Whitlam inspired retiring councillor Barry Green
RETIRING councillor Barry Green said he knew it was time to step down from local politics at the end of this current term.
"There is not just one particular trigger. It's a whole heap of things that make you say it's time to step back," Cr Green said.
"You do lose a bit of the enthusiasm and, to be successful, you have to have that in spades."
When he retires from Division 1 next month, it will mark the end of a career that began in the '80s.
He first served on the Nanango Shire Council in the 1980s before retiring, and later contested Division 1 in the newly formed South Burnett Regional Council.
He said part of his burning passion for politics came from a rare meeting with one of Australia's most influential politicians, the late Gough Whitlam.
Before Mr Whitlam was Prime Minister, he visited Kingaroy in the late 1960s to meet the Labor faithful.
"I went along to see him, I think maybe there were three people all up," Cr Green said.
"Whitlam just said 'I'm not going to make a speech because that's ridiculous'."
For the next three hours Cr Green chatted politics with the man who would soon lead the nation.
"It was a very inspiring two or three hours," he said.
Later Cr Green decided to make a move into local politics when he grew irritated at Nanango's lack of street lighting in the 1980s.
He said it was a common issue in Queensland towns at the time but made Nanango look "like a ghost town" if people were driving through.
"This took me about five years to get but it happened," he said.
After serving two terms at Nanango Shire, he retired from the council before he decided to run again for when the councils were amalgamated in 2008.
He won the newly formed Division 1 at the 2008 election, and again in 2012.
Although amalgamation has been a contentious issue across Queensland, Cr Green said it was essential for the future of the South Burnett.
He pointed to the Nanango streetscape and the new Kingaroy wastewater treatment plant as projects that would have been impossible to pay for pre-amalgamation.
"There are people that were against amalgamation but there would have been very little progress for all shires individually," he said.
At 68, he does not plan a complete retirement. Instead, he plans to focus on his other great passion - horse racing.
He plans on training horses again, something he has not done for many years, but not before he takes a holiday.
In May he will fly off of the United States to watch the biggest North American horse race, the Kentucky Derby.
"I just want to see where Secretariat went around, I think that was probably the best horse around," he said.