Gavin Jones: trailblazer

DEVASTATING: Gavin Jones will be remembered as an inspirational person, and a champion for Aboriginal Australia.

DEVASTATING: Gavin Jones will be remembered as an inspirational person, and a champion for Aboriginal Australia.

"It takes a truly special soul to change the way we view ourselves, and the world around us…" - Jake Keane

Gavin Jones: 1966-2014

Tributes flow in for Gavin Jones - visionary and leader

THE community is reeling at the loss of Vibe Australia founder and Aboriginal rights advocate Gavin Jones, found dead at his Goulburn property on Saturday morning.

Described as a crazy genius, a visionary and shining light, Mr Jones was the founder and director of Deadly Vibe Magazine, a national publication whose staff operated predominately from Montague Street offices.

He established the annual Deadly Awards – an Australiawide event dedicated to showcasing the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Mr Jones was 47.

Police would not comment on his death in detail, but confirmed a brief was being compiled for the coroner.

The news stunned both the Goulburn community and those further afield.

“Gavin was the most generous, humble, warm-hearted man I have ever had the privilege of calling my friend,” a devastated Alfie Walker, Goulburn Mulwaree councillor and proud Aboriginal man, said.

“He was not only the chairperson of our Local Aboriginal Land Council community, he was considered a leader within the wider Aboriginal community and mentor to many.

“Not a day will go by that my wife and I will not miss and love this amazing, gentle man.” Goulburn Mulwaree mayor Geoff Kettle agrees.

“Gavin’s passing is a tragic loss, not only for the community of Goulburn, but to Australia,” Cr Kettle said.

“Gavin’s dedication through the work of his company Vibe Australia in bridging the gap between Aboriginal Australia and the general community at large is to be commended.

“On behalf of the Goulburn Mulwaree community, I convey my heart-felt sympathies to both Gavin’s family and extended family. He will be truly missed, but I believe his legacy will live on.” Mr Jones was born on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal and Gundungurra people in Goulburn.

Upon finishing school, he accepted a cadetship with the Goulburn Post newspaper before completing a communications degree through the University of Canberra in 1989.

It was the beginning of a Ground-breaking career. Mr Jones founded Deadly Vibe in 1993 under the mission statement:

“To support all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in reaching their full potential by providing positive imagery, identifiable role models and quality media to improve community and quality of life.”

The company achieved its goal – and much more.

Staff last December celebrated the publication of Deadly Vibe magazine’s 200th edition. Work colleagues past and present yesterday lined-up to pay tribute to their boss, mentor and above all, friend. “He was a good friend and a great guy. A crazy genius. His loss leaves a huge hole in the community,” journalist David Cole said.

"Indigenous Australia has lost a champion this week. Vale Gavin Jones, he will be sadly missed…" - Troy Cassar-Daley

Deadly Vibe editor Jake Keane used Facebook to praise his friend.

“People of the ilk of a Gavin Jones come along very rarely in this life,” Mr Keane wrote.

“People who make our lives better, our world better, purely through the largesse of their love, compassion, warmth and kindness, their burning and endless passion that pushes and reshapes the limits of what we once thought was possible, or once consigned ourselves to believe.

“It takes a truly special soul to change the way we view ourselves, and the world around us. I was blessed to have met a man like Gavin Jones, to have him in my life, as a mentor, a brother and most importantly, as a dear friend.”

Colleague Madeline Hayman on Monday night wrote: “You were so much more than just my boss, and Vibe was so much more than just work.

“You were caring, generous, exuberant, an amazing entrepreneur and a beautiful person inside and out. Deadly Vibe was like a second family to me.”

"Gavin was the most generous, humble, warm-hearted man I have ever had the privilege of calling my friend…" - Cr Alfie Walker

Member for Hume Angus Taylor said “Goulburn, Indigenous Australia, indeed all of Australia, will mourn him and miss him.”

“I got to know him as an incredibly decent, visionary, caring and passionate individual and leader,” he said.

“He was a gem, because he was able to lead and inspire others, as few can. His primary motivation was to make a difference to the world around him.”

Details of Mr Jones’ funeral were yet to be finalised at time of going to press.

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