A MAN with deep roots in the Shoalhaven farming community will be farewelled today.
A funeral service for Tom Newing, 82, of Nowra and Pyree, who passed away on January 5, will be held at the Shoalhaven Memorial Gardens Chapel at Worrigee at noon.
Mr Newing was born in Nowra in 1931, the eldest of six children and was raised by his parents Roy and Myra on the Netherburn property at Pyree owned by Alan Hodgkinson.
It was there his love for the land developed and was something that would remain with him for the rest of his life.
Growing up on the farm he was regularly in the dairy, as his wife and life partner of 64 years Mary put it, “I think as soon as he could carry a bucket he was in the dairy.”
His links to the land went back to his great grandfather, Thomas, who built the stone walls around the Kiama district, while his grandfather also farmed at Berry.
“Tom grew up on the land, he had a love for farming and in particular Friesian [Holstein] cattle,” Mrs Newing said.
“I think Friesian milk ran through his veins.”
He worked at Netherburn after leaving school and when he married Mary (nee McClelland) in 1952 they farmed at Banool, which Mr Hodgkinson also owned at Pyree Lane.
The couple farmed the property and raised their four children there for 34 years until it was sold.
After 15 of those years they built a home in Nowra, one of the first homes to be built in Elder Crescent, but continued to farm at Pyree.
When the farm sold he moved into work classifying stud cattle with the Holstein Friesian Association of Australia.
For the next 12 years he travelled the country classifying cattle.
“He went to every state except the Northern Territory as they didn’t have any dairies,” Mrs Newing said.
There he built up a reputation in the industry as being tough but fair.
“He was nicknamed TT [Tough Tom] by many of the farmers but he believed in giving the cattle what they deserved, not what the farmer wanted,” Mrs Newing said.
“And he was respected for that.”
He was also heavily involved with the Nowra Show Society.
He showed Netherburn cattle for many years and then became part of the show committee, both judging and stewarding at the cattle section of the show.
He also oversaw the combined point score across seven local shows in the South Coast District, which would determine the area’s most successful cattle breeder.
When younger he was also involved with junior farmers, where he was a vice-president and won a NSW ploughing competition in 1961, later competing all over the country.
He also acted as a judge and recorder at ploughing competitions until recent years and also played cricket locally and was an all-rounder with the legendary Pyree Club.
His other passion was growing orchids and upon retirement became heavily involved with the local orchid society where he was a life member.
A successful exhibitor, his beautiful plants won a number of show ribbons.
His home boasted large garden areas including two huge orchid houses which housed more than 400 plants.
Family also played a big role in his life and along with Mary they would spend lots of time visiting their four children at their various homes across the country.
This year would have marked the 64th anniversary from the couple’s first date, which just happened to be at the Nowra Show.
“It was a popular meeting place at the corner of the pavilion at the Nowra Showground at show time and I think a lot of local couples met there,” Mrs Newing said.
When he was diagnosed with cancer about 18 months ago he declined treatment saying “he had had 80 good years” and it was only during the past 12 months that his health really declined.
He is survived by Mary, and is the father and father-in-law of Glen and Sylvie, Carol and Andrew, Gary and Lela and Malcolm and Nicola, the adored pop to 12 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren and brother of Isabelle, Iris, Doug, Yvonne and Lyn.