Remembering Robert Hayden as told by his son, Patrick
ROBERT John Hayden passed away last week aged 82, surrounded by his loving family.
He was the son of William and Veronica Hayden and a brother to Georgie, Kerry and Peter.
His son Patrick Hayden delivered this eulogy and said that his father was born in 1936 at Alexandra in the central highlands of Victoria, and after the disastrous offered incentives for saw millers and loggers to move to the Gippsland region to harvest the burnt mountain ash.
“The family moved to Tanjil Bren where Robbie and his brothers attended school until he was expelled at the age of 13 – he never told the family what he had donebut given Dad’s nature and sense of humour, there is no doubt there was probably a tale to be told,“Mr Hayden said during his eulogy for his father.
his brother Georgie working in the bush.
“Those were the days of crosscut saws, axes and bullock teams.
“It was a hard life, but he thrived on work, becoming an accomplished axeman and developing a lifelong love of the Australian bush.
“As well as working at Tajil Bren, Dad worked in many other locations across Vic net River as well as in Tasmania at Fingal and St Marys.
Dad, in conjunction with his family, moved to the Stanley Plateau where he and his father started a mill at Blue Gum Ridge below Hillsborough.
“He told me it was a great job – the only problem was that his father wasn’t paying him.”
Mr Hayden then described that it was shortly after moving to the region that Robert Hayden met his wife to be, Annette Chambeyron.
“I know you are aware that work in hard physical jobs like timber milling can lead to some hard drinking and hard playing and Dad was no exception.
“On one occasion he was going to visit Mum who was undertaking her nursing in Albury.
“He had one too many ‘sherbets’ and ended up crashing into a tree and vaulting an eye in the process.
“When Mum and Dad were married Annette’s father Jack Chambeyron was not too keen to attend the wedding and only by the accede.
“Over time, of course, dad and mum established a home in Beechworth and went Pat, Kate, Christopher and Terry in their High St house.”
Hayden, after much prompting from his wife, became a porter at the Ovens and Murray and later would go on to do his SEN training in the early seventies with Frank Carey and others.
“This was a tough ask for someone who Hayden said.
“Dad worked for approximately 15 years at the O& M Hospital before moving to Mayday Hills and eventually, on its closing, to the houses.
“In the 1980’s, our parents moved from their house in High St to a brand new home in John St.
“With all the kids gone, they moved into the next phase of their life starting to travel and enjoy their life.” Now “Unfortunately, this was not to last with Mum’s unexpected death in 1990.
“Dad was devastated by her loss and it shook him and the rest of the family hard.
“He developed a nightly routine before going to bed, he would kiss her photo, say a prayer and then cross himself, he truly loved his Annette.
“You know, Dad loved a drink and a chat; after Mum’s death, he could often be found with a selective group of similarly aged gentleman forming a group of drinkers at the Commercial hotel.
“Collectively known as “The Corner of Knowledge” I am sure many of the persons involved in this think tank would be known to you - the illustrious names of Scottie, Kojak, Merv, Tommy Methven, Ralphie etc.
“No doubt during the imbibing of many a pot, they resolved all the ills of the world in a civilised manner with many a ribbing meant in jest, unlike some of our current leaders.
“Dad always loved his family and took great pride in what they were doing and what they had achieved; this was no more so than with his grandkids who all idolised him.
“We have loved watching him with our children over the years and he always could make fun of a situation even to the end.
“Be at peace Dad, united with your beloved Annette.”
VALE: Robert John Hayden.