General News

25 February, 2024

A fond farewell to a community stalwart

Community advocate David Eltringham bids farewell to Horsham next week, satisfied in the knowledge that his contributions have helped to make the city a better place to live.

By Caitlin Menadue

David Eltringham and wife Julie at home.
David Eltringham and wife Julie at home.

Best known in recent years for his involvement with the Tidy Town committee and his tireless work in promoting the city's image, he was also instrumental in lobbying for the redevelopment of the CBD and moving the livestock exchange to its new site.

But such is his passion for unfinished business that he said he could not face the prospect of staying in Horsham any longer.

"I can't retire here," he said. "There's too much to do."

Mr Eltringham, who turned 80 in December, is now planning a quieter time with his wife of 40 years, Julie, in her hometown of Mildura.

He has spent all of his working life involved in community work, starting out in local government at Dandenong as deputy engineer at the Sherbrooke shire.

"You get so much out of it," Mr Eltringham said.

He has been involved in the CFA for more than 55 years, as well as the Horsham Community and Police Consultative Committee for 25 years.

And he has had a few "run-ins" with Horsham Rural City Council over the years, frustrated at times with some of its shortcomings.

"All councillors need to be aware of community issues," he said.

He campaigned for rural schoolchildren to have bus shelters, and for them to have access to facilities similar to those enjoyed by children living in urban areas.

Another pet project was pushing for the restoration of the Dooen landfill tipping ground, which helped add another 40-plus years to its life.

Mr Eltringham also is a big fan of air transport and would dearly like to see regional flights established between Horsham and Melbourne.

"It would be an economic boon for the community," he said.

But he remains disappointed at the inaction over the proposed Western Highway realignment to divert trucks around Horsham, a project for which he was a big advocate.

He said the concept hadn't been discussed properly and was nowhere near being achieved.

"It'll take over 10 years to happen," he said.

Perhaps his proudest achievement of all is raising his two daughters, Emma and Sophie, who are both in their early 30s.

Now living in London and Perth respectively, they were also heavily involved in Kalkee Netball Club when they were growing up in the Wimmera.

"They're doing great things now because of their involvement in the Horsham community," Mr Eltringham said. "That set them up for life."

Sophie was awarded the Young Citizen of the Year title in 2007.

Mr Eltringham described himself as interested in the community and very much over the top of keeping everything tidy.

When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said: "If they can remember what the CBD was, they will remember me.

"What we have achieved is a good legacy. I will be happy with that.

"I've had wonderful times with wonderful people. Every day has been worthwhile in Horsham."


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