Port Lincoln remembers passionate historian

Port Lincoln recently lost one of its most passionate historians, who helped to fuel the interests of the city's history for locals and visitors alike.

Jo Utting died on January 4 after a more than three year battle with lung cancer.

Mrs Utting is remembered for her work advocating to keep alive elements of Port Lincoln's history through her involvement with the Port Lincoln History Group and the Port Lincoln Walk and Talk History Tours, the city's first historic walking tour which she began in 2014.

She first became involved in the history group in 2013, then known as the Southern Eyre Peninsula Family and Local History Group after seeking resources from the group for her tour business.

Mrs Utting became an active member of the group and a volunteer with the Mill Cottage Museum, which included helping with the big task of reorganising and sorting items in 2015 when the cottage needed re-painting.

Her tours continued to grow, which included running a Pioneer Cemetery Tour, having said "the best stories are in cemeteries, the people who made our town are here."

We are so proud of her and know so many people are going to miss her.

Alex Utting

She gained recognition for her promotion of local history, including a Port Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and Tourism New Business Award in 2015, a History Council of South Australia Award nomination in 2016 and she was nominated for a Brand SA regional award the same year.

Even after her cancer diagnosis she continued to work hard, taking on the history group's president role in 2017 and 2018 and worked to make the group more prominent in the community.

Chris Mantle took over the president role after Mrs Utting and said he had big shoes to fill.

"We're very saddened by her death and the loss the whole town will feel," he said.

"Her need to research to get her own business going put her in a good place as far as being able to lead the group.

"When she set her mind to something, she followed it through."

Mrs Utting also lent her services to the Port Lincoln RSL Sub Branch, playing a major role in cataloguing its collection and was a driving force in the establishment of a museum at the RSL, which is set to open later this year.

In a letter outlining Mrs Utting's contributions, RSL president Reverend Peter Linn said her involvement began through her father's influence being an ex navy serviceman.

"Jo was the driving force for the historical artifacts in the RSL being transformed from a poorly organised and displayed memorabilia, to a fully cataloged museum with a curator.

"It was Jo's vision to protect the precious history in the region, including the RSL."

Corinne Ellis knew Mrs Utting for 30 years and said with her drive she always seemed to have a project on the go.

"She had an exhaustive drive I could never keep up with," she said.

"I've known her for 30 years, she always had some sort of project going."

Mrs Utting's daughter Alex Utting joined her for many of her fundraisers, which included shaving her head alongside her mother to raise money for Lung Foundation Australia last year.

Miss Utting said everything her mother did, from the history walk and talk tours to her work with the history group and RSL was done with a lot of passion and love.

"She was the best version of herself whenever she was working on a project and she had multiple going at once," she said.

"We are so proud of her and know so many people are going to miss her."

Mrs Utting's legacy will include her passion to help put Port Lincoln's history on show and to share the stories about what made the city what it is today, to be learned and enjoyed for generations.

With her work and contributions to the community Mrs Utting, like the historical stories and elements she promoted, will continue to be remembered and adored by many in the community.