The Clunes community mourns the loss of a cherished member, Chris Fenner, whose departure has left a profound void in the hearts of those who knew him.
Born in Maryborough in 1955, Chris was a figure of deep respect and love, widely known for his multifaceted contributions to both his local community and beyond.
Chris’s roots were firmly planted in Clunes, with his mother, Lynette Brannigan (dec), being a native of the town and his father, Thomas (Tom) Fenner (dec), having ties to Dunach. Although his family briefly resided in Torquay and Geelong during his formative years, Chris’s heart always remained connected to the Clunes landscape.
From the age of 16, Chris found solace and joy on the family farm, where he spent weekends immersed in nature, fishing, hunting, and revelling in the simple pleasures of rural life.
His passion for the arts blossomed during his time at Geelong College, where he honed his skills in playing the cello and piano, fostering a profound appreciation for literature, music, and history.
An accomplished sportsman, Chris excelled in rowing, diving, fly-fishing, sailing, and marksmanship, earning him numerous accolades and recognition at both local and state levels.
His journey led him to a career in Civil Engineering, specializing in Traffic Engineering and road safety. Co-directing a traffic engineering firm in Melbourne and later working as an Engineering Consultant, Chris made substantial contributions to the field.
In 2005, Chris returned to his roots, relocating to Clunes with his wife Shelley. Embracing his family history and the enduring connection to the family farm, Chris actively participated in community activities. He generously volunteered at Mt Beckworth Wines and shared his expertise in road safety for public events. Serving as co-chair of the Clunes Tourist and Development Authority (CTDA), Chris played a pivotal role in community initiatives, often serving as a master of ceremonies and speaker at significant events, including a memorable ANZAC ceremony in Clunes.
He also contributed to the Clunes Writers Group, showcasing his passion for the written word. Chris’ expert culinary skills were also appreciated by many.
Chris faced his final battle with illness, passing away in Ballarat on October 17, 2023. He is survived by his loving wife Shelley, children James and Isobel, and loyal dog Ella, and siblings Ross, Gaye, and Bradley.
The legacy of Chris Fenner lives on in the hearts of those who were touched by his kindness, wisdom, and love of community and family.