A LIFE WELL LIVED: Kevin Hockey was happy his big brother Max could join him for his 90th birthday.
A LIFE WELL LIVED: Kevin Hockey was happy his big brother Max could join him for his 90th birthday. Contributed

Hockey looking back

IT'S been a busy time for the two elder statesmen of the Monto-based Hockey family, with former mayor Kev Hockey celebrating his 90th birthday while his brother Max made it onto ABC's Landline.

The two brothers, who had not caught up in some time, were treated to a dinner at Cafe Delicious by the rest of the family in celebration of Kev's 90th birthday.

A week later, 101-year-old Max would make national TV sharing the story of his continued work on his 10,000ha cattle property.

"It's the luck of the draw - I have never been crook, never been sick much,” he told ABC regarding his long run.

The year has been hard for Kevm however; in March of this year, he lost his beloved wife Mavis, days before what would have been her 91st birthday.

Though it was difficult for him, Kev looked back on the last of his 68 years with Mavis fondly.

"We had a good life together, and I remember what she said on her 90th birthday: 'We started married life with very little but we ended up pretty good', which I agree with after my 90 years,” Kev said.

Financially, the couple didn't have much when they married in 1949; Kev worked with Max at a sawmill in Abercorn until he was forced to give it up due to arthritis.

After that, they bought a dairy farm at Bancroft in 1954, where he has lived ever since.

Though he enjoyed farming and working on the mill, the biggest highlight of Kev's life was his 33 years in local government, 15 of which were spent as chairman and mayor of Monto.

During his tenure, he received an Medal of the Order of Australia for his work in the community.

"I was quite proud of that award because I didn't enter local government to win prizes, I went in to try and help the community,” Kev said.

"People who nominated me probably thought I was deserving through the work I'd done, because there's a lot you do behind the scenes that people don't see.”

Kev's political career took in the beginning of the amalgamation of town shires into what we now know as the North Burnett Regional Council by then-Queensland premier Peter Beattie, which he did not agree with.

"I felt the death knell of little towns like Monto without any democratic process,” Kev said.

"I think it was a backwards step because local government was always told by politicians that we were the grassroots of government.”

Kev's long-running mayoral career ended in 2004 when he was defeated by Warren McLachlan.

This was during the amalgamation period, before it was fully cemented in 2008.

Despite his objections to the idea, Kev is mostly positive about the performance of the current North Burnett council.

"I think the council representation's quite good, but the only problem is rural roadworks are not what they used to be,” he said.

"When the local council had their own workforce and equipment they could do the work straight away, whereas now it's spread out from Biggenden to Monto, Mt Perry, and Eidsvold.”

Outside of politics, Kev was a passionate sports fan, and enjoyed playing cricket and rugby league for Monto in his youth.

He still looks after himself today, thanks to regular visits from Blue Care, Meals on Wheels and his daughter-in-law Karen, who runs the property itself.

Kev was grateful for the chance to catch up with old friends and family for his birthday dinner.

He watched the Landline program and thought it was a nice honour to the brother he looks up to.


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