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Firstly I would like to thank everyone for their marvellous support over the year with the People in Profile column and truly wish you all a safe, happy Christmas and New Year. What better way to finish off the year than with a story from a local who has helped keep the town beautiful for many years.

Murray John Hare was born in the Mount Morgan Hospital (the one that has recently been replaced) on the 4th of July 1963.

He attended both Mount Morgan Primary School and Secondary School, going through to year eleven.“School wasn’t much for me so I decided to get a job. English and math were reasonable. I liked the biology side of study and some of the science stuff. Anybody that knows me knows the truth when I say I was woeful at sport, absolutely atrocious. I started cross country walks of a Wednesday afternoon. This part of the sporting program was introduced to help children find an interest they’d enjoy. I was on top of the list when it came to not liking sport” he laughs. “My children love fishing and swimming but I don’t do those either. I can swim though.”

Thirty two years ago Murray started working for the then Mount Morgan Shire Council and had been employed by them until it became the Rockhampton Regional Council which is the banner he now is working under. He has a degree in Horticulture and only failed one out of eighteen subjects. “I can’t draw a straight line and received Honours for all subjects except for Landscape Design. Needless to say, I still can’t draw.”

Currently fitting in work, family and an Advanced Diploma of Horticulture through University keeps Murray extremely busy combining all the things he enjoys most in life. The course was meant to be a sixteen subject course but was transferred to thirty two subjects when the Universities were changed. There are three subjects to go but he feels confident he will pass them as he has passed all subjects so far. “I have done school for more years since I left school than I ever did” he jokes.

Murray married a local girl, Diane Timms, the daughter of well known One Man Music Band musician Len Timms and his wife. Married on the 10th of October 1987. Diane wore a white lace taffeta wedding gown and the bridesmaids wore blue. Murray thinks the men wore grey suits. “That was a long time ago you know. I’ll probably get in trouble for this. I know I wore a shirt but I can’t remember what colour it was” he laughs as he tries to remember.

They have two children, Jessica, 21 and Nathanial, 19.

Diane leased the nursery for around ten years which she traded out of about two and a half years ago. The nursery was originally built as a mango farm, initiated by Bill Richie but after learning what it takes to make a mango farm viable the mixed plant ratio was introduced which serviced the town and outlying areas with plants for many years. The nursery area has now become a park with play equipment that boosts the activities for children in the region. Murray is very proud of what council have achieved with this project. “A few months ago I was a bit sceptical but now I think it is wonderful so PLEASE don’t destroy it.” he says with a passion for the end result.
“A lot of money and hard work has gone into this scheme and it looks a million dollars. You’ve got to have shelter sheds where there are barbecues for protection from rain and sunlight. It’s all free here so therefore cleaning it up ready for the next person makes it viable. The entire dam area now is a lovely place to visit”.

When asked about other areas of the town he’d like to see changed Murray says he’d like to see the Neighbourhood Watch program again become strong in the Mount and also would like the Struck Oil Hall to be utilised more than it has been for a long time.
“I used to be involved in kids planting up Morgan Street a few years ago. All the school from preschool to grade 7 joined in close to end of year. They planted literally thousands of plants and they were left alone where, if we planted them they wouldn’t have lasted as long. The majority of kids in the town are good kids and giving them things to do gives them an incentive. Making the town family friendly helps locals and tourists alike.” Murray believes projects like this should be tried in all towns.

“I am hopelessly addicted to plants. Putting me in a nursery is worse than putting an alcoholic in a pub. I have to stay away from nurseries. Di puts her foot down. Kids get the money off me to get plants now so I don’t buy too many.”

He also loves native birds especially the rainbow lorikeet. “They should be out flying free not in cages. My wife will probably kill me for that comment because she loves her birds” he says with a cheeky grin.

Asking Murray what some of his stranger likes or dislikes have been over time he thinks about it before finally making comment. “I don’t drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes (or any other drugs). I enjoy drinking Pepsi and Ice break drinks. I can drink Ice break by the gallons which isn’t good for me I know. I have a pink Ipod to play my music so that nobody else will take it (looking at his children). Also, I learned not to go fishing when a daughter is skimming stones because the dad ends up with his head split open.”

There is much more to Murray’s life that will hopefully be covered in later editions of People in Profile.

- Profile and photograph by Heather Quarry, supplied to the Mount Morgan Argus 2012 -