From Lyle and Helen Kent
We first met John and Robyn Forrester in 1991, during our first year of travel to Outback cattle stations of the North/West of Australia.
We and our four sons, Ben, Daniel, Jamie and Paul and our pet dog Jock pulled into Meda Station, near Derby, Western Australia, where John Forrester was the manager. He’d agreed to “give Lyle a go” at repairing a backlog of saddle and leather gear repairs which he himself, a trained saddle maker and leather worker, had been too busy to get to.
We were grateful for 4 weeks of work and a place in which to settle, at least for a time.
At Meda, John and Robyn and their 3 year old son, Ben, offered us generous hospitality and it was the beginning of a long friendship; one which was easily rekindled at various times and places throughout Western Australia. We were delighted when their daughter Amelia was born, and we’ve maintained a mutual interest in our respective kids’ rapid journeys from childhood to adulthood.
Our last meeting with John was in July 2019 at Rocklea Station in the Pilbara of Western Australia. A previous diagnosis of cancer was in no way preventing John from active involvement with the running of the station and he was facing his health challenges with courage and cheerfulness. His broad smile broke out continually during conversation, reflecting his characteristic and consistent optimism and positive attitude.
In March 2020, John Forrester came to the end of his long and hard-fought battle with cancer. A memorial service was held on Friday July 31st, 2020.
He, his dear wife Robyn and children Ben and Amelia would be regarded as West Australians through and through and John will be sadly missed, not only by his devoted family, but by many people whose lives he touched and impacted.
He was a practical visionary and during his interesting life he made the most of every moment. In a conversation which we recorded in 2018, he was typically transparent. He stated that “The best thing about my years of working in and out of the livestock industry has been the people, the welfare of the cattle and the country.”
We will remember and honour John Forrester as a man who lived according to his convictions. We are certain that his belief in the value of hard work and integrity, a belief which he committed to instil into the lives of young people under his leadership, will be his legacy for generations to come.