Former Deputy Prime Minister and NSW Nationals icon Tim Fischer AC has been honoured with a special commemorative plaque at Albury Train Station.
NSW Nationals Regional Transport Minister Paul Toole said Mr Fischer was a tireless advocate for rail transport and it was fitting to have him commemorated at the historic station he frequented often.
“Tim was a rail man through and through. He studied railway gauges and after retiring from politics was the special envoy for the Adelaide to Darwin railway line and travelled on the first Ghan to Darwin in 2004,” Mr Toole said.
“Albury Station was a special place for him in his later years where he hosted a three series local radio podcast The Great Train Show.
“A statesman and a gentleman, Tim was a true friend to the people of bush and was held in high esteem by people across the political divide. His legacy will continue to benefit regional Australians for generations to come.”
Mr Fischer was often seen at Albury Station as he travelled, had meetings, conducted interviews and launched railway books.
It’s been a year since Mr Fischer passed, and he still holds a special place in the hearts of regional people. Now, when the people of Tim’s beloved Riverina sit and wait for a train in Albury, there’s a special reminder of his amazing contribution to the local community.
The ‘boy from Boree Creek’
A farm kid who grew up in the Riverina before going to boarding school in Melbourne, Tim Fischer had a lifelong love of the bush and the people who call it home.
Tim’s service began at the age of 20 when he was conscripted into the Vietnam war. Two years later, then-Lieutenant Fischer was hit by shrapnel while defending Fire Support Base Coral and was hospitalised, but he was still able to be part of a filmed message from the Army sent back to Australia for Christmas.
Following his return from Vietnam, Tim became the youngest person and first Vietnam veteran elected to Parliament. He served as the Country Party Member for the electorates of Sturt and Murray in the NSW State Parliament from 1971, serving on the Opposition frontbench from 1978. In 1984 Tim was the National Party candidate for Farrer and was elected, an office he would hold for 17 years. In 1990 he was elected Federal Nationals Leader, going on to serve as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade in 1996 – offices he held for three years, before retiring from Parliament in 2001.
After his retirement from Parliament, Tim returned to farming at Boree Creek and became involved in charity work with organisations such as the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Fred Hollows Foundation and Autism New South Wales. He served as Chairman of the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Chairman of the Crawford Fund, Chairman of the Global Crop Trust, Chairman of Tourism Australia and was a director or patron of more than two hundred not-for-profit and community organisations.
Tim was admitted as a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2005 for ‘service to the Australian and New South Wales Parliaments, to advancing the national interest through trade liberalisation and rail transport development, to supporting humanitarian aid in developing countries and to fostering openness and acceptance of cultural difference in the community’. And in 2009 Tim was appointed as Australia’s first resident Ambassador to the Holy See, something he considered a great personal honour.
Regional Australia has never had a better friend than Tim Fischer, a man who stood for those great traditional country values of humility, kindness, loyalty, courage and love of Australia.