It is with deep sadness that I’m communicating here news of the recent death of Jeremy Gilling, a longtime activist, writer, journalist and editor, who always placed a high priority on human rights.
If you would like to share in paying tribute to Jeremy, his life will be honoured at a gathering of friends and family, 2 – 5 pm on Thursday March 7 at the Concordia Club, Tempe. (See below for the address in full.)
All who knew and loved him are welcome to attend.
Jeremy was an outstanding person, known for his piercing mind, kind heart and gentle manner. He was a person of principle and a worker for the Labor movement, holding life membership of the party at the time of his death last month at the age of 70.
He has recently been acknowledged by the ALP as a community leader, having worked selflessly in many progressive struggles, such as the campaign to build public housing at Morts Dock in Balmain.
As early as the 1960s, he took a leading role in the anti-conscription campaigns and protests against the Vietnam War, a political position which was proven over time to be the will of the majority of Australians, when Australia withdrew from occupation of the country in 1973, followed by the United States’ withdrawal two years later.
According to an interview Jeremy gave in a documentary held in the Australian War Memorial Archives – titled ‘Hell No We won’t Go’- he was called up in 1967 and applied for Conscientious Objector status but this was refused when he made opposition to the Vietnam War the central focus of his objection. In 1969 he was jailed, then again in 1970. In 1971 he argued the same defence and was granted Conscientious Objector status.
Jeremy’s jailing was clear evidence of his determination to stand up for his principles of human justice.
Jeremy was also known for his love of maths & stats, language, grammar and punctuation. He loved cricket, and played a mean game of ten-pin bowling. Jeremy was a speechwriter for Bob Hawke and the Minister for Veterans Affairs, Senator Arthur Gietzelt AO, and later worked as an editor at The Australian newspaper. More recently he worked as a freelance journalist and was editor of AUSIT, the national journal of the Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators Inc.
He spent more than 40 years in several branches of the ALP, serving as President of the Balmain and Pyrmont-Ultimo branches, Secretary of the Annandale branch, and Treasurer of the Kings Cross branch. He stood on Bill Brady’s 1987 Local Government anti-corruption ticket for Leichhardt.
Jeremy’s struggle with brain cancer extended for almost five years, following surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy. His decision towards the end of the illness to donate his brain for research to the Brain Bank at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital’s Brain and Mind Institute was just another example of his rational, intelligent approach to life and death, without showing false sentimentality and with a view for the greater good of the community.
Jeremy Gilling was the Chair of the Advisory Committee for Sydney School of Arts & Humanities, and will be sorely missed, for his ethical advice as well as his acute manuscript proofreading skills based on his professional, patient and perfectionist approach.
He is survived by his partner Kim Ross, and members of the Gilling family: three sisters, Tracy, Rebecca, Jane and Fiona; his brother, Patrick; his father, Doug; and his son, Darcy.
The details for Jeremy’s wake: Thursday 7 March, between 2 and 5 pm, at the Concordia Club (otherwise known as the German Club), Mackay Park, Richardson Crescent, Tempe.
Parking is available and the club is directly across from Tempe railway station.
Copyright ssoa.com.au: AWM reference www.awm.gov.au/collection/C2121962; photos Unsplash & supplied by friends.