Bede Carmody, a much-loved and well-known advocate for animal welfare, who ran the sanctuary A Poultry Place in Murrumbateman, has been remembered as someone who touched many lives right across Australia.
The 53-year-old died on October 12. His sister Donna said he died of natural causes, unexpectedly but peacefully, at the end apparently reading a book and drinking a glass of wine, surrounded by his beloved animals.
His sudden death has shocked fellow animal welfare supporters who quickly rallied to start a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to re-house the animals at his sanctuary and provide for their immediate and ongoing care.
The campaign has so far raised $20,000.
Originally from Sydney, Mr Carmody opened A Poultry Place on a bare block of land in Murrumbateman in January, 2001.
He spent 18 months transforming the block, planting more than 500 native trees, to create a no-kill sanctuary and permanent home for unwanted domestic poultry, which he believed were the most exploited group of animals killed for food. He also kept sheep and a goat and his "pride" of cats.
All the animals have been rehomed - to Little Oak Sanctuary in Manar, off the Kings Highway; Edgars Mission in Victoria and Whisker Woods Sanctuary in Williamsdale. Friends have taken his cats.
A former journalist, Mr Carmody devoted himself to animal welfare, starting with Animal Liberation, eventually choosing a life that was more true to himself, his sister Donna said.
"Bede was the most giving, generous, warm person," she said.
"He was true to his own values and ideas. And he did that in the face of some real challenges. Once he realised how unhappy he was not living his truth, every day after that was a celebration."
Ms Carmody said her brother referred to A Poultry Place as his "land of make believe", his escape from the rat race of Sydney where he could hone his focus on animal welfare.
"From the time he was a small child, he was an animal lover," she said.
"I can remember him watching Born Free and wanting to go to Africa and be with Christian and the lions. He often referred to his cats as his pride."
Friend and fellow animal advocate Lara Drew said Mr Carmody had been a "very empathetic, sympathetic person," she said.
"He was so loved by everyone in the community because he was someone you could have really good conversations with."
Another friend and advocate Jess Bailey said Mr Carmody was an influential figure in animal advocacy because he promoted the cause in a powerful but non-threatening way.
"He was the kind of guy who just drew people to him," she said.
"He was very warm and very open and very honest but also very firm in his convictions. He was one of the few people who actually managed to get those convictions across in a non-threatening way, so he was quite influential.
"He could communicate about animal rights issues in a passionate way without getting people offside, and that's a very valuable skill to have."
Ms Bailey said once Mr Carmody moved to Murrumbateman, his whole life became about creating a safe space for animals.
"Whenever there was a rescue, he was the first person to get a call," she said.
"But he did continue to be involved in the wider movement. He did a lot of mental health and self-care workshops for activists. Because it's quite common for a lot of activists to go in hard and burn out quickly.
"And whenever there was an event, he would be invited to speak, whether it was about the sanctuary or how to set up your own sanctuary or whatever the topic of the day was. He was a really good public speaker.
"I remember when he was invited to do a TEDx Canberra talk, he was so terrified. But he realised it was an opportunity to reach a huge amount of people at once, and in an enduring way because it's on YouTube forever, so he did that and he was amazing."
Ms Carmody, who lives in Adelaide, said a celebration of her brother's life would be held most likely at one of his favourite places, The Rocks in Sydney, at a date to be advised, once all his family and friends could travel.
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