Saturday, 31 March 2012


Harold served in the Second World War as an army medic and spent his 21st birthday in New Guinea. He had a life long interest in science and after the war studied at Melbourne University. Harold commenced his working career with the Dept of Air.  In 1956, he moved to the Australian Taxation Office until he retired in January 1984. 

Whilst a full time career public servant, he also fully committed his spare time to several other causes. 

Harold was a founding member of Fitzroy History Society since its formation 27 years ago. He retired as its Treasurer in 2009.  He is also a life member of Friends of Merri Creek, and spent several years as an active member contributing to improvement of the Creek.

He started sharing his house with Asian students in 1962 and this arrangement continued till 2010.  As a result of this sharing, Harold has became an active member of a number of Asian Friendship organisations, including being on the executive committee of the Australian Asian Association.  On Australia Day, 26 January 2002, he was presented with a special gift by the Chinese Consulate to honour his care of Chinese students for over 40 years and for his work with the Chinese community.

Harold was elected a Councillor with Fitzroy City Council and served as a Councillor from 1973 to 1976, and from 1979 to 1982, and was elected to the role of Mayor in 1982.

On Australia Day 2002, Harold was awarded City of Yarra Citizen of the Year for 2002. 

In the same year, on the Queens Birthday (10 June 2002),  Harold was awarded the Order of Australia Medal.  This award was for his work in the Fitzroy community – helping youths, the needy, the elderly, the unemployed, homeless people and overseas students.

Friend and family are welcome to leave tributes and comments below.


  1. Bill Ford( April 2012 at 19:14

    I knew Harold from my time working at the Brotherhood of St. Laurence in Fitzroy in 1978 until I left there in 1990 and we had many chats. I had earlier encountered him at Australia- Asian Assiciation functions, and later I caught up with him often at Australia- Korean Association and Australian - NorthKorean Society meetings and functions where we shared our common interests in North Asia. I visited him a number of times at his home in North Fitzroy and we exchanged emails a few times, but I lost contact after he moved to a nursing home. I remember Harold as a person with a very sharp mind and a strong attachment for matters of fairness,social justice and equality - and North Asia.

  2. The Friends of Merri Creek are saddened by the death of our valued Life Member, Harold Mackrell. Harold’s connection with the Merri began in 1975 when he was a Fitzroy City Councillor (1973 to 1976 and from 1979 to 1982 - becoming Mayor in his last year). He helped establish the group in 1988, he was a Committee member, a most reliable representative on Merri Creek Management Committee - until 2009, and a regular at litter clean-ups with his special hooked 14ft folding pole for hard to reach litter.
    Harold always had a diary full of appointments and he used to say that he was busier in retirement than when he was employed.

  3. The Merri Creek Management Committee (MCMC)acknowledges the valuable contribution made by Harold Mackrell to Merri Creek and to the MCMC. Harold was a Friends of Merri Creek representative on the MCMC Board and/or one of its sub-committees from 1996 until 2009. Apart from his diligent committee work, we especially enjoyed Harold's fund of stories and the good humour that he brought to our annual mid-year and Christmas parties.

  4. I was very sad to hear of the death of Harold Mackrell, a great comrade and friend of the Labor Party and broader North Fitzroy community. Harold led a full and active life of selfless service to our community through his political involvement, Local Government service, engagement with environmental groups, such as Friends of the Merri Creek, and his deep commitment to supporting overseas students and advocacy for refugee communities.
    Harold would seek my support for his various causes in a quiet and often understated way, always motivated by the enduring social justice framework that guided his life.
    He actively campaigned for and advocated progressive policy positions within the Australian Labor Party, supported all of our campaigns and elections across the three spheres of Government and remained fully engaged in public discourse until his final years.
    With his passing we have lost a true friend and comrade.

  5. Leslie D Marmo Thai Culture and Food Festival, Australia Thailand Association, ACFS,.5 April 2012 at 06:32

    My association with Harold Mackrell was initially through a shared interest in Asia, we served together in the Melbourne Overseas Student Association, (known as Melcos and which was chaired by "Weary"Dunlop. Harold was a ceaseless worker for overseas students. When Melcos was disbaned,our contact was less but we managed to meet from time to time and share experiences of home hosting Asian students. Vale Harold rest in peace good and faithfil servant.

  6. My association with Harold began in 1973, at St Luke's Anglican Church in North Fitzroy. Harold was a devoted member of the parish all his life and his deep faith underlay all his communiity service, in its many manifestations. He believed and practised the two great Christian commandments to love God with "all your mind, and with all your heart, and strength" and to "love your neighbour as yourself". To him, working towards social justice, a fairer and more equal world, was essential. What was so remarkable was the breadth of his activism; he did not just think global and act local, he acted global as well. His neighbour was anyone who needed support, whether at home or abroad, as can be seen in other's tributes to him. During the 50's and 60's, he was the mainstay of the parish youth work; by the 70's he was the person that elderly members of the parish relied on for practical help of all kinds, whether being driven to church or getting repairs done at home. In later years, he was a regular and reliable volunteer at the parish drop-in centre, which could not have functioned without his practical support. At the same time, he was still involved in innumerable other community activities, including offering a home to overseas students and keeping in touch with former housemates. Retirement didn't stop him - it only gave him more opportunity to serve others. Even in death, he did not want a fuss made, but to give to research that might benefit us all. He truly was a good and faithful servant.

  7. Harold was a foundation member and
    Treasurer of the Society until 2009 -a period of 25 years.

    His reliable dedication and ongoing support to the Society was valued by all those who knew him.

    He was the last of the original foundation members to serve on the Committee,

    Meg Lee, President

  8. St Andrew's Clifton Hill with St Luke's North Fitzroy24 June 2012 at 22:59

    Harold Mackrell was a lifelong member of St Luke’s North Fitzroy, which moved to its Scotchmer Street site in the 1970s and later became a joint parish with St Andrew’s Clifton Hill. Sadly, the parish closed at Easter in 2011. In early May 2012, former members of the parish met and recorded their appreciation of Harold and his contribution to the church and his care of parishioners and other members of the community over the years.
    Harold spent his long life in North Fitzroy, moving to his Miller Street home at the age of two and leaving it only in the last year or so of his life, when his health declined.
    Earlier in life, Harold was very much involved with the large Sunday School and parish youth activities, later serving on Vestry for a very long time and for a period, auditing the St Andrew’s books. He helped establish one of the first basketball clubs for young people in Victoria in the St Luke’s hall. For many years he supplied the flowers for the church from his garden. On retirement, he helped at St Luke’s with the weekly meal and social time for low income people and oversaw the distribution of the food parcels supplied by St Mark’s Fitzroy, chatting with people over lunch and often assisting people with transport to appointments or to church activities.
    When older members of the parish moved elsewhere to be nearer relatives or moved into care, he kept in touch with them and often drove their friends for visits.
    Harold was a faithful and integral member of the parish, although naturally less involved as he aged. Aboriginal welfare and care for overseas students were matters of great concern to him. We were sorry that he specified there was to be no funeral or memorial service as we would have liked the opportunity to publicly commend him to God and, as his brothers and sisters in Christ, to give thanks for his life.