Flags flew at half mast at the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame in Longreach on Thursday to honour a founding member described as the greatest of friends of the hall.
Doug Kefford AO, known around Australia as the 'transport tycoon', passed away in Melbourne on Tuesday, August 12.
Mr Kefford served for 35 years as an ASHOF director and its deputy chairman, making him the board's longest-serving director.
According to CEO Lloyd Mills, he was good friends with founder Hugh Sawrey and the Sawrey family, and supported his vision for a place to honour Australia's rural heritage.
"He was a very powerful man, very well connected politically, and he brought in $35 million for the Hall in his time," Mr Mills said.
"He had an enormous impact - his contacts helped the place sustain itself, especially in those early years.
"He was also a great thinker."
Fellow board director Bruce Scott agreed, saying that in many ways Mr Kefford had been a driving force for a number of the changes made to displays over the years, which incorporate indigenous stories, early pioneers, stockmen, pastoralists and pioneer women, among other stories.
"He was an extraordinary philanthropist and very generous with his time," Mr Scott said.
"He was passionate about the Hall concept as a place where Australia could gather the early stories of its rural workers.
"He attracted others to donate as well - we've lost a great champion."
Mr Scott said Mr Kefford never sought recognition while he was alive, and Mr Mills agreed, saying he called himself "the old bus driver" when he visited the venue.
"He didn't seek notoriety but now we'll be able to honour him without his disapproval," Mr Mills said. "We will do it the best way we can, maybe with a street name or similar."
Mr Scott said he felt for the Kefford family, losing Doug while Melbourne was locked down to contain the coronavirus spread there.
"It means the Australian Stockman's Hall of Fame won't be able to pay a tribute in person," he said.