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Percival, Harold Gregory (Greg) (1925–2011)

by Harriet Veitch

Communities wouldn't exist without people such as Harold Gregory (Greg) Percival.

In his long life, Percival served in war and peace, from fighting in the Pacific to starting the local bowls club. On the way, he served on his local council, with his local chamber of commerce and helped form his local tourist office. He belonged to service organisations and was also involved in scouting.

Harold Gregory Percival was born on April 4, 1925 — the son of Sydney Percival and his wife, Adelaide Lyons — and was among the fourth generation of his family to live in the Ingleburn/Campbelltown area. His great-grandfather, John Percival, farmed in Appin and his house still stands. John's son, Sydney, established a butchery in Ingleburn (a butcher still operates in the shop) and was the town's second mayor.

Percival went to Ingleburn Public School and then to Parramatta Intermediate High School. His first job was as a telegram messenger at the Sydney GPO while he went to night school, combining two years of study into one to get his Leaving Certificate.

In 1941, at the age of 17, he joined the navy as a wireless telegraphist and served in Fairmile-class patrol boats — the smallest warships in the Australian navy during World War II. Percival saw active duty around Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

After the war, he worked at the family butchery and, in 1951, met Diana Drew at the local tennis club. The pair were soon married. In 1954, he and friends Peter Benson and Bert Watson drove around Australia in an FJ Holden as part of the Redex Trial. They were minor winners and took the Champion Spark Plugs Award.

Not content to just live and work in the Ingleburn/Campbelltown area, Percival had ideas about how it could develop from a sleepy rural district to the thriving area it is now. He was an active member of the Ingleburn Chamber of Commerce and served as both president and patron member.

As well, Percival spent 31 years as an alderman/councillor on Campbelltown City Council. He was deputy mayor and then mayor from 1958-61. He was also a delegate of the Nepean River County Council from 1961-71.

He was a board member of the Sydney Water Board between 1967 and 1983. From 1973-87, he was a member of the Australian Constitutional Review Convention and was a commissioner of the NSW Planning and Environment Commission from 1974-80.

From 1968-74, he was a member of the Local Government Association Appeals Tribunal and between 1974 and 1987 was a member, executive member, then president of both the NSW and Australian Local Government Associations. In addition to local government, Percival served two terms on the NSW Legislative Council in the 1970s and 1980s and later became an executive member and president of the NSW Former Members of Parliament Association.

In 1976, Percival was made a member of the Order of the British Empire and later served for many years on the executive committee of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Association (NSW).

In 1984, Percival was instrumental in forming the Campbelltown-Koshigaya Sister City Association and was its president for 10 years. That year, Percival, with Betty Hunt and Jennifer Eggins, established the Campbelltown Country Tourist Association and had premises built on the Hume Highway at Casula. He was foundation chairman of the association until 1988.

In 1989, the Australian Fairmile Association was formed and Percival was the president from then until May this year. On Anzac Day each year, he proudly led the Fairmilers at the Sydney march under their distinctive white-and-red banner.

Percival also served in the Federation of Naval Ship Associations, as well as the wider RSL associations. He was the longest-serving member of the Ingleburn sub-branch and a foundation member of the Ingleburn RSL Club.

Percival, also a mason for 65 years, belonged to Apex and Rotary and was the patron of many local groups, including Legacy War Widows.

In his spare time, Percival played tennis and lawn bowls. He was a foundation and life member of the Ingleburn Bowling Club. He enjoyed travelling and breeding race horses.

Greg Percival is survived by Diana, children Virginia, Drew and Susan, son-in-law Edmund, daughter-in-law Julie and grandchildren Katrina, Warwick, Scott and George.

Original publication

  • Sydney Morning Herald, 20 August 2011, p 25

Additional Resources

Citation details

Harriet Veitch, 'Percival, Harold Gregory (Greg) (1925–2011)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/percival-harold-gregory-greg-13916/text24802, accessed 21 September 2019.

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