Kelly Dubberley is walking 90 kilometres from Geelong to Ballarat to raise funds for the Ballarat and Region Workers Memorial.
Starting at Armstrong Creek, Kelly has been walking to the site of the trench collapse in Delacombe that killed Jack Brownlee and Charlie Howkins in March 2018. He will reach Buninyong, on the outskirts of Ballarat, at 3.30pm on Friday 19 March and arrive at the site 12pm Sunday 21 March; the third anniversary of their deaths.
Kelly was deeply affected by the death of the workers as it was his best mates’ son, Jack Brownlee, who died in the trench collapse along with Charlie Howkins. On the Glenelg Highway just outside Ballarat, in the new Winterfield Estate a space has been reserved for the Ballarat and Region Workers Memorial.
Establishing the memorial has been a real passion of the Brownlee and Howkins families who will work with Garry Anderson, a local Ballarat artist, to complete the memorial, which is expected to cost $100,000.
The Memorial will be a place for all families in our region who have lost loved ones at work to reflect and remember. Kelly is hoping to raise $10,000 for the memorial and will be spreading the message on workplace safety throughout his walk.
The Brownlee and Hawkins families have shown amazing commitment to take action in the face of their own personal tragedy. This included meeting with Premier Daniel Andrews in 2018 to announce their participation in a taskforce on the Workplace Safety Legislation Amendment (Workplace Manslaughter and Other Matters) Act 2019.
The legislation they fought for was passed in November 2019 and became law from 1 July 2020. Employers whose negligence leads to the death of an employee will face fines of up to $16.5 million and individuals responsible for negligently causing death will face up to 25 years in jail.
Kelly’s walk details:
Wed 17 March: 9am Armstrong Creek 6.30pm arrive Railway Hotel, Bannockburn 17.3 kms
Thursday 18 March: 8am Railway Hotel, Bannockburn 3.30pm arrive Meredith Hotel 25.1 kms
Friday 19 March: 7am Meredith Hotel 3.30pm arrive Crown Hotel, Buninyong 35.7 kms
Sunday 21 March: 9am Crown Hotel, Buninyong 12pm arrive Winterfield Estate, Delacombe 11.5 kms
To support Kelly’s fundraising visit www.au.gofundme.com/f/ballarat-regional-workers-memorial-fundraiser-walk
Quotes attributable to Kelly Dubberly
“The third anniversary of the deaths of Jack and Charlie is a chance to do something to honour these men and make a lasting contribution to our community.”
“On 21st March 2018 I was working on a construction site with a 6m deep excavation in Geelong when a notification came through that there was a trench collapse in Ballarat and two blokes where trapped. My guts immediately started churning that something was not right.”
“My thoughts were for my best mate’s son, and a kid who I considered my own, Jack Brownlee. I tried multiple times to contact Jack and got no answer. My worst fears were confirmed with Charlie dying at the site and after 24 hours in Hospital and over 60 litres of blood transfusions Jack lost his fight surrounded by friends and family.”
“If anyone wants to help, they can donate, invite me to speak at their workplace or say hello to me on my walk. I’m hoping the message of workplace safety will resonate with everyone so we can all keep safe at work and come home to our loved ones.”
Quotes attributable to Member for Buninyong Michaela Settle
“I have spent time with the families of Jack Brownlee and Charlie Howkins and seen how hard they have worked to make some good out of this tragedy. They have been passionate advocates for Workplace Manslaughter laws and are committed to see a workers memorial established.”
“I’m walking with Kelly into Ballarat as I feel the tragic loss of Jack and Charlie or any worker who dies at work should be remembered. The Ballarat and Regional Workers Memorial will be a quiet place to reflect and remember them.”
“Passing the Workplace Manslaughter Act in 2019 was a very proud moment for me, I felt it helped the Brownlee and Howkins families. If an employer’s negligence costs someone their life, they will be prosecuted and may go to jail – that’s now the law.”
Quotes attributable to Secretary of Ballarat Trades Hall Brett
“The Memorial will be a place for Jack and Charlie's families and for all families in our region who have had loved ones never return from work – past, present, and unfortunately future.”
“It will be the focus of Workers Memorial Day each year on the 28th of April where a few hundred people can be accommodated around the memorial in parkland, and for the local community living in the Winterfield estate it will be a positive and affirmative piece of public art in their parkland.”
“It will also boldly acknowledge the introduction of the Industrial Manslaughter law in Victoria and all those who fought for its inception.”
“We sincerely thank Kelly for his efforts in raising funds to realise this memorial.”