A key figure in the Esperance community passed away on August 11, 2018.
Reverend Douglas ‘Doug’ Harry Murray died at the age of 90 after decades as an educator, minister and community activist.
Doug was born to Waroona dairy farmers George and Gertrude Murray on November 28, 1927.
He went to primary school in Waroona and won a scholarship to attend Bunbury Senior High School.
He studied teaching at the University of WA and began his career as a teacher in Wagin, where he met his wife Patricia Hogg.
The couple were married from December 1951 until Patricia’s death in November 1988.
Doug moved to Esperance in 1969 to become the principal of Esperance High School (now Esperance Senior High School).
His friend and former colleague Ruth McIntyre said he was a “hands on” principal and took an active interest in students.
“He made it absolutely clear to all staff that we didn't teach subjects, we taught children,” she said.
“He ran a really good school, and he lobbied for a very long time to get Year 11 and 12 to make sure children finishing Year 10 could stay in the district.”
He was one of the original drivers to establish the Esperance Farm School and served as chair of what is now the Esperance Residential College.
He fought to establish the Esperance Anglican Community School, which was originally limited to Year 10, and then pushed successfully to allow the school to educate Year 11 and 12 students.
He played an instrumental role in getting the Esperance Civic Centre built, forming a committee and lobbying governments for funding.
He was also involved in setting up Pink Lake Golf Club and Hope FM.
Doug was a committed member of the Rotary Club of Esperance, particularly with the club’s exchange program.
He was passionate about arts, especially music and photography.
He was posthumously awarded a silver medal at the Albany Interclub Competition (the prize winning sunset image is shown above).
Fellow Anglican priest and friend Reverend Sally Buckley described Doug as “a man of great faith”.
Doug was priested in 1999 and preached to isolated communities.
“He’d drive to Norseman and then go out to Eucla, ministering to roadhouses and people who lived on stations,” Reverend Buckley said.
“Doug collected books and toys for children within a 200 to 300 kilometre radius.
“He enjoyed giving groups that were so remote something to enjoy.”
Doug was awarded with a Public Service Medal for his services to education and an Order of Australia Medal for his services to education and the community.