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Byron Shire
October 25, 2021

Vale Alan Rich: surfer, filmmaker, environmentalist, councillor

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richThe life of former Ballina Shire councillor, surfer, filmmaker and well-known Lennox Head resident Alan Rich, who passed away last week at the age of 68 following a short illness, was celebrated at a service at Ballina Surf Club on Saturday.

Mr Rich (right), who served nine years as a Ballina councillor championing coastal protection and other local environmental causes, grew up in Los Angeles County, US, where he carved out a career as a pioneer surf filmmaker with the help of his Australian wife Evelyn Rich.

Both were self-taught in the craft. The couple moved to Sydney in 1978 after several years touring the world, and seven years later settled in Lennox Head. He was elected to Ballina council in 1999.

Ballina mayor David Wright described Mr Rich as a passionate campaigner against inappropriate development.

Cr Wright, who joined long-time friends of Mr Rich including fellow US surfing identity/expatriate Rusty Miller at the service, told APN Media Mr Rich had initiated the push for Ballina to appoint its own environmental officer and ensured council meetings were transparent by lobbying for the recording of meetings.

Alan Rich is survived by his wife Evelyn and twin 30-year-old daughters April and Nikki.

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  1. Ihave known and worked with Allan since 1999. Having just returned from London I had no idea that he was poorly. I am sorry that I missed the service at the Ballina Surf Club. My sincere condolences to his family. RIP Allan. Mick Marrs

  2. Alan was a respected member of the coastal community of NSW who was passionate about coastal management. Over the years I had the privilege of his company on many occasions and the opportunity to discuss, sometimes in a “robust” manner, ideas on how best to manage the NSW coast for present and future generations. We always remained friends and I looked forward to his “take” on issues; an input which is now unfortunately no longer available. On behalf of myself, and I feel sure Alan’s colleagues in the coastal management community, I would like to take the opportunity to extend sincere condolences to his family and to recognise his valuable input into coastal management in NSW.

    Angus Gordon
    Chair, NSW Coastal Panel

  3. Alan is a true inspiration. For someone to have the courage to leave the comforts of their home country knowing that a better place exists to raise a family, well, that’s just legendary. As a visitor to Australia, I felt at home whenever I was with Alan, Ev, April, or Nikki. Alan’s life proves that if you can imagine a better life, its true that you can create it for yourself.

  4. I am so sorry to hear of Alan’s passing and that I was unable to attend the Saturday Service. Alan’s passion and enthusiasm for initiating ideas to keep our beautiful coastal communities one of the best places to be will be missed very much. I will miss his smiling face and Southern California accent in our conversations as we crossed paths on the street in Lennox and in the many events we attended. My condolences to Alan’s family. Alan you have left us too soon. R.I.P. Mate
    Gary Fox
    NSW Business Chamber
    President, Northern Rivers Region

  5. sorry to see such a legend pass away…helped Alan with his movies in Adelaide & he helped the charity I am involved in take young people surfing….gentleman & legend


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