Dennis Shearing was a surveyor in Fairey Surveys in the 1970s, an Australian from Adelaide, and he died in Australia in March this year at the age of 74. For much of his life as a surveyor he slept on friends’ sofas or floors, in his old Land Rover (“Camel”), or in some remote spot where he was working. But he ended his life in an amazing house in Kangaroo Island (off the coast of Adelaide), which he built himself.
He regularly timed his visits to the UK to coincide with the FSL annual reunions, so he was well known to most of us.
Ken Edwards attended Dennis’s memorial in Kangaroo Island, and Ken and Derek Minter jointly wrote the attached eulogy, which was read out at the service. The photograph of Dennis in his trademark hat was taken in 2010 at the wedding of Ken’s daughter Rebekah.
Ken Edwards passed on the following notes from the memorial, and the photographs below (the Jenni mentioned is Dennis’s half sister).
Dennis’ farewell went very well. Jenni had arranged for a smaller group to be present at the gypsum (salt) lake where Dennis’ ashes were to be scattered. We all took a small handful and found a qiuet spot to remember him in our own way and scatter our small part of him.
An older friend from the island played harmonica and recited a poem “my old black billy” which was very poignant and appropriate for Dennis.
Back at the “Shed” at American River there was a much larger crowd (approx. 60 to 70) and quite a few wanted to speak about Dennis and the impact he made on their lives. I don’t think you would have known anyone there Derek but there were a couple of old surveyors and geophysicists who remembered Dennis from his time in the Lands Department and GeoSurveys. I have attached a phone photo I took of another photo which shows Dennis having an apple apparently being shot off his head by a colleague on a survey/geophysics expedition in the desert area of outback Qld. or SA. People at the gathering assured me the rifle was not loaded but we are talking Australia in the sixties here!
I’ve also sent a close up of a younger man and his paradise home on KI.
It was a great send off and I’m sure he would have approved.
Dennis was a long term volunteer for WWOOF in Australia (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms), and their tribute to him can be read here: https://wwoof.com.au/the-passing-of-a-wonderful-host/ .
Click on each photograph for a larger image.