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Alwyn Jones' tremendous legacy for Armidale (a tribute article in the Armidale Express)

Armidale has lost a man who made a contribution of more than 60 years to the civic, cultural, sporting and church life of the city.

Alwyn Jones died on Monday at the age of 90.

Mr. Jones is best known as the man mainly responsible for the planting of 9000 trees across Armidale.

AlwynJones He was a key figure behind the tree planting programs that earned Armidale a reputation for its beautiful parks and wide variety of street trees.

Mr. Jones efforts in the beautification of Armidale were recognized with three awards- the Citizen of the Year Award in 1994, the Centenary Medal in 2000 and the Freeman of the city in 2002.

He is survived by his wife Joyce, daughter Margaret (Waters) and sons Gavin, Stuart, Graham and Philip.

A sister, Wilma (Gentle) predeceased him.

Mr. Jones was born in Sydney on March 5, 1914 and was educated at Newington College before graduating as an accountant.

He married Joyce Birch at the Chatswood South Methodist Church on May 14, 1938, and they spent a year in Parks.

In 1940, the couple moved to Armidale, where Mr. Jones took up the position of accountant at the then recently established New England University College.

After leaving the university, he occupied a number of positions in real estate and accountancy practices before establishing his own practice in the 1950's.

For many years, his work included secretarial duties for the Armidale Building Society which at this stage consisted of a number of terminating societies for which he travelled to Sydney to obtain funds.

Armidale residents who built or purchased homes at that time would remember Mr. Jones because they dealt with him when obtaining their loans.

Mr. and Mrs. Jones raised a family of five children during the 1940's, 50s, 60s and early 70s.

Mr. Jones had a lengthy list of voluntary work, including a continuous and active involvement with the Uniting (formerly Methodist) church.

In the 1940s, he was instrumental in establishing the Presbyterian/Methodist Cricket Club, which later became Churches Cricket Club and which still field teams today.

He played with the club for 15 years.

In 1956, Mr. Jones became senior circuit steward for the Armidale Methodist church, a position he held for 20 years, and represented the church on the Armidale cemetery committee for more than 20 years.

Through church connections, Mr. and Mrs. Jones offered hospitality to many overseas students in Armidale and maintained contact with them over the years.

As the family grew, Mr. Jones became active in the P & C associations of their schools: he was either secretary or president of the Armidale High School P & C for about 25 years and was made a life member.

ElmAvenueIn 1965, Mr. Jones joined the Rotary Club of Armidale and as a result of his continuing membership and involvement was recently awarded honorary membership and recongnised as a Paul Harris Fellow.

In a return to his initial involvement in Armidale, Mr. Jones served one term on the University Council.

After his retirement, he joined Mrs. Jones on her Meals on Wheels deliveries and they worked together in this capacity for about 10 years.

But in the area of voluntary work, Mr. Jones is perhaps best known for the interest in the development of the Treescape' of Armidale.

Despite having no back-ground in horticulture, he had an ongoing interest which developed into a passion for growing trees suited to Armidale's climate and which provided brilliant autumn colours and spring displays.

Many of the varieties he promoted come from China , Japan and the Himalayas .

Mr. Jones served one term on the Armidale City Council in the mid-1940s, but then his activities were more directly related to his particular interest.

With other like minded citizens drawn from a progress association and service clubs, he was part of a newly formed Beautification Committee, a lobby group with council.

It was on that committee's suggestion that the Street Tree Planting committee was formed and, in due course, the Creekland Committee and the Arboretum Committee.

Mr. Jones was involved in all three.

The current nature of Armidale with its beautiful well developed, well shaded open spaces is due in no small part to the foresight, planning lobbying and networking of these committees.

While there is no longer a tree planting committee associated with Armidale Dumaresq Council, Mr. Jones was recently consulted by the council on the Mall developments.

He also submitted a suggestion that a Japanese garden be developed as part of the ongoing sister city relationship with Kanuma.

In September last year, the Uniting Church in association with council and members of the Jones family, initiated the Alwyn Jones Community Service Award, which will be made annually- approximately in autumn.


(Armidale Express Friday January 7, 2005, Pages 1 & 3)


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