Noel Granter was born on March 27 1933 to James Adolph and Frances Emma Granter (nee Muldoon) in Carlton, Victoria at the height of the depression. Following his mother's death in 1942, his father James would seem to have not been able to raise four boys alone, and accordingly placed the siblings into the care of the Red Cross and eventually the Gill Memorial Home for Boys.
There were three eulogies delivered at Noel’s funeral.
His long-time friend told how he and Noel entered the Officer Cadet School at Portsea together as cadets in January 1952 aged 18. He found Noel to be a man of the highest principles, someone of total integrity, who would delight in helping his fellow man – often far too trusting of others, thinking that people were as decent as he was, and was often hurt when he was let down. Noel’s character was like his own bearing – tall, straight as a dye, and his word was his bond. Noel served with great distinction for 25 years in the army, from his first posting as a Platoon Commander at Kapooka near Wagga Wagga, to tours of duty in Japan, Korea, Brunei, Thailand, Malaya, Singapore (twice), New Guinea and in the United States along with many other postings within Australia. He also completed two tours of duty in Vietnam, where he served with distinction as “C” Company Commander in 5RAR. Prior to his discharge he was also seconded to the Department of Defence under Sir Arthur Tange, in a special group involved with the restructure of the Defence Force, a role that he enjoyed greatly, and one in which his particular talents were properly utilised.
Noel served as Registrar of Stirling College for 14 years, using his strong organisational skills to the benefit of both teachers and students. He was also highly active in encouraging youth in sport, especially Australian Rules.
In 1990, he retired to his beloved ‘Fairmarch’ on the Collector Road and set about transforming it from a bare, run-of-the-mill property, to a virtual showpiece in the area.
Then in 1997, Noel was finally re-united with his childhood sweetheart Beverley (first meeting as 14-year-olds at Goulburn High School). The ‘Fairmarch project’ took new life, being greatly expanded and developed with a tennis court, outdoor entertainment areas, and the most wonderful landscaped grounds where Beverley and Noel could live and enjoy the company of family and friends.
Noel was widely read, with a keen intellect and was capable of turning his hand to almost anything. Whether, as a very good artist with either oils or watercolours, a capable lead-light artist, furniture restorer or all-round farmer.
He was not only confined to ‘Fairmarch’, but immersed himself in the Gunning community. He was a local oracle, and a source of invaluable help to all and sundry, especially while he ran his Gunning Real Estate. Noel was without a doubt, a true citizen, a man of great integrity, a loving and caring father, husband and friend.
Noel's youngest son said his Dad was highly enthusiastic, a good leader, encouraging, honest, humorous, highly knowledgeable, and, of course, had zero tolerance for anything less than perfect.
He was trusting (almost to a fault) and would give people many chances to redeem their less-than-perfect actions. Since their marriage, Beverley brought about a change in Dad, giving him a new lease on life. Before this, his life was pretty much a closed book but with Beverley's encouragement and persistence, she was able to open that book and let Dad become the narrator of his early life.
Noel's second son gave his insight into his father. Noel, as a person, was always professional and measured in everything he did, spending his 78 years making Australia a better place for all who live here. He came from humble beginnings, but never forgot his origins.
Dad's career in the Army took him, at an early age, to various conflicts and postings all around the world, these experiences having a lasting and significant impact on his life. He was an intensely private man and rarely discussed this time of his life, but would give us insights from time to time. As children, we also experienced Army life, living in different countries and cultures, drawing different learning from these experiences.
He was a talented man, being able to carve wood, draw and paint, and was able to repair most things. Noel was very articulate, intelligent and well-versed on basically any subject. He had many quips and one-liners, was very quick-witted but his fascination and understanding of war remained with him his entire life.
Noel had no time for fools, but he had time for everyone else, no matter from what part or walk of life that may be. He did not make friends lightly, and those who did make it, were there for life. He stood out in a crowd, not just because of his height, but because of his stately appearance and stance. So as a kid, and even later in life, I could always locate him in a crowd.
Noel had four sons from his first marriage and was a good father to us all, but he especially had a very protective and caring relationship with Lachlan, his youngest son. He was deeply moved by the recent death of his third son, Mitchell.
I will miss Dad's wise counsel, which I sought often. His humour was always present, but not always acknowledged as he was too quick, and often too subtle. I am very proud of my Dad, his teachings, his take on life and especially his contribution to his country. This contribution has definitely left us all living in a better place.