Tributes flow for prominent dairy farmers

Tributes flow for Ross and Andrew Powell

Ross and Andrew Powell, Port Campbell, have been recognised as selfless members of the community. Photo by Rob Gunstone.

Ross and Andrew Powell, Port Campbell, have been recognised as selfless members of the community. Photo by Rob Gunstone.


Ross and Andrew Powell passed away on the weekend after trying to rescue a tourist near the Twelve Apostles.


A father and son duo who drowned trying to rescue a tourist from rough waters near Port Campbell on Sunday have been described as selfless members of the local community.

Ross, 71, and Andrew Powell, 32, were lifelong members of the Port Campbell Surf Life Saving Club and prominent figures in the local dairy farming industry.

They, along with one other lifesaver, were attempting to save a tourist at Sherbrook River, near the Twelve Apostles on Sunday morning when their boat flipped.

The father and son were declared dead at the scene, while the third lifesaver was seriously injured and airlifted to The Alfred hospital.

Andrew, one of four children, dedicated himself to the family's farm and was "a successful, innovative farmer" who led the local dairy farmers' group until late last year, according to Corangamite mayor Neil Trotter.

Amber Griffiths, the partner of Andrew Powell, 32, posted a heartbreaking message on Facebook on Monday morning, farewelling "the love of my life".

"... Light of my life, father of my baby girl. My heart is broken. I miss you Andrew Powell," Ms Griffiths wrote.

Chair of the dairy group WestVic Simone Reynard, who had known the men for 24 years, said they were "the most incredible, kindest people you could ever meet".

"They just get on and get the job done; the minute you needed them, they were there," Ms Reynard said.

"They wouldn't have even thought twice when they got that phone call on Sunday, they would've gone straight into action."

Ross had moved into a new home in Port Campbell with his wife Valeria just last week.

As his father entered the next stage of his life, Andrew was managing the family property at Cooriemungle, around 20 kilometres inland from Port Campbell, with Ms Griffiths.

Andrew won a local young farm leader award in 2017, saying at the time: "Everything I do, I do because I enjoy it. I don't look for recognition."

Ms Raynard said he had a passion for everything he did.

"Even as a little boy, Andy was behind his dad on the farm," she said.

"As he's grown up now and become a man himself, his dad would still be his greatest mentor."

Andrew stepped down as leader of the dairy group in December last year, offering guidance to fellow farmers, while Ross was the oldest active member.

Ms Raynard said the duo "could always see the light at the end of the tunnel".

"The loss in our region will create such a huge void; it will be impossible to fill," she said.


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