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In Loving Memory of Ernie Trevaskis

16 September, 2021
Barbara and Ernie Trevaskis being thanked by Bishop Brian Heenan and Dean Smith when they retired.

We farewelled Ernie Trevaskis on the 17th August 2021, from St Peter’s Catholic Church, Biggenden.  He had died on August 13th.  Ernie was a Waka Waka man, and expressed a wish to be farewelled from his own territory and to be buried there.  He was seventy-two years of age.

Ernie and his wife Barbara had been the Coordinators of the Catholic Aboriginal and Islander Ministry in the Diocese of Rockhampton for ten years, finishing in 2009.  Based in Rockhampton, they had travelled throughout the diocese, meeting and supporting indigenous families, working with the Aboriginal and Islander ministers in the Catholic Education Office, being part of the annual Teacher Inservice Days and often presenting workshops.  One notable such gathering was in Barcaldine when we gathered at the beginning of the day to hear the Prime Minister Keven Rudd offer the Apology to the Aboriginal and Islander peoples for the atrocities and injuries they had been subject to from the first European Settlement in 1788.  This was in February 2008.

An aspect of Barbara and Ernie’s ministry was to gather for Eucharist and a shared meal at Murriwodja each month.  This was an Anglican ministry centre, shared with non-indigenous parishioners of all faiths, who supported the Aboriginal and Islander outreach.  Bishop Godfrey Fryar, the Anglican Bishop, was a good friend of Barbara and Ernie and to many from the Anglican and Catholic faiths.

In addition to their ministry to the Indigenous people, Barbara and Ernie were committed to the life of the diocese.  Their ministry came under the umbrella of Pastoral Services where they were greatly supported by Marcia Mansfield who coordinated many ministries in the diocese.

Photo taken of Ernie during his ministry in the diocese.

Ernie, for a number of years, was a member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council.  He was a quiet man, even shy, but when he contributed, all listened because he was speaking from deep wisdom, having reflected well on the issues being considered.

Ernie Trevaskis was a true gentleman, often smiling, yet there was a gravitas in his approach to living.  Ernie had seen active service in the navy.  He and Barbara married when they were young and were devoted to their children – Danielle, Ronald, Jamie and Raymond, and their children, the much-loved grandchildren.

Ernie was a committed family man, an honourable citizen of whatever community he belonged to, a proud Waka Waka man who brought honour and respect to all those with whom he shared his life.

He surely rests in the arms of his loving God, to whom he gave love and faithfulness.

Bishop Emeritus Brian Heenan

Guardians of the Land.

This art work was made by Barbara Trevaskis when she served in the Aboriginal and Islander Ministry.  It has been made into a large wall mural in Maryborough.  A picture of Ernie in front of this mural was on the back of the service booklet.

The explanation is as follows:

  • Background: the land on which we walk.
  • Large foot print: Rainbow dots representing Jesus who walked on the land first as the rainbow serpent.
  • Middle foot print: Black representing the Aboriginal nation who have walked on this land for thousands of years.
  • Small foot print: White representing European culture that came to the land.
  • Little foot prints: Rainbow coloured representing all the different cultures who now walk on the land.

Artist: Barbara Trevaskis, Aboriginal and Islander Catholic Ministry, Catholic Diocese of Rockhampton.