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Updated: Nov 9, 2020

Sarah Virginia Gunn

4th April 1955 - 20th October 2020

Sarah, Mum, Grandmum, Sa passed unexpectedly and suddenly from cancer on Tuesday 20th October, having been diagnosed only weeks prior. She had a peaceful passing surrounded by her four daughters and her sister, Anne.  

Beloved mother of Phoebe, Alice, Chloe and Sylvia. Sister of Anne (Pete) and aunt to Harry. Adored Grandmum of Miles and Arlo. Admired mother-in-law of Chris, John and Eldon. 

Born in South Yarra, she created homes in Richmond, Parkville, Shepherds Flat, Wyoming, Colorado, Tuntable Falls, Castlemaine and South West Rocks. From her parents Patricia and Lindsay, she inherited a cheeky spirit which was with her to the end. She fondly recalled her antics during university days in Archi-review skits to us, and walking barefoot around Carlton, much to the dismay of her Granny. With a strong sense of social and environmental responsibility, she was passionate about creating change through activism and community involvement. 

She met Doug Swing (deceased) whilst on his trip to Australia and together they worked on the stone castle and raised their two girls, Phoebe and Alice. She continued to grow her family with Trevor with the arrival of Chloe and Sylvia and the eventual nine-year-beach-holiday to South West Rocks. She took her sandcastle making seriously, and as a family we won the sand sculpture competition three years running with architecturally designed, well-engineered masterpieces. As a family, we made Christmas a hilarious occasion, with re-giftmas, flaming puddings and creative family portraits. 

She studied architecture and later furniture design, and wrote an inspired guide to stonework building based on her experiences, and was completing a book about sustainable timber and Australian trees. She made meaningful contributions to Friends of South West Rocks, Gunns20 court case, Friends of the Earth Forest Collective, and countless submissions to save the pygmy possums and old-growth forests. She spent the last few years prioritising treesearch, writing, attending protests, painting watercolours, and teaching her grandchildren how to build a sturdy block tower.

A free spirit, she was a truly unique individual who lived by her values. We will always remember her for her sense of humour, generosity and love. 

Due to restrictions, a private service will be held on Friday 30th October at Franklinford Cemetery. If you would like to get in touch, please email

To honour her memory, we invite you to plant a tree.

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