Tribute to Camden icon Fergus the donkey: Photos

If you attended a Camden Anzac Day march over the past 40 years, chances are you saw Jo Van Der Molen and his donkey Fergus.

Mr Van Der Molen and Fergus were mainstays of some of the town’s biggest events for many years, including the Camden Show and Light Up Camden.

Nicknamed “The Donkeyman”, Mr Van Der Molen was best known for offering cart rides with Fergus to children.

It is now time to farewell the iconic donkey, who died at the family’s Belimbla Park home in the early hours of October 27, aged 52.

Mr Van Der Molen’s daughter Kristen Doohan said Fergus died in her father’s arms.

He was unable to resuscitate his beloved friend.

Ms Doohan said Fergus would be sorely missed by her family. 

"Fergus was more than just a donkey, he was a family member,” she said.

“He was Dad’s best mate, they were like brothers.

“Dad is pretty heart broken.”

Ms Doohan said her father was in his early 30s when he first met Fergus nearly five decades ago.

“Dad had a donkey growing up in Holland and always wanted one as an adult,” she said.

“Dad got Fergus from an old man at a farm who said ‘if you can catch him, you can have him for $5’,” she said.

“Dad spent two days in the back of a paddock trying to catch him. 

“That’s how their journey began and they have been inseparable ever since.”

Ms Doohan said her father spent Fergus’s initial years teaching him new skills.

“Dad had broken his back while working in the mines so he taught Fergus how to drag him around on a cart.”

Fergus was more than just a donkey, he was a family member.

Jo Van Der Molen's daughter Kristen Doohan

Mr Van Der Molen and Fergus’s friendship grew as the years passed by.

Ms Doohan said her father just enjoyed being in his donkey’s company.

“Dad would always be happy to have a chat with Fergus, or Fergus would give him a nudge on the chest for a cuddle,” he said.

“Sometimes Dad would get out in the paddock with a book while Fergus roamed around.”

Ms Doohan said Fergus would be best remembered for his cheeky personality.

“Ferguson could open the gate with his tongue to get through and find some food,” she said.

“Dad’s morning routine would include feeding Fergus bread, or Dutch pancakes when he was lucky.”

Mr Van Der Molen’s family held a private ceremony in late October to honour Fergus.

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