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Vale John Davis: "A powerhouse for Orange"

October 31, 2023

By Peter Holmes

Orange's longest-serving mayor John Davis has died.

After being admitted to hospital recently, Davis - in his 70s - returned home to receive palliative care and died on Monday.

Orange mayor Jason Hamling, who viewed Davis as a mentor and a "second father", was devastated by the news.

Speaking to The Orange News Examiner on Tuesday morning, Hamling said Davis "taught me that your family comes first, second, third and last".

"He was committed to Orange and put it at the forefront. He was such a great mentor and like a second father to me. I'm going to miss him."

Hamling last spoke to Davis on Monday.

Flags at Orange City Council chambers were flying at half mast.

Hamling - who came onto Orange City Council nearly 20 years ago as part of Davis's ticket - recalled trips he took with his mentor on council business.

"I have some great memories of travelling with John, he loved his rugby league," Hamling said. "He was the coach of the Blayney Bears , and we'd often talk about football.

"He had a really good sense of humour and was a very funny man. He taught me a lot about local government. I watched him through many, many meetings. I'm lost for words."

Davis - known to many as JD - was described by councillor Jeff Whitton as a sold Labor man.

"JD turned the mayorship into a full-time job, and he focused on the big stuff - Aquatic Centre, Newcrest, the pipeline, the museum, the PCYC. He did stuff full-on, and he was good at getting money for Orange from politicians. He was a powerhouse for Orange."

Whitton said Davis was "well respected on both sides of politics", evidenced by the fact he was repeatedly re-elected as mayor.

"I had the greatest respect for John - we didn't always agree, many things we didn't agree on, but it was always in the chamber. What happens in the chamber stays in the chamber. He was a businessman, a community man and a family man."

State MP Phil Donato described Davis's death as "incredibly sad news".

"John Davis is well known for his long-established and respected car dealership, and for his long and dedicated service as councillor of both the Orange and Blayney councils, where he served as mayor - a civic service spanning three decades.

"There isn’t enough space to fully capture John’s achievements or pay proper tribute, but John’s legacy will include his patronage of Western Care Western NSW, and a support of the organisation since it commenced.

"On the 10th anniversary of Western Care Lodge, John was recognised for his dedication as patron and fundraiser and the staggering financial support he has provided to this important local organisation. Western Care Lodge was established in Orange to address the deficiencies of cancer services in regional NSW to that of metropolitan cities.

"John was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for his work in supporting Cancer Care Western NSW and Western Care Lodge. John was also recognised for his involvement in establishment of the radiotherapy alliance with Orange City Council in 2006.

"John had immense generosity and was an incredibly humble man, who sought no recognition for what he gave to his community.

"My heartfelt condolences to John’s family, friends and the wider Orange community who grieve John’s passing."


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