Farmer Frank was at heart of local life

By Campaspe News

FRANCIS Bernard Dullard was farewelled at a funeral at the Lockington Community Centre on June 6.

Frank was born in Echuca on March 29, 1928, the second son to a farming family in Pine Grove East.

He was educated at Pannoo State School from 1933 to 1939, attaining his merit certificate at 11, before heading to Assumption College Kilmore (ACK) as a boarder in 1940.

He left ACK to work on the farm after one year. He worked with his father and brother Jim for four years before his father passed away in 1945 when Frank was 16.

Frank and Jim continued to manage the family farm with their mother. That was the beginning of 52 years of running a mixed farming business in Pine Grove East.

Frank married Mary Slattery from Diggora on November 8, 1952. They had nine children: Gerald, Catherine, Margaret, Bernard, James, Kieran, Leo, Paul and Frank.

Their second son, Bernard, passed away as a young boy in 1960 and their eldest son, Gerald, died in an accident in 1973.

Both Mary and Frank had a shared priority in life, to ensure their children’s educational needs were met.

That dedication saw them commit to having eight children attend secondary boarding schools at Echuca and Kilmore for a combined total of 37 years.

Through the years, Frank developed a strong sense of community and a desire to become involved in civic duty within and beyond Pine Grove East and Lockington.

Frank’s 17-year commitment to the Rochester Shire Council from 1978 to 1994 is something his family is very proud of.

During this time, he was elected shire president three times and served on several planning committees within the Loddon Campaspe region.

He was a face-to-face councillor who travelled widely to meet ratepayers on site to see the issues first hand, especially in his ward that took in the less populated regions of Terricks, Patho Plains and Gunbower.

This endeared Frank to the people as they felt much progress was made because of his personal style of governance. Frank was a member of the Pine Grove CFA for 60 years and the Lockington and District Lions club was a passion of his for more than 45 years.

His involvement in the Lions Club played an enormous role in the district through fundraising, youth advocacy, supporting those in need and improvements to facilities in the town.

Frank’s contribution to the Lion’s Club was recognised in 2001 when he was awarded the Melville Jones Fellowship Award. He was also awarded a Lions Life membership in 2013.

Frank was well known within the Lockington and Pine Grove districts as a historian. He was the author of two publications that capture the history of the community.

He was associated with the establishment of the Lockington Historical society, working on the committee as well as the construction of the Lockington and District Heritage Centre.

In 2016 Frank was awarded the Order of Australia Medal in recognition of his service to the community and other organisations.

Frank assisted with the sourcing of funding, relocating buildings as well as refurbishing existing buildings. He was also instrumental in donations of historical items and machinery.

Like Frank’s passion for the history of the district, he also had a lifetime dedication to recording and publishing his family history.

Generations of family now have detailed and updated records of where they fit into the family picture.

Frank worked on the land all his life. Even after he and Mary moved to Lockington in 1991, they maintained connection to the farming community, the happenings of the seasons and the news of the day.

Frank and Mary demonstrated a strong commitment to their faith all their life. Frank was a life-long member of St Joseph Catholic parish in Rochester.

There was a growing Catholic community in the Lockington area and the construction of a bigger church became a priority.

Frank worked closely with Fr William Treacy to form a building committee and he was instrumental in organising fundraising events to build St Canice’s, a new church in Lockington that opened in 1958.

He was again an active committee member and hard worker in the renovation of the same church in 2008 for its 50th anniversary.

Frank had a positive impact on his community due to the unfailing support from his wife, Mary.

Theirs is a great story of 66 years of marriage, a great partnership and one that has had a lasting impact on many.