By Tanya Faulkner
A community flocked together at The Basin earlier this month to celebrate the life of a beloved local.
Raymond “Ray” Brown, one of The Basin’s true giants and beloved community members, passed away on Wednesday 16 August.
The Basin community recently came together on Friday 1 September, gathering at the Community Hall, to celebrate a life well lived.
There were at least 100 people in attendance, with several locals filling the remaining standing space to pay their respects, coming together to share stories and memories of the great man.
In attendance amongst the community were several members of local CFA who worked alongside Mr Brown, past students and colleagues from jobs long ago, and a community who loved his character.
He was described during the ceremony by his Son in Law as being super intelligent, a storyteller, a gatherer of knowledge and dedicated to lifelong learning.
Mr Brown was always up for a good chat, with several tributes commemorating their times spent simply talking to him, even in recent weeks.
His family said he was “tickled pink” to be a dad when his children came along.
Mr Brown had a long career in customs as a broker, which he thoroughly enjoyed, before becoming a university lecturer at schools like RMIT in his later years, up until quite recently.
He was described as being the only lecturer to carry his class right through to the last minute, and wasn’t afraid to call out his students in class.
He moved to The Basin in 1978 where he loved living in the Hills amongst the birds and native trees, and being in the bush.
So much so, he built his own garden at home, and got heavily involved in the community.
Knox deputy mayor Cr Jude Dwight paid tribute to Mr Brown at the recent council meeting, talking about a life that celebrated community service.
Mr Brown had a longstanding relationship in The Basin community, which started in 1978 when he joined The Basin CFA.
He received the captains award in 1982 and firefighter of the year in 1993 when he received the DP Maguire award.
He served as the secretary of the CFA from 1990 until 2006, and was made a life member of the Royal Children’s Hospital due to his fundraising activities.
Mr Brown was a founding member of the Knox Homebase Network, the Neighbourhood Watch in the Basin, was a member of the Boronia Rotary Club, and an early member of the Montrose Environmental Group and one of the first members of Knox City Council’s environment advisory committee between 1993 and 2001.
In 2020, Mr Brown was recognised in the Australia Day Honours for service to conservation and the environment in Knox.
Ms Dwight said he was an active member of the Friends of the Ferntree Gully National Park.
“I think that is why he kept calling me about Sweet Pittosporum, Agapanthus and Pampas Grass,” she said.
She said Mr Brown was one of those incredible people who, when they spoke, you listened.
“Although I only knew him for a relatively short time, what a privilege that was!
“And to his family, thank you for sharing Ray, his energy and passion with the Knox community over the course of his incredible life,” she said.