Blacktown City has lost one of its greatest servants with the passing of Dr Russ Dickens OAM on Tuesday at the age of 91.
Russ Dickens was first elected to Blacktown City Council as an Independent Councillor in September 1980 and served on Council until 2016.
He served a 1-year term as Mayor of Blacktown City in 1987 and was elected Deputy Mayor in 2012 and 2013.
Blacktown City Mayor Tony Bleasdale OAM paid tribute to his former colleague saying: “During his 36 years on Council, Russ served with energy and passion on numerous advisory committees, including those responsible for Historical and Companion Animal issues.
“Just days ago, Council presented Russ with the Key to Blacktown City – the City’s highest honour.
“Dr Russ Dickens will be remembered fondly not only for his service on Council, but much more than that for his outstanding service to the Blacktown Community and his lifelong contribution as a vet and passionate advocate for animal welfare,” said Mayor Bleasdale.
Dr Russ Dickens was one of the first veterinarians to study disease in koalas and provide clinical management advice. He was a founding member of the Australian Koala Foundation.
His dedication to animal welfare was recognised with a Medal of the Order of Australia in 1992, being recognised in particular, for his research with koalas.
He established the Blacktown Veterinary Hospital in 1966 and the building remains one of the best-known landmarks in Blacktown.
In 2013, Russ Dickens was awarded both the University of Sydney Faculty of Veterinary Science Alumni Award for Community Achievement, and the University’s overall award for community achievement.
Dr Russ Dickens also served with the Salvation Army and Rotary in Blacktown and gave many hours of voluntary work in the Blacktown Animal Holding Facility.
“Dr Russ Dickens is truly a great man who demonstrated a passionate commitment to the people and community of Blacktown and to the welfare of animals.
“Our deepest condolences go to his wife Lorina, their children Sue, Helen, Jenny and Rowan and their extended family,” said Mayor Bleasdale.