OBITUARY: Colourful chronicler Larry Noye

One of the west’s most colourful characters and thorough chroniclers of history, veteran journalist Larry Noye (28.7.1928-11.3.2014) has died, aged 85.

The Seaholme resident, whose home was filled to the ceiling with books and newspapers, died peacefully at the St George’s Benetas aged care facility in Altona Meadows.

The youngest of four children, Mr Noye grew up in a Yarraville home that was filled with love, books and loud, volatile political discussions.

A neighbour once referred to them as the “noisy Noyes”.

After primary school in Yarraville, Mr Noye attended Williamstown High school until the age of 16, when he left to become a copy boy for The Truth.

A year later, he joined the Footscray Mail, and also worked at the Bendigo Advertiser, Geelong Advertiser, Hobart Mercury and Launceston Examiner.

He worked at the Footscray Advertiser for 16 years, before spending 14 years in Canberra as a political reporter.

Mr Noye was a prolific writer of letters to the editor, pounded out on a manual typewriter with any mistakes corrected in grey-lead pencil using proofreader marks. He would often send in news leads and obituaries.

Family member Megan Erm said he would have been delighted knowing he would have an obituary written about him.

“When I asked him how he was going he’d ignore the question and say, ‘Life is so rich, so full, I’m writing an obituary on someone and it’s so interesting’.”

Mr Noye loved local and Australian history, and the crowning glory of his writing career was the publication of a book, O’Malley MHR, about King O’Malley, an early federal Labor politician who was instrumental in establishing the Commonwealth Bank.

The privatisation of the bank in the 1990s outraged and preoccupied Mr Noye and was a topic of many of his letters to the editor.

Mr Noye didn’t drink, smoke, swear or gamble, living by a simple and very straight moral code. He believed in helping those less fortunate than himself and belonged to a number of service clubs in Footscray and Altona.

He invariably wrote with letterheads that he’d put together, sometimes with a photo of himself and his dog, and the title “Larry Noye, Columbus of Canberra”, “Bard of the West” or “Shakespeare of Footscray”.

Following in the family tradition, Mr Noye was an avid follower of the former Footscray Football Club and loved socialising with past players.

Somehow, he wrangled a membership to the Footscray past players’ association, saying it was something to do with being an old sports journalist.

Mr Noye always had dogs that were either strays or adopted from the Lost Dogs Home.

In the last few years, Patch would accompany Mr Noye to Pier Street where the pair would sit at an outside table. Mr Noye would share his lunch with her and chat to all who passed.

The only time Mr Noye was ever bored was when he couldn’t get hold of a newspaper, telephone, pen and paper to write the next article or letter.