Raymond Henry Vivian was born on the 20th of May, 1930, the second child of Ernest Vivian and Ruby Bryant. As a child he lived in Mordialloc area, attending Parkdale State School and Mordialloc High School. Ray (or Henry, as he was known in those days) left school at the end of Form 2 to become an apprentice barber, in Ernest’s shop on the corner of Queen and Latrobe Streets, in Melbourne. This lasted for 6 weeks, when Ray began an apprenticeship as a plasterer, which was his entry into an industry that occupied him for his entire working life.
In 1951, he met Carole Spence at a friend’s house (who was Carole’s second cousin). On the 14th of March, 1953, they married, and moved into 418 Como Parade, Mordialloc. Andrew and Stephen were born while Ray and Carole lived there, and Mark was born after the family moved to Devon Meadows, in 1956.
Ray had purchased 3 acres of scrub, a mile from the South Gippsland highway down a dirt track. There was no electricity, or any other services. By this stage Ray was driving to work at Rockard Plaster, in Frankston Road, Dandenong,. After a car accident, in 1962, which resulted in him finding plastering extremely difficult, Ray was offered the position of warehouse manager, where he worked until he took a redundancy package, at the end of 1984. Ray and Carole then moved to Buddina, where they lived together until he needed to move to the Ninderry nursing home, last year.
Ray was someone who saw life as fairly simple - you did the right thing, and you had strength of character. He expected that everyone understood this, although he accepted that not everyone shared his views. Life in Devon Meadows suited Ray and his family. He and Carole became involved with the Recreation Reserve Committee, and the boys played in the bush and attended Devon Meadows State School. The family saw the area develop from a collection of farms and bush blocks to commuter hobby farms.
Nowadays, sports administration is a rewarding career for many people, but Ray was one of the countless volunteers on whose efforts our national sporting achievements rest. Hundreds, if not thousands, of young men and women have benefited from his work in south west Gippsland and the Sunshine Coast. Ray was drawn into his vocation when Andrew, and then Stephen and Mark, began playing football with the Tooradin Football Club. He joined the committee of the Club, was a selector, and was on the establishment committee of the Tooradin and District Sports Club. At Devon Meadows, the Recreation Reserve Committee had achieved the construction of a playing field, and Ray became the Vice President of the new Devon Meadows Cricket Club in 1969. He played in the C-Grade premiership that season with Andrew. His association with the D.M.C.C. led to Ray joining the Executive of the West Gippsland Cricket Association, becoming President in 1983. In 1978, Ray became foundation President of the Devon Meadows Football Club, helping provide another sporting avenue for the area’s youth.
After Ray and Carole moved to the Sunshine Coast, they decide to take up social tennis at the Mooloolaba Tennis Club. Ray, unsurprisingly, became a committee member, and, eventually, Treasurer. He was President of the Sunshine Coast Tennis Association, and played a major role in organising junior tennis tournaments. He was also the Treasurer of the now-defunct Kawana Bears Australian Football Club. Ray played bowls briefly with the Mooloolah Valley Bowls Club, winning the Men’s B singles in 1995.
Although Ray was the figurehead in a number of sporting clubs and associations, he was happy simply to contribute, and experience the satisfaction of seeing others benefit from his efforts. His achievements were not unrecognised. He was a Life Member of the Devon Meadows Cricket Club, the Mooloolaba Tennis Club and the Sunshine Coast Tennis Association and received the Australian Sports Medal in 2000.
Ray had other interests as well. At Devon Meadows, he had an extensive, licensed collection of native parrots, cockatoos and budgerigars in a collection of aviaries. He liked animals and birds of all sorts, particularly when someone else fed them and cleaned up after them. He enjoyed the growing number of nature shows on television - when the boys were young, they faced Catch 22 on Sunday evenings. If they said nothing, Ray would leave the television on Wild Kingdom, and if they reminded him that Disneyland was on, he got cross and still watched Wild Kingdom.
From his childhood, Ray maintained an interest in the Wild West, as depicted in the media of the ‘50’s and ‘60’s, deriving much enjoyment from books, movies and music about it. This was reflected in the lifestyle at Devon Meadows - a freedom to move about and do what you wanted, within the bounds of a rigid moral code. He had an excellent sense of humour, and would often sit chuckling away with a humorous book. Ray could be temporarily incapacitated by a well-told joke.
He respected toughness in others. He would take the boys on day-long rabbiting trips to the country, leaving behind luxuries such as food, drink and toilet paper. The boys would set the nets, release the ferrets, dig them out when they failed to return, and skin and clean the rabbits. Ray drove the car, and took satisfaction in the day’s efforts. He was a natural supervisor, particularly of his family. He would tour the “estate” at Devon Meadows, and then give Carole and the boys instructions on what to do. He had strong opinions on how others should conduct themselves, but modelled what he expected. Some of his fellow volunteer sports administrators would have become exasperated at Ray’s insistence at following rules and procedures, and, at least once, he walked away from an organisation that didn’t meet his ethical standards. He smoked heavily for more than 40 years, and then simply gave it up - no patches, gum, or other “crutches” and didn‘t smoke again.
At the last, he was in unbearable pain, but he kept going long after the doctors predicted that his disease would take him. Ray was a very sensitive person, and wasn’t one for expressing his affection in words. He believed strongly that you demonstrated who you are by what you do. As a husband and father, he worked tirelessly to give his family the best life he could provide, and to instil in his children the values that would make them good people.