Lifelong Upper Yarra resident passes

Graham Hetherton.

Don Valley resident Graham William Hetherton passed away peacefully on 28 May in George Town Hospital in Tasmania, where he had recently moved to be closer to family.

Graham, born 2 October 1942, lived in the Upper Yarra Valley all his life. He grew up in Don Valley with his mother Phillis, step father Sam and his four siblings. They went to school in the old Don Valley Hall.

He left school at the age of 13 and started work picking peas and beans and moving irrigation. He also worked on a dairy farm milking cows and at Rickerson’s farm picking up sticks and carting hay.

At the age of 14 he went to work for Ron Bulla in the quarry at Warburton. His step father got him a job at the Board of Works at the age 16. After working there for a couple of years he started to operate plant machinery, going on to be the best excavator operator you’ve ever seen. As he would say, anyone could drive an excavator but not everyone could operate one.

He loved his work and continued this for the next 24 years. Unfortunately Graham and his family were involved in a horrific car accident in 1980. Due to the injuries he sustained in the car accident he was forced to retire from work.

He was still able to do smaller jobs using his tractor and slasher. Most of you were probably held up or passed him somewhere along the Warburton Highway.

Graham used to say in his younger days, “Friday night was fight night. The local police officer Gill Smith used to take you out the back and give you a good hiding. Gill would say the Hetherton boys weren’t bad, just wild”.

Growing up in Don Valley, he loved to go fishing and swimming in the Yarra River, also walking through the paddocks ferreting and mushrooming with his siblings and friends.

He had a lifelong passion for his beloved Magpies which he passed on to his son Adam and Grandson Liam.

Graham was a very generous person who would do anything for his family and friends. He loved people’s company and he had a smile and a cheekiness about him that endeared him to all.

He was happily married to his wife Deanna for 54 years, as well as an amazing father/father in-law to Doris, Judith (dec), Barbara and Adam, Frank, Wayne and Lani. He was a fun loving pop to his eight grandchildren Catrina (Zac), Cristie (Jordan), Jayden, Emma, Dean, Kira, Dylan, Liam and great grandchildren Arya and Kobi (dec). He was very excited to hear the news of his third great grandchild arriving in November.

Deanna and her family would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for all their support with their lovely messages, cards and flowers.

Graham’s Life Celebration will be held on Wednesday 30 June at 11am at Heritage and Heritage Funerals, 1416 Healesville – Koo Wee Rup Rd, Woori Yallock.

The family would like to invite everybody to join them afterwards at the Upper Yarra RSL, 119 Settlement Road, Yarra Junction, pending Covid-19 restrictions.