Member Statement - Graeme Johnstone

03 August 2023

Martha HAYLETT (Ripon) (10:00):

This past Sunday morning we lost a beautiful soul in the Clunes community. Graeme Johnstone was a local legend and an example of how one person can have a ripple effect on the lives of thousands.

Graeme moved to Clunes back in 1997, with his much-loved wife June. Together they transformed the old Duke of Edinburgh Hotel to The Dukes B & B and brought the second coffee machine to town.

Like many small business owners, Graeme was always quick to roll up his sleeves and get involved in the community. He served for more than 12 years on the Clunes Tourism and Development Association and represented the community on the Hepburn regional tourism board.

He was instrumental in bringing the annual Words in Winter literary and arts festival to the Hepburn shire and was one of the founding fathers of Creative Clunes and the famous annual Booktown festival established in 2007. Graeme led the push for Clunes to be recognised as an international book town. He helped establish the biennial Clunes Ceramic Award, and he preserved the former free lending library building in town so that it can be home to a brand new Clunes Neighbourhood House today.

Graeme’s achievements are endless. He was a statesman, with the warmest smile and the biggest heart, who always would be seen on Fraser Street lending a hand to everyone. He gave his all to Clunes and made it a better place for so many as a result.