LIONS LEGEND: It was a dream of Lindsay to have a Christmas Light Show in Chinchilla, and he made it happen.
LIONS LEGEND: It was a dream of Lindsay to have a Christmas Light Show in Chinchilla, and he made it happen.

Community remembers the man who changed Chinchilla

A LEADER, loyal friend and persuader whose dreams were never too big to become a reality.

This is how people will remember Lindsay Marsden, a sports fanatic, dedicated volunteer, car salesman, bus driver and Chinchilla Lions life member who, no matter what he was doing, poured his heart and soul into it.

Lindsay sadly passed away on Thursday, January 30 at the age of 78.

On Friday, February 7, hundreds of Lindsay's friends and family gathered to remember the remarkable man he was and to say their final goodbyes.

Lindsay, better known as Marso, was born in May 1941 to Percy Samuel and Dorothy Merele Marsden, at the Chinchilla Maternity Home, where the RSL building stands today.

Growing up on the family property at Ehlma, near Warra, called Glencoe, with his four siblings, Spencer, Meryl and the twins Doug and Dot, they spent their days together until they were old enough to leave home to go to work.

In 1968 he married Marie Tuner and a short time later had a young family of three: Stephen, Mitchell and Leighandra.

In 1999 Lindsay and his second wife Doreen began their lives together and he became a stepfather to Doreen's children, Martin and Susan Bailey.

 

There has not been so many people quite as dedicated as Lindsay Marsden.
There has not been so many people quite as dedicated as Lindsay Marsden.

 

The most loyal and forgiving Broncos supporter ever, tennis expert and great fan of cricket, Lindsay was also sporting mad.

Playing squash, tennis and cricket throughout his life, he managed to create many hilarious and memorable moments that would be reminisced for many years afterwards.

Lindsay played for the Warra cricket team in his youth and became good friends with the local police sergeant, who gave him a special driver's licence - as he wasn't old enough to have one - so he could drive the team around after they had a few drinks at cricket.

Also, one night while playing squash, he managed to knock out the front teeth of his opponent after hitting a ripper of a shot. That was one game he never forgot.

Lindsay, who was also car mad, loved watching Bathurst and trained all the kids to love it just as much.

Mitchell would often yell "go faster dad, go faster" when in the car with his dad; such was his love of speed.

One day when going around Boat Mountain near Murgon, Lindsay drove a little too close to the edge of the road and the car went straight down the side of the cliff.

The front left-hand passenger's wheel went over the edge, and the whole family started screaming.

Lindsay was yelling, "It's OK, it's OK, just don't lean forward, everyone lean back".

Lindsay put it in reverse, gave it a gutful and spun the wheel back up on to the road, it left some great skid marks behind and Mitchell was cheering about the ordeal.

"That story didn't surprise me one bit," Doreen said.

"Lindsay was an incredible driver, but he still had a few accidents and near misses."

Lindsay had two favourite racing driving drivers, first was Dick Johnson, and of course in later years it was Peter Brock.

Lindsay had the joy of meeting Johnson, one of his idols, when he came to Chinchilla to deliver a Cobra car to one of Lindsay's customers, that was one of his most treasured memories.

"Lindsay used to tell of the time he watched Peter Brock steer a car with just his finger and said it was just magic to watch," Doreen said.

Lindsay was a dedicated man, squeezing as much as what was humanly possible into his life, especially when it came to work.

He ploughed and did farm duties on his family property before he started a banking career at National Banks in Dalby, Cunnamulla, Thangool and Toowoomba.

The first job Lindsay applied for was at the National Bank at Warra.

He didn't have a driver's licence and on his first day of work, there was no one available to drive him, so he rode his pushbike into town, dressed up to the nines, thanks to his mother.

However he never got to start because when he got there, the bank had burnt to the ground that morning.

After, a Toowoomba car dealer said to Lindsay "we'll see how good you are selling cars".

He offered him his first job as a car salesman.

Lindsay left the banking world, which didn't pay as much and the people weren't as nice.

Other car sales jobs Lindsay had throughout his life included Laidley, Carey Motors and Ainsworth Motors in Chinchilla as well as owning his own dealership, Marsden Motors in Murgon for a few years as well.

After selling the dealership Lindsay and Marie set up a plant nursery at the rear of their house, which was very successful and he also became the local school bus driver.

Lindsay later returned to Chinchilla and took over the local jewellery shop and was there until he too was 'persuaded' to return to this one true love, selling cars.

"Honesty and integrity in all his business dealings was paramount to him, which saw clients coming back time and time again," Doreen said.

However, what most of the recent Chinchilla community would know about Lindsay is the passion he had for history and the town of Chinchilla.

Inducted into the Lions Club of Chinchilla on October 1971 after already being a member of Apex for a number of years, Lindsay was a driving force in projects that changed Chinchilla forever.

Coming up with Lions projects was his forte, with projects including pouring blood, sweat and tears into building the Tanderra Lawn Cemetery and the Lions garden across the road and building a mCactoblastis Monument on Clarks Rd, honouring the achievement of scientists in their search to destroy the awful scourge of the Prickly Pear, that inhabited the land.

Lindsay also came to the realisation some of the Queensland Lions Clubs didn't get a lot of visitors or support from their eastern compatriots, so he came up with the project Spinifex Safari tours.

Visits would coincide with many of the clubs' annual changeover dinners so visitors and their partners experienced country hospitality first-hand.

"They were always so appreciative that the visitors would take the time to go and visit them," Doreen said.

 

Lindsay Marsden at the 2019 Chinchilla Lions Handover Dinner.
Lindsay Marsden at the 2019 Chinchilla Lions Handover Dinner.

 

Lindsay was never short of a dream and wasn't afraid of aiming big, responsible for the most beautiful family-oriented place to visit and play - the Chinchilla Botanic Parklands.

"I'm sure both Bill McCutcheon, past chairman of the Chinchilla Shire Council and Paul McVeigh, current Mayor of the Western Downs Regional Council, would testify to Lindsay's commitment to the parkland project," Lions member Tony Minnis said.

"In fact, at the official opening of the parkland he received a presentation from the WDRC as an acknowledgment of his drive to have this project completed."

He also proved nothing was impossible, seeing a five-year dream come to fruition, with the first ever Lions Christmas Light Show in December 2019.

His hard work and dedication to the show took a toll on his wellbeing and just after Christmas, Lindsay suffered a stroke.

"He didn't give up, he gave a good fight, and he was doing something he loved, giving his community so much joy," Doreen said.

"I was trying to come up with a word to describe Lindsay to reflect his lifetime commitment to Lions and I decided perhaps the word 'persuader' might be the most appropriate," Tony said.

"He certainly liked to persuade people to become involved in Lions.

"At club level he was remarkably good at persuading our club to take on and become involved in hundreds of projects over the years.

"Of course to assist getting these projects completed, he also perfected the art of persuading local business houses and local government to help with funding, facilities and equipment to ensure these projects were completed.

"While none of us really know what awaits us on the other side of life.

"However I'm sure that wherever Lindsay is if there isn't a Lions Club, it will only be a matter of time."

His passing marks the loss of one of the region's icons, but his legacies and love and hard work for the community and loved ones will live on for decades.


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