Vale Dr Michael Leo Simpson – 1959 to 2023
Montville Citizen of the Year, 2007 and Montville Lifetime Citizen, 2022.
When Michael graduated in medicine in 1991, he took up an internship at Nambour Hospital, wanting a country experience for his young family. He had already set his sights on becoming a GP in a village community. The family, Michael, Kyleigh, Christina and Eleanor, were visiting Montville when the warmth and friendliness extended to them during a school open day convinced them that they had found the community they wanted to join. In 1992, they purchased a small cottage on Western Avenue, enrolled their daughter, Christina at the Montville State School and welcomed their third child, son John into the family. It wasn’t until 1995 that Michael was able to secure a position in a local medical practice where he served as a Montville doctor for the next 27 years.
In the 1990s, Montville was still predominantly a rural community and Michael immersed himself in that community. He believed home visits were an essential part of village medical service and through these he quickly became familiar with the values and concerns of the community. He joined two key village institutions, the Montville State School P&C Association and the Montville Village Association (MVA). Through these, Michael engaged in working tirelessly for the health and well-being of the community.
As Vice-President of the MVA, Michael devised and managed urgent restoration and maintenance work on the Montville Village Hall in 2005/6. During this work he realised that many of the community facilities based in and around the Village Green, Memorial Close and Carpenter Place, including the hall itself, were exposed and vulnerable to commercial development. Working with an historian, Michael prepared a detailed submission nominating this precinct to be heritage listed and so protected. His nomination was successful and the precinct has become the centre of community activity again. In recognition of his community service, Michael was awarded Montville Citizen of the Year on Australia Day, 2007.
Michael held a passionate interest in three leisure-time pursuits which he shared with the community: vintage cars, gardening and music. He helped establish and was a foundation member of the Blackall Range Horseless Carriage Club which began life on Western Avenue. The club has provided a static display of vintage and heritage cars at Australia Day Ceremonies for over 20 years. With wife, Kyleigh, he created a heritage garden, ‘The Shambles’, on their small, once degraded block, winning awards, writing gardening books and promoting a successful Open Gardening Program which not only inspired gardeners but has raised over $100,000 for local charities and disaster victims. However, it is his love of music that the community will miss the most.
With his extended family, Michael created the Simpson Brothers Band. The band has played at Montville’s Australia Day Ceremonies since the 1990s and for a number of themed dinner-dances over the years. It has also played at the Hunchy Christmas Party for many years leading to Michael and Kyleigh being granted honorary Hunchy Citizenship. An ultimate measure of the importance that Michael placed on music, however, is revealed in late 2021 at the height of Covid. Believing the community needed ‘cheering up’, the band set up in front of the Village Square on Main Street to render a rollicking concert to lift spirits.
More than anything else, this is Michael’s legacy – to care for, nurture and lift the spirits of the individual and the community. In recognition of his service to and devotion for the Montville Community, Michael, along with Kyleigh, was presented with the Montville Lifetime Citizen Award at the Australia Day Ceremony, 2022.
Montville History Group