SVC 1948-54

10.11.1936 – 31.10.2023


John was the eldest son of Norman and Mavis Mazengarb and is survived by his three siblings – David, Michael and Barbara. 

He attended Sacred Heart College at New Town, a stone’s throw from the family home on Hildern Street and a place of respite for many generations of Mazengarbs. Many would remember Hildern Street as the venue of much baking and always a spare seat at the table for any visitor – whether invited or not. The door was always open and the oven always baking. This was the environment John became accustomed to at an early age.

John, along with David and Michael, then went to St Virgil's College under the tutelage of the Christian Brothers at Barrack Street in Hobart. He was there until he matriculated. He was a competent and capable student. On leaving school he went on to gain  Diploma of Public Administration in 1962 and later  a Bachelor of Arts in 1969.

He proved to be an impressive athlete, particularly as a footballer. He played for the Old Virgilians Club in the amateurs and he was a Tasmanian representative player - he could easily have played at a higher level but chose to keep playing with his mates. He was also a skilled tennis player and later in life a handy golfer.

After a four-year courtship, John married Grace Lowe and the couple were to have five children - John, David, Maryanne, Andrew and Catherine – all born during the 1960s.

To accommodate this tribe John and Grace purchased a property at Senator Street, New Town, their home for almost 60 years. John was very much the handyman and took a significant role in the planning and execution of the construction, the extensions and the modifications.

His workshop became the centre of all engineering and construction excellence. It was his place of industry and reflection. He was comfortable in both his own company and the company of others alike.

John became the quintessential public servant. Straight from school and matriculation, he commenced with the Supreme Court and Sheriff’s Department. He continued to demonstrate an aptitude and understanding of the state public service and its broader operations and used his skills to rise through the ranks.

1955                     Supreme Court and the Sheriff’s Department 

1959                     Corporate Affairs Office 

1964                      Assistant Registrar of Companies

1980                      Senior Public Service Inspector (Review & Investigation)

1984-85                Director Personnel – Tasmanian Public Service Board

1985-88                Deputy Secretar, Department of Public Administration,, Personnel

1988-89                Commissioner for Review

1989-91                Commissioner for Public Employment   


He continued to demonstrate an aptitude and understanding of the public service and its broader operations and used his skills to rise to Director Personnel on the Public Service Board in the late 70s and 80s until he was appointed by the then government as the Commissioner for Review in 1988 and ultimately the Commissioner for Public Employment in 1989 until his retirement in 1991.

To quote from the eulogy presented by his son, David:

I must share with you that he was not a great watcher of television – outside news and current affairs. He did, however, have one particular favourite program – the British comedy – Yes Minister (later Yes Prime Minister). He let us all know that he thought this wasn’t really a true comedy but merely a reflection of his everyday life and experiences working in the public service.

He was highly commended in public for his contributions through various challenging roles. Most notably he was recognised for his significant involvement in the evolution of the State Service Act of 1984 of which his contribution was extensive.

John Mazengarb was also an outstanding contributor to the wider community 

1956-58                 National Service

1997-2017            Board – Southern Cross Care

Providing expertise in many areas.  He was most notable as the Director who took the lead in the development of Fairway Rise - delivering the complex project on time . on budget and to a high quality finish.  He also oversaw the major development of AA Lord Homes and the Glenara Lakes Age Care facilities.

Catholic Education in Tasmania is indebted to John for his contributions:

1972-73                President of Sacred Heart  College Parents & Friends 

1974-75                President, Federation of Parents & Friends Catholic Schools Tasmania Vice President, Australian Parents Council           

1975-78                Member, Catholic Advisory Council on Education

1978-89                Chairman, Catholic Education Commission

John was a former President of the Federation of Parents & Friends of Catholic Schools. He was also a member of the Catholic Advisory Council and Education (parents representative), a member of the State Priorities Committee - Non-Government Schools and a Member of the Board of Trustees for Systemic Schools. He also served on the Board of Southern Cross Care where he had significant involvement in their capital works programmes, particularly with the developments at Glenarra Lakes and Fairway Rise.

David commenced the eulogy thus:

I wish to inform you all that we were all present when our father passed from this world.  It was a beautiful moment, a family moment and one that we will collectively treasure for the rest our lives. It was a family binding moment that truly reflected the values and beliefs that our father espoused from the outset.

It is our mission to carry forward those values and beliefs of honesty, integrity and sincerity through the next generations of our families. That would make our father most proud. He was a fine gentleman.

He may have left us, but he will always be with us.

And the concluding sentiments:

There is no end to this reflection of the life of John Francis Mazengarb.  His life continues in our hearts and in our souls.

So to close this reflection of the story so far I will borrow from the card of Aunty Topsy presented to Dad upon the completion of his University Degree:

Four things a man must learn to do

If he would keep his record true:


To think without confusion, clearly;

To love his fellow-man sincerely;

To act from honest motives purely;

To trust in God and Heaven securely. (Henry Van Dyke)


Vale John Francis Mazengarb – the world is certainly the richer from the life you lived. RIP

Vale John Francis Mazengarb

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