Vale Lionel Allemand OAM

Farewell to a much-loved and respected TPAV Life Member

By Sandro Lofaro

As tributes started to circulate on social media following the sad announcement in late December that TPAV life member, Lionel Allemand OAM, had passed away unexpectedly, it became clear that Lionel touched and positively influenced people and communities across many walks of life during his 77 years.

These tributes were underpinned by consistent themes – a lifetime of selflessly helping and serving others, respect, loyalty, compassion, integrity, and active community involvement.

He applied these timeless traits across the four loves of his life – his family, policing, sport and his local Manningham community.

Family

When perusing through Lionel’s extraordinary list of achievements it’s difficult to fathom how he could have dedicated much time for anything beyond his huge and loving family.

That Lionel found the time to not only do justice to his core commitment in life as a loving husband to wife, Mary Lou and as a devoted and adored dad/ grandfather to his 10 children and seven grandchildren while immersing himself in other pursuits is an extraordinary achievement of itself.

Policing

Lionel’s calling and key vocation in life was, of course, policing, which provided him with the perfect springboard from which he could help people and get  involved in his community. Yet, it wasn’t enough for him to serve the community as a police officer over a career spanning nearly 40 years.

He also had an instinctive urge to help improve the working lives of his fellow police members. It was an urge that would become an obsession.

Lionel reasoned very early in his career that the best platform from which to do this was to forge a deep and active involvement with The Police Association Victoria (TPAV). And Lionel was ‘all in’!

He served in a multitude of elected and appointed roles with TPAV over decades – as one of the longest-serving board members, between 1971 and 1990 – including a term as President between 1979 and 1981 – and as a full-time staff member, including as TPAV’s first ever Field Officer from the mid-1980s and then as Delegates’ Coordinator  until 1993, working alongside his close friend and contemporary, Phil Edge Snr.

His dedicated service and impressive list of achievements on behalf of members earned Lionel TPAV Life membership.

Mary Lou was also later to be bestowed the same honour in recognition for the crucial role that she and their family played in providing Lionel with the invaluable support he needed to focus on his service to TPAV’s members.

This was an era of substantial achievement by TPAV for its members – accomplishments that continue to endure and benefit the current generation of members.

It was the time when TPAV’s cherished Legal Representation Cost Fund was introduced in the late 1970s to protect members going about their job in good faith. 

A decade later, after a long and sustained campaign by TPAV’s leadership of the day, the Emergency Services Superannuation Scheme became a reality. It would ensure that members and their fire and ambulance colleagues were duly afforded the dignified retirement they deserved after decades of placing themselves in harm’s way to protect and serve their communities.

There were of course a multitude of other issues where Lionel was more directly involved in helping to improve the working lives of TPAV members which are too numerous to set out in this obituary.

Together with close friends and colleagues Brian Kelly and Merv Pickering, Lionel was a driving force behind the establishment of the Police Association Credit Cooperative in 1974 (now known as BankVic).

A key motivation to set up a financial institution for police was that it would make it easier for them to borrow the necessary funds to purchase a home – something that police members at the time found extremely difficult to do with the major banks.

Lionel was to serve on the Board for 26 years, 16 as Chairman, a length of tenure that remains unmatched.

Lionel championed community recognition and remembrance of police who died on duty, well before it became an entrenched part of the public and policing calendar.

In the wake of the tragic murders of Constable Angela Taylor in 1986 and then Constables Steven Tynan and Damien Eyre two years later, Lionel co-founded foundations and scholarships named in their honour.

These would later morph into the establishment of high-profile police remembrance bodies and events with which we’ve become familiar today.

Sport

Lionel successfully combined his love of sport with policing, having represented the Victoria Police Football (Australian Rules) and Cricket Clubs, both as a player and administrator, earning life membership of both clubs along the way.

His talent and passion for footy, saw him play a handful of games for Fitzroy’s Under 19’s side before injury cut short his VFL dream.

However, this didn’t diminish his love nor involvement with the ‘Roys.

He would continue his involvement with the club as a longterm committee member of the Fitzroy Football Club Past Players and Officials Association and played a significant role in ensuring that Fitzroy’s rich history would be properly preserved and recognised when the club merged with the Brisbane Bears in 1997 to form the Brisbane Lions.

Unlike many old ‘Roy Boys’, Lionel embraced the new entity and would continue his staunch support of the Lions, making regular trips to Brisbane to watch his team in person.

Community

The other love of Lionel’s life was his local community of Manningham.

As was typical of Lionel, just being a passive citizen wasn’t an option. He had to be ‘all in’.

Lionel was driven to serve and help his community be the best it could.

He was actively involved in his local sporting club at Donvale over many years which then led him to serve his broader community as an elected councillor for nine years, during which he served two stints as Mayor – firstly of the Doncaster/ Templestowe City Council in 1994 and then between 1999 and 2001 as Mayor of the restructured and renamed Manningham Council.

Lionel was remembered by council colleagues as a true leader who actively pursued an innovative and creative agenda to improve the lives of his fellow citizens – always with trademark honesty, empathy and accountability.

One of Lionel’s many friends and former colleague, Rod Collins, perhaps best captured his essence with this tribute.

“Lionel was a very special person who always made time to listen and treated everyone with respect and as an equal.

“His personal and community achievements have been well documented and are a testament to his willingness to give, so others would be better off. There are many people within our extended communities that are far better people as a result of having contact with or being a recipient of Lionel’s knowledge and care.”

Lionel is survived by Mary Lou and their 10 children, Matthew, Melissa, Michael, Paul, Nicole, Simon, Catherine, Andrew, Rebecca and James, together with their seven grandchildren, Nicholas, Liliana, Amber, Tyson, Samuel, Harvey and William.