Faces of Tamworth: Former Tamworth mayor David John remembered for his strong vision for the city

LEADER: Past and present mayors have paid their respects to the "strong leadership" and vision of David John.

LEADER: Past and present mayors have paid their respects to the "strong leadership" and vision of David John.

For outsiders, one of the most recognisable features of Tamworth is often its unique main drag. Speaking to the city’s more recent civic leaders, it quickly becomes clear the visage of Tamworth today was largely the vision of man, David John. He was a long-serving councillor and was the city’s mayor from 1978 to 1995 and while he had a profound influence on his mayoral successors, his impact on the city, at large, was equally significant.

THE way Tamworth looks now is largely thanks to the vision of former mayor David John.

Mr John passed away recently last April at the age of 83.

He was first elected to Tamworth City Council in 1975 and served as mayor from 1987 to 1995, overseeing a range of major projects including the beautification of Peel St, the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre and securing the BAE flying college for the city.

Tamworth Regional Council mayor Col Murray acknowledged the passing of his predecessor at Tuesday night’s ordinary meeting and shared his respect and admiration for a “strong leader”.

Cr Murray, despite never working with Mr John, said he still draws inspiration from him to this day.

“The thing that comes to my mind is his strong leadership,” Cr Murray told The Leader.

“The upgrade of Peel St, it was really contentious, debate raged on for months, there was overwhelming opposition, mainly around the parking.

“If you asked people what they think now, I think one hundred per cent wouldn’t have it any other way.”

The mayor spoke of Mr John’s vision for long-lasting and well-serving projects.

“When there’s difficult decisions to make now, my mind dwells back to the council of those days and the leadership of David John,” he said.

Cr Murray said he remembers a quote of Mr John’s he thought still rung true today.

“Three per cent make it happen, five per cent watch it happen and the other 92 per cent wonder what happened,” Cr Murray recalled.

Former councillor and mayor James Treloar said Mr John brought council together through a “fairly challenging” time following the Bicentennial Park project.

Mr Treloar said Mr John’s work securing the BAE flying college was “an enormous outcome for Tamworth”.

But Mr Treloar agreed Mr John would be remembered by most for his vision for Peel.

“Nobody can appreciate how important that is,” Mr Treloar said.

“It was very much his vision.”

Tamworth Country Music Festival stalwart Max Ellis remembered Mr John as “strong but fair man” who “clearly saw the value to the community of the Country Music Capital concept”.

Mr John, who served as mayor of Tamworth City Council from 1987 to 1995, passed away recently aged 83.

Mr Ellis said the former mayor paved the way for the construction of the Tamworth Regional Entertainment and Conference Centre.

“Today’s Tamworth owes so much to the vision of David John,” he said.

Mr John’s mayoral predecessor Warwick Bennet said there was much more to his former deputy’s legacy than the beautified Peel St.

“There are many other achievements which contributed greatly to Tamworth becoming the modern and progressive city it is today,” he said.