Graeme Crayford, former
Scotland Island resident, president of the fire
brigade, SIRA committee member and coordinator of
the community vehicle, has died aged 73.
Graeme moved to the island in 2007, buying a house
just a few doors away from Bell Wharf. He had
retired some years earlier, having been a
communications engineer for Telstra. Before coming
to the island Graeme had lived and worked in
on active duty with the fire brigade
It rapidly became obvious that Graeme was eager to
contribute to community life. Bill Gye, SIRA
president at the time, quickly identified Graeme’s
organisational potential. ‘I managed to persuade him
to join the SIRA committee’, says Bill. ‘He clearly
had a lot to offer: politically astute and
well-informed, and committed to the fabric of island
For the rest of his time on the island Graeme
maintained an involvement in SIRA. He was a member
of its Roads and Drainage sub-committee, headed by
Sharon Kinnison. ‘He was a splendid man’, remembers
Sharon. ‘His contributions to committee discussions
were often spot on. He was a clear thinker, a great
But it will be through his contributions to Scotland
Island fire brigade that Graeme is best remembered.
Graeme qualified as a firefighter in 2012. Around
that time the brigade was setting up its Community
First Responder (CFR) unit to deal with medical
emergencies. According to its leader, Ian White,
Graeme was one of the first to qualify for the CFR
team. ‘He was always one of the first to put up his
hand for a CFR call. And he was still attending
medical emergencies well into his 70s.’
regularly served behind the bar at fire
Besides being a member of the CFR team, Graeme was
involved in firefighting activities. ‘He was one of
our most active operational members’, says Captain
Peter Lalor. ‘Graeme was almost always one of the
crew responding to bushfires, boat fires, trees down
and medical emergencies on and around the island’.
Graeme won several brigade awards, including ‘member
of the year’.
Besides his operational involvement in the brigade,
Graeme contributed administratively. He became vice
president in 2013, then president in 2015, a
position he held until August 2021, when he left the
island. It says something about Graeme’s commitment
to the brigade that he was still chairing a brigade
AGM on his last day on the island, rushing to catch
his last ferry ride at the end of the meeting.
One particular contribution to community life stands
out. For around 10 years Graeme, along with other
brigade members, but especially Nathalie and Julian
Muir, helped organise dozens of fire shed dinners.
Just about anyone attending a dinner over the last
decade will remember Graeme serving behind the bar.
But a lot of his involvement was behind the scenes,
including shopping for food and drink for each
What Graeme gave to community life went well beyond
the fire brigade. Starting in 2011, Graeme drove the
community vehicle, and for the last seven years he
was vehicle coordinator. Cass Gye remembers him as a
‘wonderful, generous human being, a good friend to
many, and a well respected and loved community
Graeme' by Gwyn Perkins,
given to Graeme in gratitude for his
services as driver and coordinator of
the community vehicle
Despite these many contributions to island life
Graeme was, in many respects, a very private man.
Reserved and unassuming, many will remember him
jogging around the island in his trademark white
shirt, black shorts and cap, or stretching tired
muscles on Tennis Wharf.
The outpouring of grief on Facebook is a measure of
the island’s love for Graeme. ‘He knew the spirit of
community’, comments Melanie Marshall. ‘A revered
member of our great community’, says David
Wagner-mccullough. He was an ‘absolute gentleman’,
according to Matt Blackwood; ‘the quiet achiever who
loved helping out’, writes Lisa Jane. Many met the
news of his passing with shock.
Graeme moved away from the island in August 2021,
when he bought a unit on McMahons Point. ‘He loved
his new home’, says Julian Muir, who feels honoured
to have counted himself among Graeme’s closest
Leader, volunteer, helper, rescuer, mate and mentor:
Graeme was many things to many people.
It’s hard to exaggerate both his practical and
emotional impact on the island. Perhaps that’s
because, in the words of Ian White, ‘Graeme did