Following decades of active contributions to the Maitland community, former councillor and mayor Ray Fairweather still feels like there's more to do.
Mr Fairweather is a fierce advocate for the Maitland CBD, our roads and Walka Water Works, where he was once known as Mr Walka for his dedication to the grounds.
Mr Fairweather was instrumental in forming a public trust to take care of the historic site and worked there for almost 20 years, taking part in countless initiatives including construction of the mini railway, the caretaker's cottage and the workshop.
As chairman of the trust, Mr Fairweather helped turn it into the attraction it is today, providing a place for picnics, train rides, weddings, walks and functions.
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Mr Fairweather and his wife, Ada's Maitland home is kept busy with their big family regularly coming to visit, including their four children - Stephen, Christine, Tony and Karen, nine grandchildren and eight grandchildren.
Mr and Mrs Fairweather recently celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary in lockdown and according to Mr Fairweather, having a family is the secret to a long and happy marriage.
"I think it's family really that is the glue," he said.
Before Walka Water Works and before Maitland Council, Mr Fairweather was Deputy Superintendent of Maitland Gaol where he was responsible for high profile criminals.
"Being maximum security we had some of the worst criminals in the state, so it was a challenge - but I don't mind a challenge."
From 1977 to 2012, Mr Fairweather served on Maitland City Council and is Maitland's longest serving councillor.
Mr Fairweather served a term as Mayor in 1990-91, and said for him it was never about politics.
"It was never about political ambition, it was about making a difference for Maitland, to make it a better city.
"I sometimes drive around and say to my wife 'that's what I managed to get through Council for Maitland' and she says 'you keep telling me that every time we drive past'."
Mr Fairweather's proudest achievement while on council was in the early 1980s when he motioned to spend some money the council had made from selling the Maitland abattoirs.
This motion resulted in council working on a new senior citizens hall, a new community hall in Thornton, Chapman Oval's amenities building and Fieldsend Oval's amenities building.
"It sometimes pays a little to gain a little - in this case I gave a lot to gain a little," he said.
Mr Fairweather has always been passionate about Maitland's roads, battling over the years for upgrades and repairs.
Showing their sense of humour, the Maitland City Council gifted Mr Fairweather a caricature of himself standing in the middle of a highway for Christmas one year.
"The inference there was I've always been a fighter for better roads in Maitland," said Mr Fairweather.
Mr Fairweather has been retired from council for nine years now, but is still battling to get things done.
"There's a lot of infrastructure I'd like to think is still going to happen and it's frustrating the time things take.
"I have a passion for Maitland's CBD and I've made a lot of comments trying to promote it over the years, Ada and I make it our business to shop in central Maitland as much as possible to support the business community there."
Over the years Mr Fairweather has received much recognition for his public service with numerous medals and awards to his name.
Some of Mr Fairweather's recognition includes the Australian National Medal for Public Service in 1987, the Local Government Association of NSW Long Service Medal in 2000, the Australian Centenary Medal in 2003, Maitland City Australia Day Citizen of the Year in 1995, the Pride of Workmanship from East Maitland Rotary in 1986, Certificates of appreciation from Maitland and Rutherford Lions Clubs in 1996 and 2000.
Mr Fairweather has dedicated so much of his career to Maitland because he thinks it's a great place with great people.
"I think the people of Maitland are really good people who like to enjoy the open spaces we provide," he said.
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