Mark was an activist for family issues amongst others over many years here in South Australia. He mentored me to take over the role of President of the National Civic Council in SA many years ago.
All who met Mark would, I feel certain, comment about his larger-than-life jovial nature; but also of his grasp on politics and the state-of-play on a wide variety of issues.
I first met Mark in 1995 or thereabouts in the context of the Northern Territory's Rights of the Terminal Ill Act and the action to have that piece of legislation overturned in the Federal Parliament via what came to be known as 'The Andrew's Bill'.
They were heady and difficult days, but Mark inspired everyone with his steady approach and his organisational skills for the group, TRUST, here in South Australia. This was in the days long before the mobile phone and the internet where organisation was at the end of a phone or by snail mail.
I had not seen Mark to talk to for a few years prior to his passing last month and I understand that the last year or so was difficult for him, his wife Jo and their family. In testament to Mark, it was clear from the funeral service that he passed away just as he'd lived; with dedication to his family, a cheery, warm disposition and with the certainty of his faith.
Mark told me tales, far more than once, of James McAuley, probably Australia's greatest ever poet and friend. McAuley once penned a poem for Mark's mentor and friend, Bob Santamaria. Mark knew this piece by heart - and I mean by heart.
Come into yourself a while,
Be deaf to outer cries;
Ask not who wins, who falls, who rages,
Or what each doubtful sign presages,
Or what face treachery wears.
Soon you must return to tasks
That sicken and appal:
The calumnies will never cease,
Look only to the sign of peace,
the Cross upon the wall.
This is that sole instrument
That measures every chart;
This square and level overrules
The subtle calculus of fools
By a celestial art.
It is not said we shall succeed,
Save as his Cross prevails:
The good we choose and mean to do
Prospers if he wills it too,
And if not, then it fails.
Nor is failure our disgrace:
By ways we cannot know
He keeps the merit in his hand,
And suddenly as no one planned,
Behold the kingdom grow!