The death of one of Queanbeyan’s iconic identities has prompted an outpouring of thoughts and dollars from the local community, who fondly called him “The Cowboy”.
Terry or “Tex” earned his moniker because of the iconic rodeo couture he wore for almost two decades.
Easily recognised by his unique dress sense, including a wide-brimmed hat, tight black trousers and big cowboy boots, he was a familiar sight on Queanbeyan’s streets. An injection of colourful T-shirts and skate sneakers came more recently.
Described as a man of minimal means, Terry is thought to have died over the weekend and was found by a friend at home on Monday (23 May).
Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) has been approached by his family to help raise funds for a funeral to lay Terry to rest.
QPRC Mayor Kenrick Winchester organised a GoFundMe page with a goal of $15,000. He posted it to the Queanbeyan Community Notice Board on Facebook on Monday. By the following day, more than $3000 had been raised.
Cr Winchester said Terry was a local identity.
“He just seemed to be one of those people you’d always see when you drove down the main street or ran into when you went to Riverside Plaza,” he said.
Terry was originally from New Zealand. His family moved to Queensland while he found himself in Queanbeyan.
Terry was known for his passion for global social and political issues, often calling into local businesses for a chat about current affairs.
It’s no surprise then that many Queanbeyan residents were shocked to hear he had been admitted to Queanbeyan Hospital on 8 May.
A post to the Queanbeyan Community Notice Board revealed he had fallen head-first into the pavement in the car park at The Q. Two passers-by rushed to help.
He was later transferred to The Canberra Hospital before an update on 12 May reported he was back at home and resting.
“The old fella isn’t well,” Andrew Turner’s post read. “Have spoken with Housing who are doing welfare checks on him and will connect him to other support agencies … Thanks to all that have asked about him. He had a big smile when I told him.”
Sadly, however, Terry was found dead in his home on Monday morning.
Cr Winchester said Terry’s brother was arriving from Queensland on Tuesday, to organise the cremation and public funeral with Tobin Brothers.
“The funeral details will be up to the family. We’ll just hand over the money.”
He said the community was “very shattered by the news”.
“Everyone is very shocked. A lot of people added their thoughts and donated.”
Local Perry Kingston-Lee remembered catching up with Terry at the plaza.
“A most patriotic Kiwi, we’d sometimes go see his beloved Crusaders Rugby Union team when they played Canberra,” his comment read.
“Spent many times having deep discussions about world events, space, aero, and automotive technologies, plus the odd conspiracy theory and especially our love of alternative and electronic music. He was a man far more intelligent than most gave him credit for. It was so sad to see his health decline the way it did, so quickly, him becoming so frail and barely recognisable.”
Benny Cooper noted: “Tex was an awesome character, and the best gardener. Loved a few beers and a good old chat.”
“A Queanbeyan icon – the town won’t be the same,” says another. “A true gentleman of town and a sad day for our community.”
To donate to Terry’s funeral costs, visit the GoFundMe page.