I first met Brian Mullins at the inaugural meeting of the newly formed National Civic Council in February 1958 at a hall in Stones Corner, Brisbane. The NCC had recently changed its name from the Movement following a decision by the Vatican in mid-1957. The NCC became responsible for its own administration, policies and finances, independent of the Church. Thus Brian led the praying of the Rosary for all our intentions in 1958.
I quickly learned that Brian was a quiet, devout Catholic who put his complete trust in God, as his magnificent family attested at his funeral last November. Our common passion for the Church, and its logical extension into politics for the common good, cemented a lifelong friendship from that meeting. I last spoke to Brian on the phone in mid-September 2009.
Among the faces in the crowd at Brian's Requiem whom I recognised from those early years were Bill Thornton, who since the 1940s had been involved with the Movement and NCC, and was later long-term State President of the Federated Clerks Union; Doug McClarty, a close friend of those years who went to work in Mt Isa to help end its 1964-65 strike; and Elizabeth Mullins, a friend from 1960s DLP circles.
The packed church of relatives, friends, national and state officials, and four concelebrating priests, was crowned in my opinion by a soloist singing the 'Ave Maria' at the post-Communion. It's been a rarity in recent decades and reminded us of how appropriate its singing is to celebrate the Alpha (beginning) and Omega (end) of Brian's earthly life.
Requiescas in pace, care amice.
Holland Park West, Qld