Vale Ross Swayne OAM

Vale Ross Swayne OAM

KESAB Board and Staff are saddened by the passing of Ross Swayne OAM.

Ross was the South Australian legend pioneering the KESAB Tidy Towns Awards, engaging rural and regional communities he loved so much for over 30 years.

Ross inaugurated the Keep Australia Beautiful Australian Tidy Towns Program, guiding all participating State and Territory communities to improve the built and natural environment.

Ross with members of the Yangunbi community, NT finalists, in the 1990 Australian Tidy Towns Awards

Ross with KESAB Founder and Patron Colin Hill AM

Towns, councils, community groups and schools will remember Ross’s contribution as an articulate Tidy Towns Judge, for his never ending hours behind the wheel travelling thousands of kilometres visiting every entrant and for making many lifelong friends through the journey.

It is quite possible that no one knew regional and rural SA better than Ross as he watched and recorded significant change during the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and the start of the new millennium. In fact it is likely he visited every single community in SA over his 3 decades with the Tidy Towns program.

Each year Ross would visit hundreds of regional communities across the state, spending time with locals hearing about new projects in town, inspecting parks and gardens, learning from enthusiastic students and casting his judges eye over every aspect of towns.

Ross’s judging reports were legendary, with no detail left out, and more often than not they were published word for word in the local newspapers.

Ross ensured that along with his reports came constructive suggestions and even future opportunities for towns to investigate.

Ross with Mayor Steve Perryman, City of Mount Gambier in 2007, with the tree planted in appreciation of Ross’s contribution to Mount Gambier via the Tidy Towns program

So many stories and part of South Australia’s legacy are lost with the passing of Ross. He will always be remembered fondly by the KESAB staff and Board, as well as many other South Australians.



Posted in Community, South Australia, Sustainable Communities

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11 comments on “Vale Ross Swayne OAM
  1. Ian Roberts says:

    This is truly a sad day for SA. He was a legend in rural South Australia. His happy countenance, his memories of names & personalities across the state was astounding. He was a man much loved by us all, not to mention his contribution to “cleaning up” the State towns & roadsides. My thoughts go to his family & all who knew him & to the KESAB staff with whom he worked.

  2. Margaret &Brendan Rowett says:

    Ross has left an amazing legacy with what he helped to achieve at Kesab

  3. Anne Green says:

    Sorry to see this. Ross was amazing; remembered so much about every town he visited, from one year to the next. Condolences to his family, friends and all who knew him through KESAB.

  4. John Coombe OAM says:

    In my role as a council CEO I had many dealings with Ross over a number of years. He was a true gentleman and made everybody around him feel relaxed and at ease. His passion was infectious and he had and made time for everyone he had dealings with. A man who has left his mark with so many who have benefited from meeting him.
    Rest in peace dear friend.

  5. Tiffany Bermingham says:

    Fitting tribute and nicely worded, will be sadly missed. Tireless supporter of KESAB. Will always be remembered. Tiffany Bermingham – KESAB Board Member

  6. D'Arcy Button says:

    A great Legacy left by a man who’s passion was to help communities KEEP

  7. Ros Breeding says:

    The Yunta community mourns the passing of Ross who befriended so many outback people. His encouragement of community pride has indeed left its mark on our small towns. Sympathy to his family and many friends.

  8. Peter and Deb Fell says:

    We have fond memories of Ross’s visits on his KESAB duties and were always delighted with his reports.
    He had the ability to see the positive and potential in everything.

  9. Carol Cornish says:

    Ross inspired thousands of school children, families and staff to care for and improve their environments. We will be sadly missed.

  10. Dijana Jevremov says:

    I worked with Ross in the office as a fellow KESAB employee. I feel so fortunate to have experienced his dedication and esteem in the office. He had time for us all. When he was around and not travelling, it was full steam preparation for the next round of trips. It was a consuming role he loved. There was never enough lunch break time to hear his stories that he enjoyed relaying. He truly was a one of a kind man and colleague. I have my memories but more time with Ross will stay as an experience unfulfilled. RIP my friend.

  11. Only just read this while looking on the KESAB site for information. Saddened to learn of the passing of Ross, a true gentleman. A community educator and mentor who was supportive and encouraging of the people of Mount Gambier I’m so, so many ways.

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