Tallangatta stalwart Harold Craig was the man who helped relocate a town

Harold Craig was still a keen participant in table tennis at age 84. Picture: KYLIE GOLDSMITH

Harold Craig was still a keen participant in table tennis at age 84. Picture: KYLIE GOLDSMITH

HAROLD Craig thought he had arrived on the set of a Wild West movie.

It was May 1951 and he and his wife, Shirley, had just arrived in Old Tallangatta.

A boss from the Otway Shire had recommended he apply to be the next shire engineer at Tallangatta.

He got the job, and loved it and the area so much he swore he wouldn’t leave while he still drew breath.

Mr Craig recently died, aged 93, having barely stopped since he retired from his beloved job back in 1986.

Described by Mrs Craig as a “very modest” and shy man, she said his final farewell would match his no-fuss philosophy on life.

His family has decided not to hold a funeral, as he wished, and will hold a private cremation.

Mrs Craig said her husband “always loved the mountains and he loved the water”.

“He came up here and looked around and thought ‘this is it’.”

Mrs Craig said her husband quickly came to like the people “and said he would die here”.

“He didn’t want to retire at all,” she said.

But after doing so, Mr Craig kept busier than many.

He was president of the Tallangatta Secondary School council for 20 years, was part of Scouts, Rotary and the tennis club, and taught and judged dressage.

Mrs Craig said her husband also loved to sail on his little Hobie Cat yacht.

“His latest passion before he died was table tennis,” she said.

Mr Craig spoke about his reluctance to retire when the then Border Morning Mail spoke to him in January, 1986.

“I don’t want to retire — I like work — it’s the most interesting thing I do,” he said.

“I can’t imagine ever learning to play bowls, or golf, or going fishing — maybe I will have to.

“Local government work is definitely not an easy job — but it’s good for you to get your ego battered down constantly.”

The biggest job he was involved in was the moving of Old Tallangatta, which he remembered for its picturesque entrance and magnificent avenue of poplars, to today’s site.

It was a five-year job, the council played a go-between role between farmers and State Rivers during the land acquisition.

It led to him writing a book, in 1986, called The town that moved: the story of Tallangatta, 1951-1956.

Mr Craig also co-authored a book on new Tallangatta in 2001.

He is survived by Mrs Craig, their children Bruce and Ann, five grandchildren and four great grandchildren.