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John Herbert Devine - Former Member for Denison

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 28 February 2023

Tags: Condolence, Parliament

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, this House has a long history of colourful characters and, although I did not know John Herbert Devine, he was clearly one of them.

John Devine lived a long life, well lived and much admired and very well loved. He lived a big, generous life of service to sport, to public life and then to publican life. When I was going through his incredible sporting history, I was impressed by his talent. He was an import from Victoria but many of our best people are imported, but a very talented one.

He was a member of the 1963 Geelong premiership team after being vice-captain of Geelong for five years from 1961. Thankfully, he made the decision to move to Tasmania in 1967. which by the way is the year of my birth. He played for and coached the North Hobart Football Club in the infamous 1967 Tasmanian state premiership played against Wynyard at West Park in Burnie. As Ms White said, it was a match that ended in controversy.

He also captain-coached North Hobart to the TANFL premiership and the Tasmanian state in 1969, retiring in 1971. He represented our state six times from 1967 to 1970 and was captain from 1968 to 1970. He was awarded the Lefroy Medal in 1968 as Tasmania's best representative player and he coached Tasmania in 1970 and 1971.

Tributes have been flowing in since the passing of John Devine. He is known as a Geelong legend, a Tasmanian Hall of Famer and he has been described by his previous colleagues in AFL as a tough and fearless defender. He was runner-up in the Cat's best and fairest in 1960. He played 118 VFL and AFL games.

In a statement, the Geelong team said Devine will be remembered as a fearless player and a passionate Geelong man, loved by all of his team mates and he will be sadly missed. Former Geelong team mate John Sharrock said -

In my time and watching the game since, I have not seen a tougher player. Some as tough maybe, but none tougher. But he was fair, just as he was in life.

Former AFL star and Adelaide coach Robert Shaw said Devine was -

One of the great people and players that inspired a generation of kids growing up in the late 1960s, loved his state football.

These are beautiful tributes to a man who was much admired. He was also a successful and well-known businessman after his time in this House as the member for Denison. He ran the Waggon and Horses, the Mornington Inn, the Valern Tavern and the Black Buffalo. He was born in Colac, Victoria, and a much-revered figure.

There are other members of this place who knew Mr Devine well who would like to say a few words about him. I cannot help being impressed by what a great life John Devine lived, and a long life. On behalf of the Tasmanian Greens I want to pass on my deepest condolences to Mr Devine's large family, his wife Marie Therese Devine; his six children, Donna, Mark, Anna, Todd, Aaron and Justin; and to his 15 grandchildren.

Vale John Herbert Devine.