Long-serving OC Connections volunteer, Mr David Hawkes, passed away on 29 October 2020.
David played an important role in the success of OC Connections from when we were known as the Oakleigh Centre through to our current rebranding.
David started volunteering at OC Connections (then the Oakleigh Centre) in September 1964, one week after arriving in Melbourne from London. David’s daughter, Valerie, was a participant at the Centre.
David joined the “Fathers Maintenance Saturday Group” and volunteered for the centre’s Maintenance department weekly up until 2008. For 20 years, David was responsible for the 6-8 volunteers who regularly attended to maintenance jobs within the Centre, including hanging pictures, painting walls, cleaning windows, and putting up fences.
David always assisted when available at OC Connections’ fundraising events, including setting up large fetes, family and working bee picnics and ‘trash and treasure markets’ in the earlier days. David was actively involved in the Christmas Tree Fundraiser for over 35 years as well as our Golf Day event where he was famous for judging the ‘Nearest the Pin’ competition.
David would come to the centre at 4:30 AM on a Monday to clean and maintain the fleet of vehicles used to drive clients to their weekly activities. If a driver could not come to work, David would fill-in driving clients to their destination, then he would go to work in the Centre Nursery propagating plants for sale.
Over the many years of his association with OC Connections, David’s assistance has been invaluable. In 2004, David was awarded a ‘Life Membership’ to OCC for outstanding service to the Centre.
In 2010 David received the Caroline Chisholm Award presented by the Federal Member for Chisholm in Victoria, in recognition of the outstanding work of volunteers in the community.
In 2014 David was honoured with the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award for his significant contribution and outstanding commitment.
In an interview with the Herald Sun on receiving the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award David said, “I don’t call it volunteering, I have different wording for it. I call it people helping people. It gives you things like peace, you get happiness, a good feeling, and you are relating to people.”
David epitomised the ethos of volunteering, cultivating values such as solidarity, reciprocity, mutual trust, belonging and empowerment. Therese Desmond, CEO of OC Connections, says “David’s outstanding contribution over many years was highly valued, but he was also a beautiful man who will be sadly missed.”
David’s pastoral carer shared a fitting tribute on the news of David’s passing. “David was a remarkable human whose life reached and touched many hearts along his life journey.”
David’s funeral was held on Friday 6 November at Renowden Chapel at Springvale Cemetery. OC Connections through CEO Therese Desmond was invited to pay tribute to Dave. She acknowledged his significant contribution and long term, meaningful connection to the organisation.
Photo top of page: David with wife, Betty, receiving the Premier’s Volunteer of the Year, Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Award from Denis Napthine in 2014.
Photo bottom of page: David, Valerie and Betty Hawkes and local dignitaries planting the Dame Elizabeth Murdoch rose donated by Dave to OC Connections at his award ceremony in 2015.