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TRIBUTE TO OUR CHAIR EMERITUS   
DAVID HORTON, OAM

22 September 2022

By Wendy Smith

After thirty-five years serving as Karabar Housing Cooperative’s inaugural Chair, Mr David Horton OAM stood down last September to hand the reins over to Ms Viv Cox.

David had a long association with Queanbeyan before settling here in 1989. In his professional role as Registrar of Cooperatives, Permanent Building Societies, Credit Unions and Friendly Societies, he met members of the Queanbeyan Cooperative Housing Society, which included Hope and Ken Marland, Arthur Lambert and my father, Bob Smith, in 1969. This led to an ongoing relationship with all these members and in particular Hope Marland.

When David resigned as Secretary of the Department of Finance in 1983, he first moved to Carwoola and then Queanbeyan in 1989. David has long been involved with Christ Church, Queanbeyan, and the diocese. As well as being a parishioner, he has also been on Parish Council where he held the position of Chairperson, Warden and Treasurer. As Chair of the Anglican Investment Development Fund, which secures money from Anglican people and agencies, David saw profits returned to the diocese. He managed the fund through the Global Financial Crisis without loss and was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2014 for his service to the community, particularly through the Anglican Church.

Hope Marland asked David to join the first board of the Karabar Housing Cooperative as Chairman in 1986. David, along with Hope and Fr Michael Cockayne, the third founding member of Karabar Housing Cooperative, dreamed of building housing on church land for those who were on low to moderate incomes. With a government housing grant and a lot of persistence, this dream became a reality when six townhouses were built in Cooma Street on Anglican Church land in 1987. Eventually, six more townhouses, St Matthew’s church and community rooms, and a preschool were built on this site. As the years progressed, David oversaw the building of three townhouses on church land in Ernest Street and the purchase of seven units in Charles Street. In 2018, David signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the Cooperative and the Anglican Church for the Cooperative to manage six dwellings known as Beth Shalom on the church’s behalf. David had previously managed these units between 1998 and 2016 whilst a member of Christ Church. This MoU is still in place and the Cooperative continues David’s goal of fostering strong relationships with our local Anglican Church.

During his tenure as Chair, David has seen a dramatic decline in NSW Housing stock and rental accommodation in Queanbeyan. His awareness of how vulnerable many people are within our society has driven much of David’s housing work over the past 35 years. This situation clearly came into the spotlight during the COVID pandemic and the recent surge in property prices.

In guiding the Board, David ensured that tenant issues and the expansion of KHC’s housing stock were constantly on the agenda. He has provided great pastoral assistance and understanding to tenants and initiated many opportunities for tenants to improve outcomes for themselves and their families. Placing tenants’ concerns at the heart of the organisation has ensured the success of the Cooperative.

David has brought to the Board a strong work ethic, commitment to the ideals of the organisation; knowledge about the working of cooperatives and housing, and the ability to work with people. We are grateful that David is continuing as a Board member and member of the Cooperative’s Executive Committee, providing us with his wisdom and experience. This is a critical time for the organisation as it attempts to find innovative ways to expand and provide more and much-needed accommodation, and the Cooperative values and is much stronger for David’s input as Chair Emeritus.

Note:  David resigned from the Board of Directors on 8 December 2022.  He remains an active member of the Cooperative as advisor to the Board and member of the

Executive Committee.  

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