Vale Sue Telfer

Wednesday, 10 Jul 2019

Last month we lost a cherished member of the APRA AMCOS family, Sue Telfer. Her colleague and friend, Gill Dunn, penned this tribute to Sue. 

So many people met Sue through APRA AMCOS, or started work here already knowing her, and became friends who remained in each other’s lives long after working together. Because once you became close to Sue, you knew she was a keeper.

Sue started at APRA in 1987, but I first met her in 1998 when I started here as reception temp and general office helper. She made me feel so welcome and always had time for a chat. She had a beautiful quality of putting you at ease and making you feel valued and worth her time, no matter who you were or what position you held, and I knew instantly, she was my kind of people.

While Sue was never my boss, I saw how she treated people in her team and even those who weren’t, with kindness, patience, and a never ending supply of empathy, how she had her teams’ back no matter what, and I knew I wanted to be a leader like her. As I’ve moved into management roles over the years, Sue’s always been there to encourage and guide me with compassion, wise words and a dose of realism.

Sue’s contribution over her 32 years working here has been immense, as has her influence on the way we work and the systems we use. We owe her lasting gratitude and respect. She was so knowledgeable and intelligent and had an incredible memory, and she was the go-to person for all the curly difficult questions. Even though we all know she didn’t suffer fools, she never made you feel silly for asking or not knowing something. She always went above and beyond to ensure you understood what was needed to get the job done, which is one of the reasons you could never pop to Sue’s desk for a “quick question”, as there was always a story connected to the issue you faced (which she could tell in breathtaking detail). Nothing was ever any trouble for Sue when it came to helping you out, whether it be at work or out of it. She was always giving of her time and of herself.

Sue was the voice for those APRA members and all musicians who didn’t have a seat at the table. She was a true advocate and champion of the Sydney Music community. She lived and breathed music and was the first port of call for hundreds of members. APRA AMCOS is known in the local Sydney scene because of Sue. She was APRA to hundreds of new upcoming and established bands gigging around. You’d often see Sue on the door, juggling a JD & Coke, collecting the money, all while answering the many APRA questions that would come her way. She made sure they got their live performance returns in on time so they could be paid for their hard work. She was passionate, dedicated and so hard working in everything she did, because she believed in music, the people making the music and wanted to support them in any way she could.

When you thought of the Excelsior, you thought of Sue. Her passion and enthusiasm for supporting live music through being the booker for that venue were palpable and contagious. Even if you didn’t know any of the bands on, you knew Sue would ensure a great line-up and rocking in there was always the start of an exciting night.

Sue loved all things Bowie and all things feline, but none as much as her fur babies Barry, Kenny, Bowie and Dudey. She constantly battled with either the pet food company, or Australia Post – because they could never get her orders or deliveries right.

Sue was so much more than a work colleague, she was a great friend and big sister. No matter what was going on in her life, she always made time to know what was important in yours and check in with people during the most difficult times of their lives. She was so generous of spirit and very special to so many people. Truly one of a kind.

To Ian, Enid, Craig, Kim and all Sue’s family, I’m so very sorry for your loss. To Sue, my friend, I will miss you more than words can ever convey. Your passing has left a big hole in APRA AMCOS, in the music community and my heart. I wish you eternal peace and calm and know you’re rocking it in spirit with all your faves. I love you.

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