Joe and Jeanette Baggow, pictured in 2008 when they were the first dual winners of the Nebo Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award.
Joe and Jeanette Baggow, pictured in 2008 when they were the first dual winners of the Nebo Australia Day Citizen of the Year Award.

Tributes flow for 'big-hearted' Mackay region couple killed in crash

TRIBUTES are pouring in from the Isaac and Mackay communities for Joe and Jeanette Baggow, who were tragically killed in a road accident in Victoria's north on their way home from a family celebration.

Joe and Jeanette, 69 and 61 respectively, had left for their Coppabella home early when their SUV seemingly turned into the path of a four-wheel-drive towing a boat at Tongala just after 8am on Saturday.  

Mr and Mrs Baggow's niece, Kate Cutts, said the couple left early to beat the traffic.  

"We're all a little bit lost and we don't know what to do without them,'' Ms Cutts said.

"It's very out of character because Joe was just a careful driver."  

The much-loved couple, whose SUV entered the Murray Valley Highway from Scobie Rd, have three children and six grandchildren.  

But they took in many others.  

"They might have had three kids but they raised probably 33 more," Ms Cutts said.

"They were big-hearted people who took everybody and anybody in.  

"They lived their lives for everyone else around them and their family."  

In 2008, Joe and Jeanette won a citizenship award at the Mackay Australia Day awards ceremony, and the same year they were announced the first dual winners of the Nebo Australia Day Citizen of the Year award.  

Nebo mayor at the time Bob Oakes said Australia Day awards honoured those receiving awards for their high level of voluntary contribution to their community.  

"These people represent vast numbers of people out there in the community who are doing good things and equally deserving of award which are received with humility," Mr Oakes said.  

Tributes flowed online.  

"Such genuine people, you will be very missed by many," a loved one wrote.  

Isaac region mayor Anne Baker yesterday paid tribute to the community-minded couple.  

"Our thoughts and prayers are with Joe and Jeanette's family and friends," Mrs Baker said.   

"The community is in shock and mourning the loss of our long-term committed community members.  

"Joe and Jeanette for many many years have volunteered and supported everyone around them. They epitomise community.  

"This is such a tragedy and a huge loss. Again our thoughts are with their family."  

Madonna West, Treasurer of the Moranbah Touch Football Association said Joe and Jenny, as she was known, would be sadly missed by all the association's members, past and present.  

"Joe and Jenny were part of our Moranbah club for over 10 years," she said.  

"They used to drive in from Coppabella every week, they would bring a young team and a half of young teenagers to be in our competition, and they would be there without fail.  

"Also, Joe and Jenny were big supporters of their team for the members, they would bring all the drinks and the water bottles, they would coach them from the sideline, they would never miss a game, it was like they were all their children."  

Ms West said the entire region was devastated at the news.

"They were very kind people, very community minded, they would help anybody out no matter who you were," she said.  

"Everyone was shocked when they found out about the accident. It's devastating to lose two good people who made such a difference in the community. They did a lot for everybody. It's devastating news."  

The crash scene on Murray Valley Highway, Tongala, where two people died. Photo by Luke Hemer/ Riverine Herald.
The crash scene on Murray Valley Highway, Tongala, where two people died. Photo by Luke Hemer/ Riverine Herald.

Sgt Shane Walker, of Campaspe Highway Patrol, said the SUV had entered the highway from Scobie Rd.  

It was pushed into a dry channel.  

"It appears the driver has failed to give way," Sgt Walker said.

"There has been a collision at the crossroad.It's a reasonably open intersection and it's well signed."

A man aged in his 40s with spinal and chest injuries was taken to Goulburn Valley Base Hospital in a stable condition.  

A teenage girl with pelvis injuries was taken to Echuca Hospital in a stable condition.

Paramedics treated the two other adults and teen at the scene.  

A report will be prepared for the Coroner.  

News Corp Australia


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