Goodbye to Macedon’s ‘greatest community member’

John Ewels with Kinnear Beatson with the 1985-86 premiership flag. (Shawn Smits)

Zoe Moffatt

The Macedon community has been rocked by the death of local legend John Ewels, with tributes pouring in about his great impact.

From the cricket pitch to the classroom, John has been remembered for his remarkable impact on those around him and his dedication and commitment to the community.

Passionately known as ‘Ewelsy’, John spent more than 40 decades at the Macedon Cricket Club, and held the secretary role for 40 years.

President Steve Harrison said during that time he won multiple club champion awards and best clubman awards.

“John was the heart and soul of the club, he did everything from painting lines on pitches, to running the bar, to organising the ball,” he said.

“You name it, if there was a job out there Ewelsy did it.”

Mr Harrison said having John’s stability and knowledge around was instrumental in growing the clubs strength.

“There are not many people in Macedon who haven’t been touched by John. Macedon has just lost its greatest community member.”

In his professional life, John excelled. He taught at a number of Macedon Ranges schools before taking over as Macedon Primary School principal in 1995.

He led the school until his retirement in 2010 and was instrumental in education about the bush, local history, orienteering, the environment, camping and developing a strong understanding of the importance of community.

Current principal Matthew Forrest said many students from John’s era now send their children to the school with fond memories in mind.

“The school has been shaped by John’s involvement and vision, and… it is with heavy hearts that we extend our deepest condolences on [his] tragic passing,” he said.

“His legacy exists in not only the school buildings and the Middle Gully bushland reserve, but also within the many people who he worked with and supported in his time here.”

John’s impact at the school can be highlighted through his work with the schools orienteering and outdoors program, which never faulted in his support.

“After John’s retirement in 2010, he remained heavily involved with the school’s outdoor education program and was actively involved in attending camps, as recently as early 2023,” Mr Forrest said.

“[He] helped out at weekly landcare activities and always led the annual year 5 and 6 bike ride to Hanging Rock.

“John was partial to a cuppa and a slice of cake, and the current staff all felt he could sense when we had a morning tea in the staff room.

“He would arrive, unannounced, and join our staff for a laugh and a chat.”