22.9 C

Fitzgibbon family ‘devastated’ by son Jack’s tragic death


Australian Defence Force (ADF) 2nd Commando Regiment soldier Jack Fitzgibbon has been remembered for his “courage and sense of humour”.

The Lance Corporal, and son of former Hunter MP Joel and Dianne Fitzgibbon, suffered critical injuries during a parachuting incident on Wednesday night (6 March) at the RAAF airbase at Richmond.

He received first aid at the scene and was taken to Westmead Hospital in a serious condition but, tragically, the 33-year-old died a short time later.

Former Hunter federal MP and Australian Minister for Defence Joel Fitzgibbon.

Cessnock’s Mr Fitzgibbon, who announced his retirement from politics in 2021 after almost three decades, provided a statement, via the ADF.

“We are devastated and heartbroken by the loss of our wonderful Jack,” it said.

“Serving in the special forces was his dream job and we take some comfort from the fact that he died serving his nation in a uniform of the ADF.

“Jack was a dedicated, highly-skilled and courageous soldier.

“He was an experienced parachutist. 

“Our lives will never be the same without Jack, but we will always remain proud of him and his many achievements.”

Brigadier James Kidd said the soldier was loved for his courage, sense of humour and his service to the country.

“At this time, our main priority is to support Lance Corporal Fitzgibbon’s family and our thoughts are with them and his friends as they grieve their loss,” he stated.

“Defence takes every step to mitigate unnecessary risk, but unfortunately [today] we mourn the loss of a soldier and colleague. 

“An investigation into the cause of the accident is underway.

“Defence will not provide further comment on the incident while the investigation is occurring.”

2nd Commando Regiment soldier Jack Fitzgibbon. Photo: ADF

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defence Richard Marles led the tributes.

“Today, we lost Lance Corporal Jack Fitzgibbon,” he said.

“His death is a tragedy. His life has been taken far too early. 

“Every one of Lance Corporal Fitzgibbon’s friends and colleagues in the Australian Defence Force will be feeling the heaviness of this news.

“Jack loved serving in the Special Forces and he did so with honour and great ability. 

“Whenever a serving member of the ADF loses their life, they have loved ones who are impacted.

“In this instance, Jack’s father, Joel Fitzgibbon, is a close friend of mine.

“All of Joel’s friends are feeling this tragedy particularly. 

“Today, Joel stands in my embrace, as he does in the embrace of all of our colleagues. 

“My thoughts are with Jack’s entire family, including Joel, Jack’s mother Dianne, his partner and his sisters.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese added:

“The burden of grief falls on a dear friend to so many in the Labor family,” he said.

“Every death in the service of Australia carries the heavy weight of loss and sadness.

“This tragic accident is a harsh reminder that there are no easy days for those who defend our nation.

“We are so grateful to every Australian who serves and puts themselves on the line for all of us.”

The man who claimed the Hunter seat following Mr Fitzgibbon’s retirement, Dan Repacholi, also offered his condolences.

“Today, we mourn the loss of one of our brave Australian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” he said.

“Jack Fitzgibbon will be forever remembered for his dedication, courage, and selflessness.

“Our hearts ache for Jack and his beloved family, Joel, Di, Caitlin, Grace and Maxine, his partner, their extended family and friends.

“My thoughts are also with all those who served alongside Jack, grappling with the loss of their comrade and friend.

“The Fitzgibbon family has been an indispensable pillar of the Cessnock community… and the loss of Jack will undoubtedly resonate deeply within our local circles, leaving a profound impact on us all.

“We are forever grateful for his service and commitment to protecting our freedoms and values.

“May Jack find eternal peace.”

The Australian Army has temporarily paused all parachute training. 

For more news stories:

Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, real estate, entertainment, lifestyle and more delivered straight to your inbox with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.

More Stories

Newcastle Weekly

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe to Newcastle Weekly. News, Community, Lifestyle, Property delivered direct to your inbox! 100% Local, 100% Free.

You have Successfully Subscribed!