Vale John Gamblin

To: 'Bill Stent' <>, "" <>
Subject: Vale John Gamblin
From: Paul Dodd <>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 2016 08:37:41 +0000
Vale John.

John was a good friend and, as Bill said, the friendship started in an email
conversation many, many years ago.

John was generally known as "JAG", sometimes "JAG the wag" and occasionally
(by him) as "Penn Gwynne". His emails were generally at a tangent to any
conversation that was going on, and more often than not were completely off
the wall and unintelligible - but in an amusing, and sometimes hilarious

In recent years, John suffered that debilitating condition that seems to
affect a large proportion of elderly Australians - lack of money - which
severely cramped his ability to travel. So, rather than be thwarted by this,
he settled into his community at Hastings and participated strongly with the
local Men's Shed. He is perhaps best known, in recent years, for his
hand-raised Magpie, "Eggy". He was completely devoted to Eggy and her
offspring, and her offspring's offspring. I swear he knew them all, and they
knew him.

John was diagnosed with cancer in a lymph gland in his throat a few months
ago. Unfortunately by the time he found it and the diagnosis was in, the
cancer was throughout his body. He spent the last few weeks of his life at
the palliative care facility in Frankston where he managed to keep the staff
amused and on their toes. I swear he still had an eye for the nurses too.

I last saw JAG on Australia Day this year. He knew the end was rapidly
approaching, and the thing that he wanted the most was to have a final
Australia Day barbeque surrounded by friends. His family is scattered around
the world, with his 95 year old mother still living in the UK, and sisters
and half-brothers living as far afield as Canada.

Of course, we were all busy on Australia Day, we didn't have enough notice,
we had family events on and so forth. Slowly though, one-by-one everyone
changed their plans and we all made it to JAG's event. I suspect that we all
thought it would likely be the last time we would ever see him. Ruth was in
Tasmania fighting the bush fires and could not join us, so she joined us by
video call (see the rather poor photograph attached). I know that John was
happy that we all made it.

John was completely at peace with his fate. He knew precisely what was going
to happen to him (although not even he could predict the timing). The
hardest thing that he had to do was call his mum to tell her the news.

Au revoir, JAG. You will be missed.

Paul Dodd
Docklands, Victoria

-----Original Message-----
From: Birding-Aus  On Behalf Of
Bill Stent
Sent: Tuesday, 16 February 2016 6:19 PM
Subject: Vale John Gamblin

This morning our friend John Gamblin passed away, after a lengthy illness.

I first emailed John after having read one of his typically off-beat posts
to Birding-Aus.

The conversation lasted 15 years.

Like many of us, I can say I've never met anyone who had such a different
on-email and in-person demeanour.  Receiving emails from John was equal
parts hilarious and baffling. In person, John was thoughtful, lucid and
caring, but always with a Goon Show-esque sense of humour.

The moderation team were lucky enough to spend Australia Day with John, who
shouted us the entire barbecue. He was at that stage in palliative care, and
was in fine form.  He was just as chirpy on Saturday when I last saw him. He
was chuckling cheekily about the prospect of Tony Russell ever seeing the
Crested Honey-buzzard in Perth. I'm attaching a beautiful portrait of John
taken by Ruth on Australia Day. I hope Ruth doesn't mind.

Good bye, John, I am honoured to have been your friend.



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