Richard Maxwell Simkin
July 27, 1954 (Seymour, Victoria, Australia)
– November 5, 2015 (Canberra, Australia)

(Richard passed away on the anniversary of our fathers death)

Photographs

Memorial

Links

Memorial Service Video

Richard Simkin Memorial Moments
My Country (Richard Simkin) Memorial Service

Memorial Service at Tobin Brothers Chapel, Belconnen, ACT, Australia at 11:00am on Monday January 4, 2016

Tribute to Richard

Often misunderstood, but always loving. I remember you simply as a big brother.

One of my earliest memories in my life was at our home on Mugga Way, where your bedroom was at the opposite end of the house to Mum & Dad’s… I remember at night you would drop your pants in the bedroom window, under flashlight, and moon cars coming down Tamar Street from Hindmarsh Drive.

I remember you teaching me to shoot rifles on the back of some old ute in the outback – spotting kangaroos by their eyes at night.  I remember bringing home a trophy of a kangaroo paws that I shot, only to have mum weeks later furious about that horrible smell in the garden where I had secretly hid the paws.

I remember you teaching me how to braid a kangaroo leather belts and make massively thick wallets – and your craftiness with the awl that often cut your fingers up.

Your complex life was centred around simplicity.  You taught me the value of appreciation for the little things in life.   You found hope in hopeless… you made crazy sane… and the good news I’m better for the time we spent together and the bad news is you’re gone…

— Toby Simkin

He Loved the Hard Life

Richard Simkin was born to Brigadier General M.B. Simkin, CBE KStJ and Irene Simkin in Seymour, Victoria on June 27, 1954.  Oldest brother to Tim, Mandy and Toby.  Richard attended school in England and Canberra, and later from 1971 to 197 the Longreach Pastoral College in central Queensland. Loving the outback life, Richard found himself happiest mustering cattle & sheep via horseback & motorbike throughout central Queensland for the majority of his life. Never married, Richard lived his post mustering years doing leatherwork in various coastal and country locations around southeast Queensland, before moving to Canberra in early 2012 to be closer to his mother and receive enhanced care in his advancing years. He passed away in Canberra on November 5, 2015.

REFLECTIONS

RICHARD, OF THE OUTBACK

read by Tim, Troy & Emma Simkin.

I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where he worked near Longreach, off the beaten track,
He was droving when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just “on spec”, addressed as follows: “Richard, of The Outback”.

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected,
(And I think the same was written in a thumbnail dipped in tar)
‘Twas his droving mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
“Richard’s gone out bush droving, and we don’t know where he are.”

In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Richard
Gone a-droving “west of Longreach” where the western drovers go;
As the stock are slowly stringing, Richard rides behind them singing,
For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

I am sitting in my dingy little office, where a stingy
Ray of sunlight struggles feebly down between the houses tall,
And the foetid air and gritty of the dusty, dirty city
Through the open window floating, spreads its foulness over all.

I sometimes thought I’d try it, that I’d like to swap with Richard,
And take a turn at droving way off the beaten track,
While he faced the round eternal of the office and the journal —
But he would have never liked the office, Richard, of “The Outback”.

Friend, Son and Brother

By Toby Simkin

You were our friend and family who drifted far and wide,
You were a jack-of-all-trades who we remember with pride,
You’re one of many who were battlin’ in the scrub,
Workin’ for an honest wage, often to splash in some old pub,

For you were a friend, a jackaroo, mustering on the track,
You lived a hard life while opening up the great outback,
Hard worker, hard drinker – a single man, never wed,
You wandered ‘cos you knew your dreams lay just ahead.

You took pride in your possessions which were old and few,
You dreamed while you were workin’ how you’ll start your life anew,
But plans and money were butchered when you hit the nearest pub,
Then ‘twas to the outback to work and rough it in the scrub,

For you were Mum’s son, a jackaroo, mustering on the track,
You lived a hard life while opening up the great outback,
Hard worker, hard drinker – too often on a sickbed,
You wandered ‘cos you knew your dreams lay just ahead.

You loved games, and tricks and jigsaws – and the smell of mildew,
You handcrafted leather goods, pity the poor kangaroo,
But leather wallets were emptied while you drank in the nearest pub,
Then it was back to the boonies to work and rough it in the scrub,

For you were our brother, a jackaroo, mustering on the track,
You lived a hard life while opening up the great outback,
Hard worker, hard drinker – too early to your deathbed,
You wandered ‘cos you knew your dreams lay just ahead.