Shortly after the death of Bob Hawke in 2019, the members of Clive Park/The Knoll Bushcare group agreed that it would be a good idea to plant trees and install a plaque in Bob’s honour opposite his home in Northbridge.
This initiative had the blessings and strong support of Bob’s wife, Blanche, who worked with us through the process. The cost of the plaque was funded by Hawke’s Brewery and Landcare Australia and was installed by Willoughby Council.
The unveiling ceremony was originally scheduled for 9 December 2019, but the decision was made to delay until 16 May 2020, the anniversary of Bob’s death.Unfortunately, then came COVID and another delay to 9 December 2020, Bob’s birthday. In the end the timing was fortuitous, as within a few days the allowable numbers went from 30 to 100. Sixty-eight people attended, including Bushcarers, neighbours, current and ex-councillors and Mayors, some current and ex-politicians, friends and admirers of Bob.
Our Mayor, Gail Giles-Gidney was a superb MC and the speakers were excellent. Our Local Member for Willoughby and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian praised Bob Hawkes’ achievements in her speech and unveiled the plaque with Blanche. Dr Shane Norich of Landcare Australia gave an interesting speech about the major contribution Bob made to Landcare. Blanche d’Alpuget spoke about the wonderful years she and Bob had spent in Northbridge and the many friends they made. Costa Georgiadis gave an entertaining and educational speech about Bob’s support, love and care for the environment.
Narelle French, Queensland Opera Music Director, provided background music on keyboard and Professor Donna Balson, a world-renowned voice coach, sang Bob’s favorite song, Waltzing Matilda.
Clive Park/The Knoll Bushcare group would like to thank the following people for their contribution to the success of this event: Alfred Bernhardt for facilitating the installation of the plaque, Matthew Keighery for taking care of the sound system and the photography, Chisato Inglis for taking care of the plants, Jude Morris and Jill Saunders (Bob’s long term secretary) for streamlining the arrangements on the day.
Blanche d’Alpuget shared these words following the ceremony:
“The imagination and hard work of Bushcare, led by Don Wilson and Marianne, plus the generosity
of Hawke’s Brewery, have brought to Northbridge a small gem of a memorial to the legacy of a great man who loved the suburb passionately and declared when he moved in, “I’ll only leave here in a box.” I hope the plaque opposite Bob Hawke’s house in Minimbah Road will bring pleasure and pride to locals for many generations.“
Bob’s plaque and his favourite plants can be found at the bottom of McCurrich Cut, near Minimbah Road.