An aerial view of the Village of Woodbridge, Tasmania - located some 35Km south of Hobart

Village farewells Joe Ottevanger

Joe, who recently passed on, and his wife Rosie have lived within our Woodbridge community for a number of years.

As his stepson, Jeremy, in his eulogy to Joe pointed out that, in the last quarter of his life "Joe managed to build a beautifully creative home, travel around Australia with Mum in a campervan and go to university, not to mention creating lots of pictures, catching even more fish and telling infinitely more stories; most of them untrue"



Joe Ottevanger:  Eulogy by his stepson Jerry Pink:

We first met Joe in 1996, when my Mum Rosie and he visited England for our introduction to her new man. Putting it into perspective then, we only knew him for the last quarter of his life.

However, in that time he managed to marry Rosie, build a beautifully creative home, travel around Australia with Mum in a campervan and go to university, not to mention creating lots of pictures, catching even more fish and telling infinitely more stories; most of them untrue.

For example, not too many people know that he spent some years in South Africa helping to win the Boer war. He must have been particularly taken with the wildlife while he was there as he like nothing more than watching nature programs about lions ganging up on zebras.  

Joe had enthusiasm and a zest for life that was contagious, as anyone who knew him would agree. He was naturally proficient in so many skills – a real craftsman – and he liked nothing better than showing others how to do those things. Art was one of his great passions and he had a particular love for lino printing; a method that involves incredible patience and skill – far more than any normal person.

Joe owned a boat named Vissen. For any non- Dutch speakers, including me, that means fish and reflects another of his great passions. I was fortunate enough to spend many pleasant hours reeling flathead out of the D’Entrecasteaux channel with him. He had a fail safe way of getting the fish to bite. Simply pouring himself a cup of coffee and having his hands full would cause a violent bite, his rod to be almost pulled into the water and a state of chaos to commence.

What else did he like? Well he was very fond of food, light houses, wooden boats, gadgets, four wheel drives, anything to do with paint, a very old beanie hat and we even got him interested in gin and tonic.

Joe was an immediate hit with my girls and all the kids who knew him. He could do the crawly caterpillar thing with his eyebrows and they all loved him for it. So, while from our side of the family, he was husband, step: father, father-in-law and grandfather, we will always remember him as Opa, our friend and we will miss him dearly.


Joe was always involved with the local community - when not travelling with Rosie in their camper wagon.



His annual painting of Christmas signs at the local shop are going to be missed - any photos of some of his "shop window art" would be appreciated.


He was always there for a community social event

and became involved with the local WestWinds Mens Shed, members of which constructed a ramp at his home to cater for his ever-increasing medical transport requirements over recent times.



He was probably pleased at being able to 'hold up the Winnebagos' as his funeral procession passed through the village after his farewell service at St Simon and St Judes Church.

Farewell Joe, the village will miss you......



His eldest daughter, Johanna Wicks, presented the following eulogy....


Good morning my name is Johanna Wicks the eldest daughter of Joe or Joop, but I am better known as Joke by my family and friends and that is what Dad always called me.  I would like to thank you for coming today to help celebrate his life.


Dad was born in Rotterdam on 24th May 1935 and as a young boy he survived WW2 and shortly after he and his family moved to De Hague where he met and married my mother.  They lived in De Hague for another 6 years where myself and my brother were born, and then they decided to migrate to Western Australia where 2 of my mother’s sisters lived and where my 2 sisters were born.


He loved Australia and he always encouraged us to think of Australia as our home and told us how lucky we were to live here.  He worked hard to ensure we had as good a life as possible on the wage of a painter, in the first years he also attended English classes several nights a week because it was important to him to become an Australian which he and my mum did in 1970.


My brother and I have many memories of Dad coming home after visiting the green grocers with some strange and unusual produce for us to try.  He would find out about where it came from, how to prepare it and how to eat it.  We both loved the day he brought home sugar cane and we all sat around chewing on this piece of wood extracting the sweet juices. Not all of the things he brought home were as nice.


He worked hard all his life and myself and my brother Hans would often go to work with him on weekends to help out with cleaning, prepping and sanding of surfaces ready for painting and if we were lucky we even got to do some of the painting.  As an adult while in between jobs I went on site in Canberra to help paint a block of units, but in those days there were very few women to be found on a building site and Dad did not want anyone to know I was a girl so he made me dress in a very baggy white overall with a big terry towelling hat pulled down over my eyes as much as possible.  I was not allowed to talk so as soon as anyone came in to talk to him he would walk them outside to avoid any possible conversation with me plus he didn't want me to be exposed to the typical building site male language.


A dark shadow casts a pall over our early family life and for some it has been harder to come to terms with, this is the case for my sisters who are not here today.


Hans my brother who fortunately was able to spend some time with Dad in his final days last week is unable to be here today but he has asked me to speak on his behalf and express our love and the sorrow we feel at the loss of our father who taught us to work hard and never to give up until we achieve our goals.


He joins me in wanting to express our gratitude to Rosie and her family for the love and care they showered on him and letting him live the life he so enjoyed for the past 18 years


Some of his grandchildren and his great grandchildren were also unable to be here but he was very excited to hear of the arrival of his 10th great grandchild - Jobe (Joe) who was born last week.




Christine to read


Dad's brother Wout, and his nephew Ad have both sent over a couple words from Netherlands that they have asked to read out today.  Here is rough translation of these emails

From Wout and his wife Nel:


We look back on the years we have had with Joe and Rosie, every time when we talk and think back of those times we had in Australia and Holland they were very nice and good.  When we were together we had lots of fun and lots of laughing.  When we were with him (Canberra and Tasmania) we saw lots of parts of Australia and Tasmania, we have a video which we have now put on a DVD which we like to watch and look back to that beautiful time.


I will never forget the time when we were there at his caravan and we go out fishing and I catch the biggest trout, he was jealous that I catch the biggest and we still have the glass that I won.


We want to wish Rosie and all his kids’ lots and lots of strength too and we will always be thinking of you.

Lots of love from Nel and Wout xxxxxxx



From Ad (nephew) and his wife Inga:


We remember Joop (Yoop) Ottevanger or better known as Joe here in Australia, our uncle and how we met him and his lovely wife Rosie in 2003 when we were exploring Australia. We are proud that we have met him because of that we found more lovely family, like his kids and off course his grandchildren and great grandchildren.


When we were there in 2003 it was a very good time because for me it was also a time to relive my memories of my mother, we spoke lots about his memories of his times before he left Holland. I never forget that it was Easter time and having lots of fun painting the eggs. We had a great time and for us it was good to learn more about him and Rosie because both of them are lovely people.


It was good to see how his life is and the things he did, in our eye’s he was a great artist in lino printing and it was great to see how he did all those things. There will be always be a memory on our wall to him.


We will miss him lots but his memory goes with Rosie and we will absolutely be visiting there in the future.


Our heart is crying now but we hope he has the peace and rest now that he deserves.  Lots of love to Rosie and all the family we will always miss him,


Inga and Ad van Meurs - The Netherlands



On behalf of myself and Opa's grandchildren I would like to say we love you Opa and we will miss you.