By Jackson Russell
A group of Willowmavin residents have banded together to remember their late neighbour Brian Jones, dedicating a newly-repaired bridge outside his property in his honour.
Jonesy’s Bridge on Diggings Road was washed away by storms earlier this year and not repaired for eight weeks, affecting residents in the area and forcing them to go out of their way to use a potholed dirt track.
When Jonesy’s Bridge was finally repaired, it was only days before Mr Jones passed away due to illness.
On the suggestion of neighbour Kevin Grant, Willowmavin residents Niree Weybury and Shelley Biancon started the process of dedicating the bridge.
Ms Weybury, who was close to Mr Jones and his wife Anne, said the memorial would feature street signs pointing to Jonesy’s Bridge depicting a man on a horse with two dogs, with a plaque installed on a rock near the bridge itself, which would read ‘In Memory of Brian Jones’ along with his date of birth and date of death.
“Brian was a drover in his day, he was a big horseman and would ride the boundary fences in the Northern Territory,” she said.
“He had two dogs, you’d see him driving around town with his two blue heelers Dozer and Diesel, they were his pride and joy.”
After Ms Weybury put the call out on social media, it didn’t take long for the much of the memorial’s cost to be covered.
Ms Weybury said any additional funding raised would go towards a community sausage sizzle and memorial reveal once COVID-19 restrictions allowed.
She said Mr Jones was an iconic figure in the area.
“He looked after everyone, he would introduce himself to people moving in, if you went on holiday, you’d have to tell him and he would look after your animals,” she said.
“He just kept his eye out and watched to make sure everything was okay.”
Mr Jones was a community-minded person, involved in the neighbourhood watch and pony club.
He was given a living legend award by Pony Club Australia last year having taught at the Oaklands and Broadford pony clubs. He was also a life member of Sunbury Pony Club, a member of Kilmore Adult Riders, Melbourne Showjumping Club and LB Davern Reserve Committee, and frequently played Santa for the children at Willowmavin Primary School.
Ms Weybury said she felt like Mr Jones was family.
“Brian didn’t have any children, but he adopted us as his family. He was such a lovely man, he and Anne are just awesome and we miss him terribly,” she said.
If anyone would like to contribute to Mr Jones’ memorial, please contact Niree Weybury on Facebook.