Kimberley Kitching was more than a senator

The tragedy surrounding the death of Kimberley Kitching was further accentuated yesterday when listening to the eulogies.

For the record, in St Patrick’s Cathedral, East Melbourne.

If even half of what has been attributed to the too brief life of Kimberley Kitching is true, then she well may have been the most outstandingly credentialled Parliamentarian in the National Parliament.

It is a sad truth that we only say good things about people when they are gone.

Kimberley Kitching wouldn’t want her contribution to be measured by the number of dignitaries who attended her funeral but rather by the extraordinary breadth of her achievements.

An emotional father spoke, as no father would want to have to speak, in honouring the death of his daughter.

The father, William Kitching, was the Emeritus Professor in the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences at the University of Queensland.

Because he experienced various postings to many parts of the world, the children, Kimberley and Ben – although essentially educated in Brisbane, Kimberley at the Ironside State School and the Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School – enjoyed significant exposure to the world beyond Australia.

As the father said, “The international travel was the genesis of her later cosmopolitan and international outlook.”

William Kitching reminded us that, at the age of 16, Kimberley, who spoke five languages, “translated for her parents the Latin inscriptions on the tombs and plaques of Westminster Abbey.”

The father spoke of her studies in modern and ancient history, “the latter kindling a very strong interest in the political philosophy and laws of Athens and Rome.”

While Kimberley Kitching completed her Arts/Law degree at Queensland University, with a double major in French, she was, as her father reminded us, at that time, functional in Spanish and Italian.

An emotional father reminded us that Kimberley believed that each human life has worth and individuality and that “these concepts were extendable to the behaviour of nations.”

Said the father, “The facts of her life and the presence of people today indicate that she did have an impact through respectful and not vengeful discourse.”

I think he spoke for many when he expressed the hope that, “Our almost paralysing sense of grief and melancholia will be banished by joyful memories of an engaging woman and a daughter that we knew so well.”

There can be no doubt that we mourn the passing at too early an age of a remarkable Australian woman.

Listening to the tributes paid, I was left with the sentiments expressed by the Romantic poet Shelley from Adonais, “She is a portion of the loveliness which once she made more lovely.”

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