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The passing of Vaughan Johnson OAM brought a huge feeling of loss to all at DCQ

As a Board Member, colleague and mate he will be greatly missed.
Vaughan had an uncanny ability to remember names and faces. Walk into a pub or up the street of any western Queensland town, and Vaughan Johnson, it seemed was on first name terms with everybody. He could talk to a bush worker, truckie or one of the old blokes taking in life on a main street ‘seat’ of knowledge. Equally he could talk with a deep understanding of issues to Prime Ministers and Premiers and to the leaders of industry. This was the life of Vaughan Johnson OAM who sadly passed away on Saturday 21 January.

To understand the greatness that Vaughan Johnson brought to Queensland and the role he played in giving the people and communities of the West a voice in the halls of power, you need to look at where the young Vaughan came from.

A baby born in Bourke and a kid living at the ‘end of the line’, as Quilpie was called back when it was the railhead, Vaughan grew up with the smell of diesel and cow dung in his nostrils, the sound of road trains and the crack of drovers’ whips as cattle were unloaded or yarded. The midnight clang of cattle being loaded into the railway’s k-wagons were the nocturnal music of the young Vaughan Johnson.

As he watched thousands of head of beef cattle transported to that ‘other world’ of faraway cities, Vaughan realised there were two sides of the coin that made up Queensland: the Bush and the people of the coast. And they had to work together for the betterment of all.

Vaughan Johnson saw the need for a voice for the people, the communities and the businesses of outback Queensland. And as if it was a horse he was always meant to ride, he sailed into the dog-eat-dog world of politics.

The man’s passion led him into 25 years as the Member for Gregory, holding front bench portfolios as a government minister and shadow ministries in Opposition.

After politics and as a member of the DCQ Board, he brought expertise and contacts that opened doors and helped us develop to where we stand today as a leader in Natural Resource Management.

We were fortunate to have Vaughan Johnson as a colleague and a mate. He will be sadly missed.