By Kath Gannaway
The lead-up to 2018 has been saddened for many in the Warburton community by the tragic death of life-long resident Terry Palmer.
Terry, 66, was one of two motorcycle riders killed in a head-on collision on the Marysville-Woods Point Road out of Marysville on Wednesday, 27 December.
The identity of the other rider has not been released.
Know as ‘Terry the Toboggan Man’ and for his snow reports to the Visit Warburton tourism website, he was a memorable part of the Mt Donna Buang snow experience on and off the mountain.
A tribute on Visit Warburton facebook said Terry had been a great friend to Visit Warburton and to the Warburton community for many years.
“Every winter he supplied us with up-to-the-minute snow reports, a service he did voluntarily and from the heart to ensure everyone had a great experience in the snow,” the post said.
“Terry grew up in Warburton and he was passionate about our town and the mountain.
“We are unable to put words to the feeling of loss we have or the hole that he leaves.”
When the Mail spoke to Terry in 2005 he was finishing a five-year stint as caretaker of the deserted Sanitarium Weetbix factory where he had started work at 14 tipping trays of weetbix fresh out of the ovens on to the production line.
He was getting ready to auction a life-time collection of acquisitions.
He described himself as a ‘bower bird’ saying he had been moving stuff from one garage to the next until he moved into the Sanitarium factory with its seemingly unlimited space.
“I thought I was blessed, but now I think I’ve been cursed with too much shed space,” he quipped as he moved through his collection of cars, boats, a snowmobile, masses of engineering parts, antiques and other treasures.
One of the ‘collectibles’ was a generator which, through his involvement with an international children’s organisation, he was planning to get to a village in Cambodia.
Messages have poured in on Warburton social media sites expressing sadness at the sudden loss, paying tribute to Terry as a friendly, cheerful man with a big heart, and encouraging people to put out their toboggans in recognition of his contribution to the community.
“Winter won’t be the same without his up-to-dates and cheery nature”; “What an honourable man, hero and inspirational, the whole community is grieving”; “His snow reports were awesome”; “Such a nice man” and ‘Huge loss to our community” are among the many posts.
Mansfield Highway Patrol is investigating the circumstances around the collision and will be compiling report for the coroner. Anyone who witnessed the collision is asked to contact Mansfield Highway Patrol on 5775 2555.
A memorial service will be held at the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Warburton at 11am on Monday, 8 January.
The Mail extends condolences to Terry’s Warburton community, and to his family.