Vale Don MacFarlane

27 June 2016 By Garry Ringwood

Donald MacFarlane

25/7/1939 - 10/6/2016

Chair, Leadership Victoria 1998-2007

Don Macfarlane was truly a man of many parts. Don was Chair of Leadership Victoria from 1998 to 2007 and I had the honour of following him in that role.

Don's involvement with LV goes back many years before he joined the LV Council. Don was great supporter of the Williamson program and as a senior executive of Amcor he backed this up being a long time sponsor of LV and by consistently nominating young people with high potential to apply for the Williamson Program. Noel Turnbull,a fellow member of Council reminded me only recently of a discussion with Don about the Williamson Program. It was not important to him whether graduates became CEOs or Government Departmental Heads, what was important to him was did we make a positive difference to all people that went through Williamson.

This attitude of Don's sums up the man. He rose to the top of the Corporate ladder as CEO of Amcor but when he retired he devoted his energy to helping people in any way he could. This included his time at LV and his long time support for the Sacred Heart Mission providing help to the homeless.

Don spent virtually his entire business career in Amcor. He was in many ways an unlikely corporate type. He was an original thinker, he abhorred hypocrisy , he was unfailingly loyal, he genuinely enjoyed the company of people from the full spectrum of society and yet he rose to one of the highest corporate posts in the land.

Don was a musician in his early days and earned his passage to London as a drummer in a three piece jazz band aboard the Patris. He later showed himself to be a most accomplished painter and sculptor and devoted most of his spare time to this pursuit. Right up until two weeks before he died he was attending his weekly life painting classes.

To me Don is a wonderful example of the modern Renaissance Man.

Don had been fighting cancer for the last 12 months.


Garry Ringwood

Chair, Leadership Victoria 2007-2013