Noel Powell OAM remembered as 'dignified and gracious'

Published 5:00pm 9 March 2023

Noel Powell OAM remembered as 'dignified and gracious'
Words by Jodie Powell

Scarborough’s Noel Powell OAM spent his life following his mother’s advice: ‘you don’t want to live your life and not make a difference’.

Mr Powell, 76, passed away on Monday, March 6, having given more than 40 years of service to the Peninsula community.

That service was publicly recognised repeatedly throughout his life – including in 2015 when he was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the Queen’s birthday honours list, in 2006 when he was named Redcliffe Citizen of the Year and when he was named a Life member of the Redcliffe Leagues Club.

Mr Powell was married to Judy for 54 years and they have two sons, Greg and Darren, and five grandchildren.

Greg said his father was extremely proud to be awarded an OAM for his service to the youth of Redcliffe through his work with the Redcliffe PCYC, during which he was instrumental in overseeing the much-needed expansion of facilities at Kippa-Ring.

Unparalleled contribution

Noel Powell OAM remembered as 'dignified and gracious'

State Redcliffe MP Yvette D’Ath sent her condolences to the Powell family with the sad news of Mr Powell’s passing.

“Noel contributed so much to this community over decades,” she says.

“I remember his passion for the Redcliffe PCYC and most recently his work on the RDA. Noel leaves a lasting legacy that we will always remember.”

Federal Petrie MP Luke Howarth said he was saddened to hear of Mr Powell’s death.

“(He was) a man who was committed to his family and his community,” Mr Howarth said.

“He did exceptional work with the Redcliffe PCYC and cared deeply for the well-being and livelihood of all Australians.

“He often shared with me his ideas to help local people.”

Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Peter Flannery said people like Noel Powell were rare gems, and we might not see the likes of people like him again.

“It’s rare for a person to be so passionate and so committed to their community for so long,” Mayor Flannery says.

“Moreton Bay, and especially Redcliffe, are better places for his decades of service, and there’s a good chance that even if you’d never met Noel you have benefitted directly and indirectly from his generosity.”

Always thinking of others

Noel Powell OAM remembered as 'dignified and gracious'

Former Moreton Bay Region mayor Allan Sutherland says Mr Powell was dedicated to his family and his beloved Redcliffe community.

“Noel gave so much of his life to others in the most dignified and gracious manner,” Mr Sutherland says.

“His handshake was his bond and his word was gospel.

“Those of us who were lucky enough to call Noel a friend have been truly honoured, and will miss his unique character and his positive outlook.

“In these days that we live in, there are very few left that give so much and ask so little. To the very end, Noel was still thinking of others.”

Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism CEO Shane Newcombe said he too was saddened by the news Mr Powell had passed away.

“Noel was such an important part of our community,” Mr Newcombe says

“He made such a difference to so many people’s lives through his work with Redcliffe PCYC, Regional Development Australia and the Our Village Foundation, as well as many others.

“From a personal perspective, he was an inspiration, a mentor and a great friend.

“The Moreton Bay Region is a better place for the time he gave, and poorer for his passing.”

Distinguished service

Noel Powell OAM remembered as 'dignified and gracious'

During Mr Powell’s four decades of service to the community, he was a Justice of the Peace for 40 years; a member of Rotary for 27 years; chairman of the Redcliffe PCYC for a decade; and deputy chairman of Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay for seven years, as well as serving on the board of the Our Village Foundation, which was the precursor to Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism (MBRIT).

Speaking to Moreton Daily in 2021 when he stepped down as RDA deputy chairman, Mr Powell said he didn’t contribute to the community for recognition, but rather out of a desire to do his bit.

“It’s nice to be thanked but I don’t look for it,” he said at the time.

“Citizen of the Year was pretty special. I was honoured to get that. The Order of Australia was even more so. I thought me? You’re kidding me?,” Mr Powell said.

“Community service and helping others is the rent we pay for the space we occupy on Earth. I trust I made a difference to our community.”

Mr Powell’s work in the community started as a JP, when he was in his mid-30s.

“Our boys were in high school and coming out of high school, so that was a time when I could spend a bit more time although I was working six days a week, I still managed to find the time to do my bit,” he said in 2021.

“I settled into this idea that I could make a difference, just a little difference. Small things can make a difference and I remember my mother said, ‘if you don’t believe small things can make a difference, you’ve never been in bed with a mosquito’.

Lasting legacy

Mr Powell’s life became even busier in retirement than in his working days.

“There’s always something to do. Someone is always asking for a bit of help or a bit of advice, you don’t hold back. Don’t let the old man in, as they say,” he said in 2021.

“The biggest highlight, without a shadow of a doubt, was that Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay were the ones who put the concept together for the university.

“We saw there was a need for further education in the area and went to the previous council with the idea that we needed to build a university and that would help with jobs and kids in the area wouldn’t have to travel so far. To their credit, all of the previous council and in particular the mayor picked up the challenge and he went with it, but we were behind him all the way pushing for the funding and so forth that brought it to fruition.

“You’ve got to have an idea … you plant the seed, people come on board and then it happens.”

Mr Powell’s funeral will be held at the Redcliffe Uniting Church, 1 Richens St, Redcliffe on Thursday, March 16 at 11am.

Service snapshot

  • Redcliffe PCYC Chairman for 10 years, which grew during that term to one of the largest in the state and had more than $2 million in building and infrastructure improvements.
  • Member of Rotary Club of Redcliffe City for 27 years and awarded the Paul Harris Fellow for service.
  • Redcliffe PCYC Chairman for 10 years, which grew during that term to one of the largest in the state and had more than $2 million in building and infrastructure improvements.
  • Community Policing Board member for three years
  • Deputy Chairman Regional Development Australia Moreton Bay (a Federal Government initiative) for 7 years.
  • Chairman Redcliffe City Council Community Plan Committee 2006
  • Member of the committee that established the first Neighbourhood Watch group in Queensland.
  • Justice of the Peace for 40 years, including as a Commissioner Declarations.
  • Instigated Redcliffe’s Santa Sleigh program, firstly with the support of Queensland Police Service, then Rotary and finally Redcliffe PCYC up to 2019.
  • Life member Redcliffe Leagues Club
  • Redcliffe Citizen of the Year in 2006
  • Awarded Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2015

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