Today is a bittersweet anniversary for us here at the Pickering Post. One year ago, we lost our founder and mentor, Larry Pickering.
Larry was not just a colleague or fellow traveller; he was a friend. I wish I had known him longer, and yet in another sense, I was fortunate to have known him at all.
If you could take the whole of the Australian Nation and compress it into human form, I think it would look a lot like Larry Pickering.
He was a nobody, who rose to be a somebody and yet he never looked down on anybody.
People who reach the top in a given field are of course, rare. Yet Larry managed to reach the top in several of them.
He was best known as a cartoonist of course. He wasn’t just “a” political cartoonist, however. He was Australia’s best known and loved cartoonist.
He had a golfing handicap single figures which (I believe) is no mean feat. He was also an accomplished AFL player and was playing right up into his 60s – despite being a smoker.
Some of you will know that he was also a first-rate horse trainer. He trained a horse that came second in the Melbourne Cup and was beaten only by a whisker
Larry always swore (and another jockey who had won the Melbourne Cup himself confirmed this to me) that “Rising Fear” would have won if the jockey had done as he asked (read it in Larry’s own words here).
He had trained the horse to pick up a replica of the trophy in its mouth and hold it up once it won. His close friend Singo, reckoned that if he had spent that extra time training it to run, it might have made first place.
Whatever, it was an incredible achievement.
Larry also owned and flew planes and helicopters and was narrowly defeated as a Liberal candidate in Canberra (an almost impossible task).
He only missed making millions of dollars growing tomatoes thanks to a massive random hailstorm that destroyed his crop a couple of days before it was due to be picked.
The tomato picking machine he invented for that venture is still in use by farmers today.
I could fill pages talking of Larry’s achievements, but you know all of that. They broke the mould when Larry was born and you could live many lifetimes without meeting his equal.
His most lasting legacy of course, is the Pickering Post which we all know and love. It is Australia’s largest political blog by a country mile.
It will never be the same without Larry of course, but we will be doing what we can to build it up and grow it to do what Larry hoped it could be.
Larry knew that the media, of which he had been a part for many years, was being corrupted. He saw the way it was being dragged to the left to cover an agenda which is completely un Australian.
His goal was to hold politicians to account, the way the media should. We can never replace Larry, but we will fight to uphold that dream for as long as our butts point towards the ground.
Thank you to all of you for sticking with us and supporting us as we go forward. Larry’s are big boots to fill.
We can only do our best.