Ballard, Gary James

Personal Details

First nameGary
Middle nameJames
Date of birth21/04/1965
Place of birthMuttaburra Qld
Date of death27/05/2021
Place of deathRockhampton
Age at death56


Son of John Kevin Ballard & Valmai Ballard (Weir)

Brother of –
Narelle Joy b.04/10/1960
Nicholas John b.30/11/1961
Natalie Janine b.28/03/1968

School Records

Muttaburra State School
Start Date1971

Cemetery Record

Download the Cemetery Map

LocationSouth Western
Grave number365
Address50 Devon Street, Muttaburra. Qld
OccupationRetired Plumber
Date of funeral04/06/2021


We’re all here today to celebrate and farewell our son, our brother, our friend Gary James Ballard. Gary was known by a few names – most knew him as GAZZA. Robbo used to call him MACCA because he’d listen to “Macca All Over” on Sunday mornings. At college they called him ARAMAC, and during his working life in ARAMAC, they¬† simply called him PLUMB. Brett Harvey a plumber mate of Gary’s who he’s known since he did his apprenticeship in Aramac, finally told Nick the other day the story behind the nickname ARAMAC. Gary was at college and they asked him where he was from. He said he was doing his plumbing apprenticeship in Aramac. One of the other blokes there at the training piped up – “I’ve been through there and you’re bigger than that place!” Gary was born at Muttaburra hospital on April 21, 1965. He was the third of four children born to Valmai and John Ballard, and definitely the charmer in the bunch. Born a blondie, with a great big grin, he had the jump on the rest of the kids from the get-go and could con absolutely anything out of his mum and his gran Elsie. Gary passed away just after midnight on the Wednesday of the total eclipse. An eclipse happens on a full moon night when the sun, earth and moon are closely aligned. For a short time the Earth is between the two and blocks the suns ray from lighting up the moon – and night goes inky dark. Looking up then, at the night sky, it was hard not to think the universe was taking a moment’s silence – paying tribute for a last time to our beautiful son, brother and friend. The gifts that Gary gave all of us were the kind that aren’t measured in dollars and cents. They are the ones that lie in your thoughts and memories, and last as long as you take the time to tend to them. His gifts were his sunny nature, his kindness, his cheekiness, his generous spirit and his absolute desire to see the best in pretty much everyone. He loved kids and is the godfather of quite a few. He loved his dogs, Floyd and Digger. He always wanted to be a shearer (and he did this for a while). Andrew Kernan took time to write about his friend Gary on Facebook a few days ago. “Gary was one of those rare finds, reliable, conscientious, hardworking, friendly, funny and an all round bloody good bloke. While Gary was never going to be the ringer of the shed all these attributes made him a gun in my books. And it was not just at work but in the community as well that he was an asset, whether it was the Golf Club, Christmas Tree, Anzac Day, Swimming Club, the Shearer’s Ball or any event where help was needed, Gary was very much loved and respected by all who knew him. May he now rest in peace.” Gary had a passion for machinery and trucks and reality TV like ‘Ice Truckers’, ‘Parker’s Gold Rush’, ‘American Pickers’, ‘Highway through Hell’, ‘Kindig Customs’, ‘Wheeler Dealers’, ‘Alaska the Last Frontier’, and at home we secretly thought he had them on a loop! His illness took away opportunities for him to do some of the things he would have liked to – working with engines, visiting people for a chat when he felt like it, or simply being able to do a lot of things we take for granted. Despite this, he was always there for other people. He’d talk his friends through hard times like he wasn’t having them himself, and would make sure to keep in contact with people, checking to see how they were doing – he did this right up to his last week at home before going to hospital. Gary like people – liked their stories. He’d always be the first to talk to someone passing through town. Whether it was at Paddy’s market in Sydney, where he stopped and chatted to a young aboriginal guy playing the didgeridoo, asking him how he knew what key the didgeridoo was in – 20 minutes later we were still there waiting, with the two of them yarning away. If he was in hospital he’d always end up knowing about the person lying in the bed next to him. When he went to the new Doctor visiting town, he’d be able to tell you all about them in next to no time. His illness impacted the last 14 years of his life, but it never got the best of him. He always saw the joke where it would have been hard for most of us to just cope. On one of his hospital visits to Townsville to see his specialist he said of his illness – “It’s just like a dream that keeps on giving. It’s like Nick says, I could go out looking for gold and come back with rocks!” He’d use any trick in the book (and get away with it) when you were messing about with him, most commonly with his siblings – you’d fire a good line at him, he’d counter with – “Come on, don’t go picking on the sick little fat boy!” He was as cheeky as they come. Just ask Cathy Hayden. They regularly sat around the table like a pair of potty mouths, sledging each other about absolutely nothing. Then there was the text message last December to his sister Natalie when she let him know she was going to fill his car with petrol. He was straight to the point: Natalie wrote “Hey Bro, just going to fill your car/does it take E10 or 98?” Gary answered: “Don’t be a dick there’s only one sort in Muttaburra.” He always wanted you to have the things you wanted. Not long after his sister Narelle moved home in 2019, she wanted chooks. Nick and Gary both bellowed a resounding NO, so she made the best of it, and got two wire chooks for the garden instead. Then in March this year, Gary just decided to ring up and order some lovely lady chickens – 12 of them. On the Friday before he died, he was in hospital in Barcaldine, chatting on the phone to Narelle, when he announced he’d ordered 2 black chooks as well – enough eggs for the town. The chickens arrived this week on Wednesday, and his Dad John wants to make sure we all know why they are there, so it wont be long and the sign on the chicken’s gate will read “Gary’s Girls”. Gary was the best son, best brother, best relative, the best friend anyone could have. If anything sums him up it would be – “Nothing is as strong as gentleness and nothing is so gentle as real strength.”