‘No part of the community untouched’: Hunt family farewelled

Ten balloons – pink, white, green and blue – are released at the conclusion of the Hunt family funeral at the Lockhart Cemetery on Tuesday. Picture: Michael FrogleyREFLECTION
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AS A 24-degree September sun warmed the backs of thousands at yesterday’s community memorial service, hearts began to melt – again.

The initial shock of what unfolded at the Hunt family’s property “Watch Hill” two weeks ago may have faded over time, but heavy hearts remain.

The thousands of people who turnedup for the service was a clear indication of the strength and resilience in the Lockhart and Boree Creek communities.

Coming to terms with the loss of an entire family, in such heartbreaking circumstances, was never going to be easy.

Geoff Bergmeier, a friend of Geoff Hunt’s since they started Kindergarten together, summed it up.

“There is no part of our community that has not been touched by their (Geoff and Kim’s) amazing service and goodwill to others,” Mr Bergmeier said in his eulogy.

At moments during the 80-minute service, a light breeze caused strings of coloured paper butterflies around the marquee to flutter ever so slightly.

Under the cover, in front of where those who gathered sat, five black and white individual portraits – Geoff, Kim, Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe – smiled back from their own little easel.

Behind them were five big butterflies and, as the service progressed, more references were made to those beautiful, little insects.

On most of the seats sat a bookmark – each with a different coloured butterfly and the words: “A butterfly lights beside us like a sunbeam and, for a brief moment, its glory and beauty belong to our world: but then it flies again. And though we wish it could have stayed, we feel so lucky to have seen it.”

It was a sentiment that has been constantly echoed since the bodies of Kim and her three children were found on September 9 and Geoff’s located the following day.

An entire family of five gone.

A tragedy that shocked a nation.

“In order to become a butterfly, a caterpillar must die”, Reverend Nola Cox told the service.

“The lesson we learn from the butterfly (is that) death is not just an ending, it is a beginning,” she said.

When the service came to an end, five balloons drifted skyward together before they parted ways.

In what appeared to be one final act of public unity, three of them – possibly representing the Hunt children – floated close to each other.

The other two were paired a short distance away.

All five balloons kept a similar formation as they rose into the sky, then each went their separate way.

RELATED:Family of five farewelled,Community memorial service for Lockhart family

Kim Hunt’s sister Jenny Geppert is supported by husband Mark as she bids her final farewells to all five members of the Hunt family at Tuesday’s funeral. Picture: Michael Frogley

FIVE coffins – four white, one brown – laid side-by-side under a bright blue sky at the Lockhart cemetery yesterday.

Inside were the bodies of Geoff Hunt, 44, his 41-year-old wife Kim, son Fletcher, 10 and daughters Mia, 8, and Phoebe, 6.

The entire Hunt family.

At least 50family memberscame together for a graveside service that honoured five people who touched so many people.

Kim’s sister Jenny Geppert approached each of the coffins one by one; each time kneeling down and embracing them.

Flowers had been placed on Kim and the girls’ coffins, while a bundle of wheat sat atop those of Geoff and Fletcher.

When Jenny got to her big sister’s coffin, she put her arms around it – one final embrace with a woman she later described as “my idol, my friend” at the public memorial service.

At 10.08am – after a brief but visibly moving ceremony – 10 balloons were released into the air.

The balloons – four pink, two white, two blue and two green – were sent skyward by young members of the Hunt family.

Minutes later, as mourners came together in a time of incomprehensible sadness, two white butterflies danced their way around media who had assembled a respectful distance from the service.

Another two butterflies – seen fluttering around flowers that adorned existing plaques inside the lawn cemetery – were oblivious to the magnitude of the grief being experienced by those gathered just metres away.

THE gates that opened at this year’s Henty Machinery Field Days on Tuesday won’t be welcoming five of itsregular faces.

Kim Hunt’ssister Jenny Geppert told Tuesday’s public memorial service itwould be the first year they would miss the field days.

“We couldn’t bear walking around the crowds searching for your smiling faces,” Jennysaid.

“Faces that I hope will not be forgotten, but will live on through the memories of our friends and families.”

Wagga Local Area Commander Superintendent Bob Noble described the past two weeks as the worst experienced since post the war, when he briefly addressed the media in Lockhart on Tuesday. Picture: Michael Frogley

PARALLELS drawn between the average family and the one farewelled in Lockhart on Tuesday “brings home to everyone the gravity of the situation”, Wagga’s police chief says.

Wagga Local Area Commander Superintendent Bob Noble described the past two weeks as the worst the community has experienced since post the war, as he addressed the media in the town on Tuesday morning.

Superintendent Noble preferred not to comment about the investigation, instead focusing on remembering the Hunt family – Geoff, Kim, Fletcher, Mia and Phoebe.

“Anyone who has got their own family can draw parallels between some of those stories there today (Tuesday) about the Hunts and their own families, so I think that brings home to everyone the gravity of the situation,” Superintendent Noble said.

“It’s extremely important (for the community to come together).

“It’s been a difficult two weeks, I suspect the worst two week post the war this community’s probably ever experienced, so coming together and putting arms around one another emotionally-so is a good thing.

“They can probably put a full-stop on that chapter and start looking at the grieving process properly.”

Superintendent Noble said Wagga detectives, along with the State Crime Command, were working “very, very, very hard in drawing that (investigation) to a conclusion, so it can be presented to the coroner”.

* Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.