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30 September 2019 |Community news

Mirboo North & District Community Bank® Branch has regretfully farewelled Cliff Hammond, the treasurer for the last three years, but takes as a compliment his view that we don’t need him any more as our financial skills are up to scratch!

Cliff has had a long and interesting career in the finance and accounting field. After migrating from the UK with his family at 18 years old, he excelled in the public service examination and with the choice of positions, picked the public prosecutor’s office where he gravitated into forensic accounting (before it had acquired that label). He remembers going with police to raid a brothel, and chasing gun-runners, to be on the spot for finding the critical evidence for proceeds of crime charges.

Acquiring tertiary accounting qualifications set Cliff up for further moves, including auditing with the SEC in a statewide role, and in 1994 he was headhunted by the privatized Yallourn mine and power station to set up tax systems which had not been needed under public ownership.

Another career step saw Cliff undertaking a Dip Ed and then teaching accounting at GippsTAFE and Federation University, while also running his own company, in consulting and superannuation auditing.

Throughout his working life Cliff has maintained a strong commitment to community.

Before coming to Mirboo North in 1994 he and his wife Lesley published the Wallan Whistler. In Mirboo North he transferred these skills to the revival of the Mirboo North Times, working with Neil Smith and Helen Sheil, who many will remember, and with Peter and Gero Gardener, who most will remember, to re-establish a paper with a long and proud history, but which was in a state of collapse.

Cliff also threw himself into the nascent Primary School Art Show and helped build it up towards what we know it as today. Again, because of his daughters’ involvement, he became the president of the swimming club and treasurer of the South Gippsland Swimming Association. He was also on the Finance Committee at Mary MacKillop College for 8 years, and a community visitor at the Mirboo North nursing home (now Japara Aged Care) for 5 years or so. He was a member of Mirboo North Rotary for 5 years, and a sports reporter for Inside Football for 3 years.

On a regional level, Cliff has for the last several years been president of the radio station for the print-handicapped, RPH 93.5, auspiced by Vision Australia, running a weekly program himself and expanding the station’s offerings from being a newspaper-reading service to embracing sport and lifestyle programs. Unfortunately their government funding has been undermined by NDIS changing the focus of grants away from organisations to brokerage for individual services. So RPH is currently facing a funding challenge.

Having established his expertise in radio, it appears to have only been a short step to Cliff’s being enticed into volunteering to run a program on 3mFM. He runs a music program on Monday evenings called Eclectica, which includes 30 minutes of local musicians’ work. Contact Cliff if you have a CD of your own music for which you would like some airplay!

Cliff retired in 2017 and has barely paused to change gears. He plays tennis and badminton weekly. He is the treasurer of the Railtrail Committee. It’s hardly surprising he left the Community Bank to move on without him. However did he find the time for us?

Thank you for your continued contribution to our community. We wish you well.

Marg Lynn

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