Wine leader and legend farewelled

By Robert Muir

By Robert Muir

Colin Campbell OAM has been remembered as a leader and legend in the wine industry at a huge funeral service last Friday at Campbells Wines Rutherglen.

“Colin received an Order of Australia – OAM – in 2018 for his service to the wine industry, but many of us viewed it was also for his service to the community,” Colin’s cousin Ken Jasper said when delivering the eulogy.

A large crowd gathered for the funeral service for Colin Bruce Campbell, aged 73-years, who passed away after a short battle with cancer on Friday, May 10 at home.

His death has saddened far more than the Rutherglen community. Mr. Jasper said he was absolutely devastated at Colin’s passing as he regarded Colin and his family as his best friends.  

Mr Jasper focused on Colin’s family life and Ross Brown detailed Colin’s wine industry involvement.

Colin involved himself with the local community, joining the original Wine Festival committee in 1966 and had long involvement with North East Tourism. 

“Colin was a founding member of the Rotary Club of Rutherglen, president in 2000 and in 2011 was named a Paul Harris Fellow – Rotary’s highest honour. He became a legend in his own life time.” 

Wonderful, emotional reflections of their dad were given by Colin’s daughters Jane, Susie and Jules. 

Jane referred to her dad’s usual 7.00am to 7.00pm working day. “We’ll miss you very much dad however we will carry on with business as usual, each one of us stronger for having known you,” she said. 

“You are my hero and always will be,” Susie said, “so humble, genuine, grassroots, always there for us and everyone.” 

Fifth generation Campbells winemaker Jules reflected on working with the wines with her Dad and his handover to her of the Campbells wine styles and custodian of the precious muscat and topaques. 

Funeral director Tony Jones said Colin was “so well respected in the wine industry”. “He was a helluva nice fellow, always extremely polite,” he told the Free Press.

“The size of this funeral is right up there with the largest in this area. There would have been close to 1,000 people here in this beautiful, unique venue.

“It was a marvellous reflection of a lovely man. The family were most appreciative to see so many here. Some people have travelled a long way.”
Seven-time local shire mayor in his 21-years in Local Government, Peter Graham OAM, expressed his sadness at the passing of “a good mate”.

“It’s a sad loss because of his leadership skills and he was, in my opinion, working for the common good,” Mr Graham said. “People like Colin are hard to replace.”

Current Indigo Shire Mayor Bernard Gaffney said he was proud to have called Colin a friend.

“He was a tower of strength in the wine industry and very committed to his family,” the mayor said. 

Many politicians of various political persuasions were in attendance. Senator for Victoria since 2011 Senator Bridget McKenzie, said: “Colin Campbell was the epitome of all that’s great about regional Australia.

“He had all those wonderful characteristics, he was dedicated, passionate, humble, loyal. He was a wonderful friend and mentor to me for many years. He was a champion of the wine industry.”   

Guards of honour were formed by The Winemakers of Rutherglen and Rotarians. Earlier, the beautiful bagpipe sounds of ‘Amazing Grace’ by Cobram Piper Gavin Davey preceded the eulogy by Mr Jasper and the bagpipe sounds of ‘Scotland the Brave’ concluded the service.