June 2007 Newsletter - Kate Baker (Jensen) YHS 1962

Kate Baker (Jensen) YHS 1962 sent a note to say her father, Tom Jensen, passed away on 30th April 2006 at the age of 91. “In June 1951, Tom joined the Gas & Fuel Corporation of Victoria. At the end of the war, the Vic Govt was keen to use the State's reserves of brown coal to produce gas. In 1947, two German's - Danulat and Bruggemann - were brought to Australia to investigate using Victorian brown coal for the Lurgi gasification process. In July 1948, they reported it was suitable. With the prime objective of building the Lurgi plant at Morwell, the Gas & Fuel Corp of Vic was formed in December 1950. Tom was responsible for the drawings and specifications for the project and the instillation of the equipment. He was later responsible for the maintenance of the new plant. Another position he held at this time was as a board member of the First Latrobe Valley Water and Sewerage Board. In 1957, Tom took up a position as the Assistant General Superintendent for the State Electricity Commission of Victoria at Yallourn and in 1963, he became the Assistant General Superintendent for the SEC in Latrobe Valley. During this time, Tom was the Deputy Chairman of the Yallourn Advisory Council. Mr T Foristal, the chairman at that time, said "Tom has been held in high esteem by all and had been a very able councilor. He had been an example to other councilors. He has a warm sincere character and at all times acted with charm and distinction." In 1965, Tom was transferred to Kiewa SEC plant at a similar level to that held in Yallourn. His mining interests carried over to his personal life and his experience in digging holes and exploding came in handy. He cleared a 20 acre property of huge gum trees by placing gelignite in the roots, light it and making a quick getaway (wife Margaret was terrified that he might return minus some body part). Everywhere Tom lived, he dug holes and planted trees. Tom had a keen mind and his interests ranged from photography and sailing to gem faceting. He was also a great believer in social justice and his work in this area began in the 60s when he and Margaret held their first CAA group in their home in Camberwell, and later in Ringwood. The Exec Director of CAA Oxfam wrote to Tom thanking him for his incredible contribution to global justice and equity, saying his work had touched the lives of communities both overseas and in Australia. He said the Ringwood group had raised over $60,000 to support communities living in poverty. Tom also worked for Amnesty International, starting in the 70s and up until 2004, he still spoke to schools, churches and community groups, educating, informing and encouraging them to form groups to write letters to agitate for reform. His commitment to the urgent action human rights campaign letter writing was such a strong one that although unwell in the last months of his life, he was still supporting a Mornington Peninsula group. Tom Jensen is survived by four children and thirteen grandchildren.

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