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Former Queanbeyan mayor and doctor remembered for visionary approach

Michael Weaver15 April 2020
Former Queanbeyan mayor David Madew

Former Queanbeyan mayor David Madew. Photo: Supplied.

Queanbeyan’s first popularly elected mayor, David Madew, died on the weekend aged 85.

Also a long-serving local doctor, Dr Madew is being remembered for his significant commitment and contribution to the Queanbeyan community at a time of considerable growth. His vision for the town was to connect it with the nation’s capital as an eastern suburb of Canberra while retaining the integrity of the old town.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Mayor Cr Tim Overall said he was saddened to hear of the death of Dr Madew, who served as mayor for 11 years.

“Dr Madew made a significant contribution to the Queanbeyan community during his life, both as an elected representative and through his Queanbeyan-based medical practice,” Cr Overall said.

Dr Madew served as an alderman with the Queanbeyan council from 1969-1991 and became the first popularly elected mayor in 1980 before retiring from the role in 1991.

When elected to the position of mayor as an independent, Dr Madew was reported as saying he wanted to concentrate on local issues.

“I considered that Queanbeyan had reached a stage of its development that we needed to stop and look at what had been accomplished,” he said during his campaign.

“Generally, we need to tidy the city up, to develop and encourage community pride. The local environment was the important issue.”

Cr Overall said Dr Madew guided Queanbeyan through a significant period of the town’s growth into a regional centre.

“During his term as mayor, Queanbeyan went through a boom period of considerable growth which included the opening of the Riverside Plaza with over 40 specialised shops, Grace Brothers and Coles department stores, the Airport International Motor Inn and Convention Centre and the Queanbeyan Tigers permanent clubhouse.

“This period of boom was followed by austere financial times, exacerbated by very high-interest rates which soared to more than 17 per cent and a recession in 1990-91.

“Mayor David Madew helped steer the Queanbeyan Council through these very difficult times with the implementation of sound financial policies and measures.”

Other achievements included the support he gave to the licensing of the local community radio which took much time and effort.

“David Madew was most supportive of community groups and made personal appearances on demand despite his very busy medical practice.

“On behalf of Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council, I extend my sympathies to Dr Madew’s family,” Cr Overall said.

Dr Madew’s legacy is also preserved at the David Madew Memorial Park and sporting ovals at Jerrabomberra.

He lived much of his life near the Queanbeyan racecourse with his first wife Barbara, now deceased, and five children.

Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council will consider an official notice of condolence at its next meeting on 22 April.

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