'We aren’t prepared for a life without him'
POLICE and emergency services formed a guard of honour outside while close friends and family attended the funeral of Brian Aubusson at the Ballina rugby league ground today.
Seating was limited inside due to coronavirus restrictions as family gathered in the grandstand with the service held on the edge of the playing field.
Aubusson, 60, died suddenly earlier this month after a decorated career as a fire station commander and senior instructor at Ballina.
Colleagues shared the quirks and daily laughter Brian provided in a career which spanned four decades.
His brother Peter spoke fondly of his childhood memories of Brian.
"His first public performance was a school play when he was five years old," Peter Aubusson said.
"The teacher assigned him to a role where he wouldn't be any trouble but he found a way to make himself front and centre.
"You could see the energy he had from an early age.
"He ran the length of the field to score a try when he played his first game of rugby league in under-7s."
In his final year of school in Sydney, he was invited to a training camp to vie for selection in the undefeated 1977-78 Australian Schoolboys rugby union tour of Europe.
That side included the Ella brothers, Wally Lewis, Tony Melrose, Michael Hawker and Michael O'Connor.
He eventually found his way to Ballina where his three boys James, Mitchell and Nathan excelled in rugby league at the Seagulls.
James was an Australian Schoolboys representative during his time at St John's College Woodlawn in 2003 while Mitchell went on to do it at Xavier Catholic College, Skennars Head in 2005.
Younger brother Nathan was a talented player in his own right and played first grade at Ballina as a teenager.
James and Mitchell eventually played NRL together at the Roosters.
Northern Rivers zone commander, Superintendent Greg Lewis, paid tribute to Mr Aubusson for his dedication to the job.
Brian was set to retire in July.
"Under normal circumstances hundreds of friends and colleagues would have been here today but can't under current (COVID-19) restrictions," Lewis said.
"Aubbo was the glue that kept everyone together, this has led to us all having a very close bond at work.
"He had my back and that of every member in our team and we loved him for that.
"He taught us all the importance of enjoying each others company and sharing a laugh.
"We were ready for our life working without Aubbo to start from July 31 but sadly we aren't prepared for a life without him."