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Honouring a local identity

Main: At his Yamba home in 2013, the late Trevor Phillips OAM is pictured with his portrait, which was presented to him to honour his 25 years of service as the Yamba Fire Brigade’s captain. File image: Jon Bunch. Inset: Current and past members of Yamba Fire and Rescue NSW, along with members from outside of the local area, paid their respects by forming a guard of honour for Trevor Phillips OAM at his funeral service at the Yamba’s St James Catholic Church. Image: Geoff Helisma.

The late Trevor Pedro Charles Phillips OAM made a difference to the lives of many people on the Lower Clarence – on Friday March 31 some of those people came together to pay their respects and say their farewells.
Mr Phillip’s volunteering and community service were rewarded at the highest level in 2013 when he was named an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) recipient on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Mr Phillips died aged 89 on March 19.
Following the OAM announcement, he told the Independent that he never had an expectation to receive such an award.
“Different people at different times have said, ‘You should get one of those.’
“I’ve been like, ‘Oh hell I will’.”
Mr Phillips was a fire fighter for 35 years and the Yamba brigade’s captain for 25 years; during this time he was given the rank of Honorary Fire Captain for Life.
He was a life member of the Yamba Surf Life Saving Club; dedicated flood rescue volunteer; long-serving member of the State Emergency Service; and, for around 30 years, worked with and in local government, including a term as a Maclean shire councillor from 1977 to 1995.
He was a life member of the Port of Yamba Historical Society, too, and volunteered for Rotary.
Meanwhile, he also worked as an oyster farmer and spent 15 years delivering the mail in Yamba and Iluka.
Back in 2013, after receiving his OAM, he told the Independent that his altruistic endeavours were inspired by other men in his family, mentioning his grandfather, Charlie Phillips, who immigrated to Australia from India.
“That’s what me grandfather done and me father done,” he said. “‘This country’s been good to us, be sure to give something back’, that’s what he [Charlie] always said to me – he was an old philosopher.”