From Mortar to Monoliths

The Making of Community Legend, John Tregurtha

Where do you expect to find a mortar and pestle?

Most people would immediately recall the grinding up of fragrant spices in a familiar kitchen. However, for pharmacist John Tregurtha (d. 2009), he likely thought of hours spent grinding fine powders to make medications for his community.

John began working as a pharmacist at Emmaville in 1968 before moving to Glen Innes in 1972. This particular mortar bowl was used by John while working at Fayles Pharmacy, located in central Glen Innes on Ngoorabul country. From 1972, John and his business partner ran the pharmacy, but it isn’t just this work which has made him a local legend.

Back in the 1990s, John had been a driving force in the idea, planning, and building of the Glen Innes Australian Standing Stones Celtic Monument. The impressive monument of forty granite monoliths, sits on a hill overlooking the town and honours Celtic history and people in Australia. It has since become the site of the annual Australian Celtic Festival.

If constructing forty monoliths wasn’t enough to cement his dedication to community, John also worked with the Glen Innes Rotary Club and established the Combined Service Club Fund to help community members in emergencies. Remarkably, just a month before his passing, John was still strolling down the main street to gather donations with the help of his trusty walking sticks.

John’s extraordinary generosity and community service was honoured with a walking track named after him. Tregurtha Way now connects Bourke Street to the Standing Stones Monument.