We were very saddened to learn of the death of our valued member and friend, Charmian Brent. As editor of The Flag Stone Charmian was outstanding in her efforts to keep members informed, to promote our Vision and to bring stories and information about dry stone walls in Australia and overseas to our membership and the newsletter’s wider readership. Charmian passed away in Melbourne in December last year as a result of cancer. In November she told me that she hoped, at least, to edit this issue of The Flag Stone but she couldn’t be sure of the one after that. This commitment, under increasingly difficult personal circumstances, is an example of her tenacity and selflessness. The previous issue, number 32 of September 2014, stands as a fine tribute to her invaluable decade-long contribution to this Association .
Since February 2006 Charmian edited every issue, each a testament to her editorial and organisational skills. It was also testament to her capacity to coax stories, snippets and photos from people so that each issue was an engaging mix of reports, erudite articles, social happenings, places and people. The Flag Stone stands as a fine record, not only of this Association’s activities and aspirations, but of the breadth and variety of dry stone walls and walling across the world.
At the suggestion of Rob Wuchatsch, Charmian came on our field trip to Turkeith near Colac in October 2005. We have Rob, and the wonderfully restored garden of Turkeith with its wealth of dry stone walls, to thank for Charmian being bitten by the DSW bug. Charmian offered to edit the next issue of The Flag Stone and, just five months later, the first of 27 editions under her diligent editorship was published.
As a member of our Committee, Charmian could always be relied upon to bring that rare dimension of enthusiasm and pragmatism tinged with her acerbic tone to any discussion. Straight and to the point, one never wondered where Charmian stood on any topic, and her views and suggestions always made eminent sense.
The Committee, the members of this Association and, by implication, the welfare of dry stone walls in Australia, are the poorer for Charmian’s passing.