Touching tribute to long-term Warwick community figure Greg Newey.
Touching tribute to long-term Warwick community figure Greg Newey.

Touching tribute to a Warwick icon

GREG Newey lived in Warwick for 49 years and was a volunteer extraordinaire across many facets of community life, sport and business.

He could be described as a gentle giant who answered "why not" when approached to be part of a volunteer community organisation.

This week, 100 people who shared his Warwick journey and family were at his memorial service at the Warwick RSL Services and Citizens Memorial Club.

He lived his early years in Newcastle before he and wife Beth operated newsagencies in Blackwater and Canberra.

They moved to Warwick and took over the biggest newsagency in town for six years before it was sold to the Hynes family. Friends recall him delivering papers in a XY GT Falcon.

Greg and Beth then bought Warwick Outdoors and Sports, a business they operated for more than 30 years.

The business was a perfect fit for Greg, as their sporting equipment included everything to do with fishing, shooting, camping and most sports.

Greg was a good shot and won national and state titles in clay target shooting.

The biggest year of his career was 1992 when he joined with Russell Mark and Michael Diamond in the teams event to win the World Cup at Lonato in Italy.

Lonato is the mecca of shooting ranges in the world, and Olympic shooting gold medallist Russell Mark said Greg inspired a lot of older shooters to press for Australian selection.

"Greg broke the mould as he was in his 40s competing against much younger shooters," Mark said.

"Our win at Lonato was the start of a golden period in Australian shooting," Mark said.

"Greg was an inspiration to young shooters coming through. He gave 10 to 20 years in age to some of his competitors but rose to number 3 in Australia in 1992 and was the reserve for the Australian team for the Olympics in Barcelona.

"He was the voice of reason for a lot of us and wouldn't have an enemy in the world."

Mark and Diamond both went on to win Olympic gold.

Greg was passionate about sport and was president of the Warwick and District Clay Target Club for 23 years at two different times.

Each Sunday, he would be on the road to a shoot somewhere in south Queensland or northern New South Wales.

Greg was the first to secure two senior sports star annual awards in the area of the former Warwick shire. He regularly won at shoots in Brisbane.

He and Beth attended the annual Senior Sports Star award nights for almost three decades.

Greg and close friend Alex Smith worked on the television commentary of clay target shooting at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.

"He was the true definition of a gentleman, it was all about discipline, etiquette and doing things the right way," he said.

Soon after arriving in Warwick, Greg became part of the Warwick Fire Brigade Board. Due to changes at state level, the board was disbanded in 1990 and control of the local fire brigade was taken over at regional and state level.

Ron Bellingham was mayor of Warwick shire and then Southern Downs Regional Council for 12 years and said "what Greg Newey could say in a few words most people would say in plenty".

"He had the right attitude when he was president of the Warwick Chamber of Commerce and worked hard to foster co-operation between businesses and to promote the area," Mr Bellingham said.

"Greg proved to be a great leader after the Warwick Tourism and Events organisation was created."

He was a long-time treasurer of the Warwick RSL Services and Memorial Club at a time when there was major upgrading to Kings Theatre. Greg was the inaugural chairman of Warwick TAFE and a member of the Masonic Lodge.

Greg was a past president of the Rotary Club of Warwick and a Paul Harris Fellow. He held many positions and was involved in all community projects which the club supported.

In the field of sport, his greatest love outside of shooting was motorsport.

For many years, Greg and his brother Jeff competed successfully in the Leyburn Sprints. Greg also raced his MG at Morgan Park and Willowbank.

Some of Greg's first involvement in motorsport was when he bought and restored a MG TC at the age of 17.

He was part of the Darling Downs Chapter of the MG Car Club of Queensland.

Once the Warwick Jumpers and Jazz in July Festival started, Greg was heavily involved in the automotive display which grew from taking up one block of Palmerin St to also having a large number of cars in Leslie Park.

When daughter Cherie competed in pony club and son Anthony in hockey and golf, Greg and Beth were strong supporters.

"Dad was calm and patient and they took us everywhere," Cherie said.

Greg was tragically killed in a car accident in Warwick on September 14, aged 77.



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