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A state farewell for Cobar’s lady Mayor

Police District Commander Andrew Hurst with Bourke Mayor Barry Hollman, Corporate Services Manager Leonie Brown and Councillor Cecil Dorrington at Lilliane Brady’s state funeral in Cobar. Photo TWH

Cobar’s shops were closed, and the streets deserted as the community gathered to farewell their beloved Mayor, Lilliane Brady on Friday.

As New South Wales’ longest serving female mayor, Lilliane was honoured with a state funeral, attended by federal, state, and local politicians, family, friends, colleagues, and residents in a moving - and at times humorous – ceremony.

Member for Parkes and Minister for Regional Health and Local Government Mark Coulton represented the Prime Minister. Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Member for Barwon, Roy Butler represented the NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and many former and current mayors from across the state attended.

Her three adult children spoke lovingly of a tough but inspiring mother, of a woman who loved her life on the land, her role as a doctor’s wife, mother, and nanna, but whose love of Cobar and its people was what truly drove her.

They told of her love of horse racing and hats, of fast cars and fancy shoes and despite her diminutive frame, they said, she was a force to be reckoned with.

“When Dad came to Cobar as a locum doctor, he called Mum and asked her to pack her bags and follow him,” daughter Suzanne said.

“She told him there was no point packing, she wasn’t staying. Well, she came for a year and stayed for 51. She loved Cobar and its people,” she said.

Without question, Mayor Brady was a champion for the rights of her residents, for the elderly and ill who received better medical care because of her fundraising efforts, for the mining community, the farmers and the ordinary people of the bush.

Daughter Deirdre recounted how her mother was fond of the descriptive expletive which she used often to bully more funds out of wilting state and federal politicians.

She described how her mother showed her love not with gentle words but fearless deeds, recalling an incident when her beloved horse had been found dead and decomposing by a creek.

“Mum picked up every piece of the body and buried it.

“Now, I loved that horse but there’s no way I could have done that. Mum did that - for me,” she said.

Her son Pally spoke of his mother’s love for her children and grandchildren and how fiercely protective she was of her family.

“I remember one time I was playing footy in Western Australia and mum was watching the game.

“I got knocked out and when I came to, I could see mum laying into this bloke with her handbag. She’d jumped the fence and was into him.

“I think I was the only bloke in the Esperance league who got suspended for what his mother did,” Pally said.

Cobar Shire Council General Manager Peter Vlatko gave an engaging account of his time serving with the remarkable mayor.

Read more local news in the printed edition of The Western Herald.

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