Reg Gregor OAM at his Dunoon home in 2005.
Reg Gregor OAM at his Dunoon home in 2005. Cathy Adams

Celebrated artist passes away at St Vincent's Hospital

ARTIST and raconteur Reg Gregor passed away on Saturday morning at St Vincent's Hospital in Lismore.

Born and bred in Byron Bay, Reg was awarded an Order of Australia Medal in 1996 for his contribution to Australian art and in recognition of his charity work.

Over a 30-year period Reg raised more than $2 million for various charities all around the country.

He made his reputation painting canvas tents at events all over Australia.

Over several days he would work on giant canvas murals that depicted the country fairs he was working at, landscapes and "abstract stuff".

Then at the end of the event he would cut up the canvas and auction off the paintings, giving part of the proceeds to charity.

"Everybody said 'you've got a great gift', but I've always said a gift is not a gift until you give it away," Reg once said.

He also used to like working with musicians and developed a stage show with a group that became known as The Goodies because they began working at The Goodies Hotel in Tamworth.

"I'd do a Rolf Harris-style act with a four-inch paintbrush and a palette knife while the band was playing.

"They'd do two songs and I'd have a painting finished and then I'd auction it straight out to the audience. During a show I would do five or six paintings ... It became such a legend during the festival in Tamworth.

"We did it for 18 years straight and it became a must-see show down there," he said.

The Goodies toured all over Australia and once to Japan.

After completing his Intermediate Certificate at Mullumbimby High, Reg went to work in the meatworks and at Norco in Byron Bay.

He travelled extensively and worked on cotton farms at Narrabri for eight years before convincing himself that he could make a living from his art.

He said he would paint all week in his shed and then take a bunch of paintings to the markets at The Channon or Nerang.

Reg and his wife Marcia settled in Dunoon and built a hexagonal house that was famous for its old English bar and his parties.

He was instrumental in getting the Dunoon Sports Club built and in recent years he was involved in starting the Dunoon Men's Shed.

Reg lost a leg to diabetes in 2003 and has had ongoing health issues ever since.

His friend Rod Little said Reg had "a string of friends a mile wide. Everyone thought well of him".

He leaves behind his wife Marcia and three adult children.

At Reg's request, his shed full of paintings will be left to his grandchildren.

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