Donald "Don" James SWANSON

After 71 glorious years of living, Don has ‘cashed in his chips’ and quit the game. Don has worked as a clerk, cleaner, caddy, self employed landscaper, dish pig, prep chef and chef. He has worked in the kill room of a small family abattoir and did roofing as well as carpenter for the Illinois State Museum. He is best known as a Warrnambool College English, music, guitar, and cooking teacher, active unionist, Deakin University Lecturer, author and environmentalist. He has brightened up many events as a musician playing with No Excuses, a country band, with Paddy Lie Back an Irish band with Brewer’s Own, a bush band and in many an Irish session. Along with his surf lifesaving and environmental activities, Don helped the Warrnambool and District Foodshare become ‘part of the furniture’ of Warrnambool’s social consciousness by being its CEO during a crucial transition period and being on its board of directors for many years.

He leaves behind his beloved wife Terry, son Michael, granddaughter Eve, and three wonderful sisters Debbie, Patti and Lori, their children as well as friends and thousands of students who have been touched by his sincere care for them, sense of humour, and ability to find their gift and help them let it grow.

Please feel free to bring an instrument to play after the service.



Linda Henricus (formerly Lee) I’m so sad to see that Don has passed. He was so much fun. My fondest memories are when we joined the

band with the McQuinns. Gone but not forgotten.

Eve My bestfriend and my favorite grandpa, i will miss you so much. i hope you are no longer suffering

Love always Eve

Jenny Jensz Deepest Sympathy to you Terry and your family, at this time, such a wonderful couple and Don’s special Nurse

with help from Jan.

Mathew Fitzwilliam I remember Don from when he taught me guiatr at Camperdown High School – I didn’t quite make it to

Dallas Brookes Hall (as you predicted) but I still play to this day.

A huge influence and inspiration not only musically but also outlook on life.

Very fond memories of Don and his easy going demeanour. One story is of him driving his old VW Bug with

Ted Beazley (another teacher at Camperdown) in the front boot down the street behind the school before the

start of the day!

Ah, school days…. keep on pickin’ Don.

Fiona Chandler and Mark Hardy It has been a while since we last enjoyed Don, Terry and Michael’s company and we are so sad to hear that Don

has passed. We have some lovely memories of this wonderful man and cherish the laughter, meals (especially the

barbecues) and camaraderie that he shared with us. Our heartfelt condolences on your loss Terry and Michael.

Sending you bon courage from France.

Judy Lumsden So joyful and inspiring. So charismatic. So clever. so talented. So in love with language and Literature. So kind.

So nice to have known you Don. (Warrnambool College teacher)

Debbie Lee Sending sincere condolences to Mr Swanson’s family. I graduated WHS in 1992 and have never forgotten

inspirational teachers like Mr Swanson. Always enjoyed his musical moments in form room too! Massive loss,

sending much love and care.

Fiona Mr Swanson, not only were you passionate about your teaching but also about your students and their interests.

Thank you for introducing me to wonderful new books. School was a better place with you in it.

Leanne and Greg McQuinn Fond memories of Don, a teacher, band member and friend from decades past.
Our condolences to Terry, Michael, Eve and Don’s family and friends.
RIP Swannie
Lauren Whitmore Swanny.
The. Greatest. Of. All. Time.
Plato, Frost, Miller, Whitman, Wharton.
Lennon and McCartney.
All of these forever internalised,
with an Illinois accent.
O Captain! My Captain!
Everyday. You turned up and gave us so much.
So much heart.
You genuinely cared.
You thought we were smart. Capable.
You made us feel valued.
You shared and celebrated so much of your passion for literature, music,
And life.
You urged us to Seize The Day.
To take the Road Less Travelled.
More than a teacher.
A mentor.
An inspiration.
You knew how to live.
Thank you, Mr. Swanson,
Paul Howard I’m utterly saddened to hear about Don’s passing, I was only thinking about him last week which makes it even

harder to accept. He’s the man that taught me the difference between less and fewer, it may be a trivial point to

some, but he said all words exist for a reason. Vale Don. Next pint is on me.

Kate Robilliard Sending sympathies to Don’s family. Don was my Business Communications Lecturer and Tutor 20 years ago at

Deakin University. His lectures and tuts were always enjoyable and you could always be guaranteed to leave with

a smile. He was a wonderful mentor who will be fondly remembered.

Michelle Gibb Don was a beautiful man and will be greatly missed. Hoping that Terry and those he loves can draw comfort from

all the wonderful memories that you share.

Trish Norberg- Roberts Dear Terry,
Condolences in your loss. Though I did not have the pleasure of meeting Don, I understand the loss will beimmeasurable. May your years of abundant memories sustain you. Be kind to you.
Di Carr To a wonderful man – once met, never forgotten.
Jane Buis Henry What a wonderful person who touched many people in his lifetime.

RIP , I’m sure he has a band playing all ready…

Funeral Notice

ServiceNovember 29, 2022 - 11:30 am2 Simpson Street Warrnambool, VIC Venue: Proudfoots Boathouse

Family and friends are invited to attend a celebration of Don’s life at Proudfoots By The River, 2 Simpson Street, Warrnambool on TUESDAY (November 29) commencing at 11.30am.


  1. Very Sad to hear today. Our Warmest Thoghts are with you all. There is some Great Music being played in Heaven now 🎼🎸 With All our Love ❤️ Susie & Tony Garrity 🙋🙋‍♂️💐 🎹

    Anthony and Susie Garrity June 9, 2023