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Tuesday, 17 March 1987
Page: 959

Mr SHARP(10.25) —I rise on a sombre note to draw to the attention of the House the sad death last Wednesday evening, 11 March, of Harry Sawkins, the Mayor of Shoalhaven City Council--

Mr Martin —Hear, hear!

Mr SHARP —I note that the honourable member for Macarthur knows as well as I do that Harry Sawkins was a great Australian and he will be sadly missed. Harry Sawkins died at home last Wednesday morning in the early hours at the age of 73. For many people it is not appropriate to say that at the age of 73 death comes as a surprise but in the case of Harry Sawkins, his death certainly came to all of us as a great shock.

Harry Sawkins was a man who looked and acted half his age. He was a man of great youth, vitality and energy. He was a man who worked terribly hard for the citizens of Shoalhaven and, indeed, for anybody whom he felt deserved help. Harry Sawkins was born in Tumut and lived there until after the war. After that he moved to Kangaroo Valley, where he was a dairy farmer, and then he moved into a small business. During that time he served in local government for a period of some 12 years. He was elected to the former Shoalhaven Shire Council in 1965. He served on the Council until 1974. He included during his service one year as Shire President. He was re-elected to the Shoalhaven City Council after a nine-year gap. He served as an alderman and as the Mayor. He was a popularly elected mayor. It is a great tribute to Harry Sawkins that he knocked on the door of virtually every household of the 60,000 residents of Shoalhaven in order to be popularly elected mayor of that city.

He brought stability to the Shoalhaven City Council. He brought a boost to the morale of the aldermen and the people who worked for the City Council. He also proved to be a great ambassador for the City Council. Harry Sawkins was a great diplomat. He was the most friendly and charming man that one could ever possibly hope to meet. He made friends with everybody and had more friends than all of us could ever dream of having. He knew everybody on the Council staff by first name. He gained their loyalty and he gave loyalty to them. He gained the loyalty of the council aldermen and he gave loyalty back to them.

Harry Sawkins was a very warm and friendly human being. Apart from his work in local government he spent many years contributing to a range of organisations-too many to list tonight. John Hatton, the member for South Coast, listed some of those organisations and committees that he worked for when he paid tribute to him at his funeral last Friday. Harry Sawkins lived and breathed the Shoalhaven. Nothing was too good for the city of Shoalhaven and the people who lived in it, as far as Harry was concerned. Harry was a great individual. He was a giant of a personality. He became a great friend to me. The advice that he offered me was received and acted upon, and I greatly appreciated that advice. He was highly respected in the community. He served the community extremely well. The news of his sudden death was a great shock to all citizens of the Shoalhaven. Both my wife, Victoria, and I extend to Harry's family-his wife, Christine, his son of only 18 months, young Harry, and to the other children of Harry's family-our sincere sympathy. Australia has lost a vital citizen, a great citizen. He will be long remembered and greatly missed.