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Tribute to Mike Daniell, by Steve McGrane

Although this is undoubtedly a sad day, we are here to celebrate the joyous life of my/our friend/husband/brother or colleague Mikey. It is my honour to share the time I spent with Mikey and the moments and pleasures I will never forget and to bring back your own memories of your time with the gentle Mikey. And, a more loving and adoring couple you will never meet, Mike and Rhonda. They met 51 years ago, in a little supermarket in Rosehill and married for 48 years. Mike adores Rhonda, and Rhonda the same, that lives on forever…

I met Mikey around 16 years ago at a CROPPO meeting, a Coffs Harbour based organisation for organic growers. And to Graham and Elise Knoxs, Mikey was always No5 (in-joke, Mikey will understand)! Although Mikey and I met at CROPPO, it was later during the birth of Coffs Community Garden, that I really got to know Mikey as a force of nature, literally,. Mike was one of the original committee members. He served for many long years through thick and thin, being made a life member of the garden. From the day I met him I was fascinated by this kindred spirit with an obvious high level botanical knowledge, an inquiring mind on everything biological, gained from years of formal and informal study along with extensive professional experience in such esteemed institutions as Que Gardens London,and Sydney Botanic Gardens, to mention a few. Mikey’s absolute passion for plants and animals is legendary and talking with Mikey, was like having David Attenborough in your lounge room.  Mikey’s articulate and accurate discussion about all things biological was an engaging experience that I always looked forward to sharing, and I miss already.  Mikey and I shared many passions. I remember that on a number of occasions Mikey wanted to get his own aquaponics systems at home, always asking how I could help, but every occasion, Rhonda was behind his shoulder, shaking her head, fearing yet another project! Sadly Mikey never got his aquaponics system, but I’m sure you’re up there Mikey, right now, badgering God for an aquaponics system, Mikey is such a determined soul, look out lord!

Because, if you wanted something done Mikey’s your man, he could fix anything, with meticulous care.   Research was his forte and he relished the chance to be involved in any project that meant digging deep, literally. Share a task with Mikey and you knew it would get done. He excelled in coming up with ideas and had solutions to everything. Most of all, I hold dearly, the passion he had for his own garden and the joy he expressed whenever a new flower or fruit emerged. You can’t mention Mikey’s passions without mentioning “Miniscule”. That is a French animation about insects, a passion to this day, that Mikey and I still share even though hes moved on to greener pastures. Speaking of greener pastures, Mikey’s own garden remains a tribute to botanical collections and he was always so pleased to present you with cuttings or potted up plants he’s lovely nurtured.  If Mikey gave you a propagated plant you knew he enjoyed your company. Mikey is a legend and along with Rhondie, at Coffs Harbour Community Garden, and both life members in recognition of their tireless work. At every Community Garden Workshop, you’d find Mike and Rhonda there at the crack of dawn, and still there long after the event. Mikey was that type of guy that supported anyone that needed a hand. All he asked in return, was a small amount of appreciation, and he gave you the world. While the world seems to be crumbling, It’s a comfort and reassurance that people like Mikey have never shifted from their morals and principles of human kindness. I’m not saying Mike was an angel, he was certainly capable of dispensing direct displeasure whenever disrespect was shown, though his sense of loyalty and honour lives on in my memory. Some people leave this planet a better place, some just enjoy the ride, some give their all, Mikey was all of this and more. Rest in peace Mikey.


Tribute to Uncle Mark Flanders

We pay our respects to uncle’s family, clan, the Gumbaynggirr nation, friends and many others in the Coffs community and beyond, at the passing of uncle.

We were honoured to have uncle present as a facilitator at the Coffs community garden living lightly workshop 2 months ago last March.

Uncle’s presentation of Indigenous gardening systems, bush tucker and caring for country was informative, inspirational, and a generous sharing of Gumbaynggirr history and culture and connection to land, rivers, mountains, landscape, ocean fauna and flora.

Uncle’s work in the local community and beyond in sharing knowledge, history and culture with the Gumbaynggirr nation and other nations, as well as with non-indigenous people has been authentic, engaging, passionate along with a delightful cheeky humour.

Uncle’s oral tradition of storytelling was captivating and brought to life, and people and audiences could have listened all day to uncle.

Uncle has been deeply connected to this country and has had a life of love and care for country, along with a committed responsibility to look after country so that country can look after the people and all living things.

We farewell uncle whose contributions will live on in protecting and caring for country.

Phil Connor


Coffs Community Garden.