bobbing around in the Timor Sea”. A masterful understatement and a measure of his humility.
Whilst devoted to teaching Malcolm managed to travel the world. He became proficient in German and taught in German and Swiss colleges as well as Surrey in the U.K. It was at Stratford upon Avon that he met Linley in 1956. They subsequently married at Smithton in 1959 and Linley recalls that it was in the middle of a thunderstorm.
Malcolm’s life story is one that leaves you in awe of him. From 1975 he was a group leader in Scouts Tasmania. He became a Branch Commissioner and then state training officer. His contribution to youth through Scouting has been recognised through national awards and granting of Life Membership of Scouting Australia. In 1964 he joined Rostrum and became an integral part of the organisation at every level in Tasmania and nationally. He received honorary life membership of Rostrum in 1996 and club life membership in 2014.
Amazingly, Malcolm undertook language studies in Italian in 2007 aged 83 and graduated with a distinction.
He either wrote or co-authored three published books. From 1960 until this year he was a member of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust. I think Malcolm proudly wore the label of being ‘green’.
To prove it he marched and participated in efforts to stop Lake Pedder being dammed by the Hydro Electric Commission. Just like a good Scout he continued to work towards his official ‘green’ badge and he achieved it when arrested by members of Tasmania Police in 1973 for making a nuisance of himself at the famous Franklin River Dam protests near Strahan! The charge subsequently dropped.
The CV of his life, work, and volunteering is an amazing tribute to a man who endeared himself and enriched the lives of every person who came into contact with him. Above all he was a family man and devoted to Linley and their four children. His grandchildren had a special place in his heart.
In 2011 Malcolm was recognised in the Order of Australia by the Governor-General for his outstanding contribution to youth through Scouting and the numerous community groups and organisations he volunteered for and served.
This is but a tiny snippet of Malcolm’s life and service to the community and his country.
The final word should be left to Linley, his loving wife and partner of 55 years.
“Malcolm’s life has been one of day by day, week by week, continual, committed and whole-hearted service to others, as a teacher and in all the other roles he has undertaken. Malcolm died as he had lived with dignity and in quietness. We are all the richer for having enjoyed his blue twinkling eyes, his moustache, his ready laugh and his enjoyment of life and his stories. His own comment was that he was a lucky man – and so are we who have known him. He has left us with a challenge which we will need to work hard to emulate”.