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Wednesday, 5 March 2014
Page: 1705

Mr NIKOLIC (Bass) (13:42): I rise to acknowledge a man of great character who lost his battle with cancer last week. Bob Sydes was born in Launceston in 1950 and attended St Patricks College before joining the PMG. He was called up for national service in 1970 and commissioned as a second lieutenant. He spent more than three decades helping the unemployed as the northern Tasmanian manager of the CES and with Employment National and Mission Employment.

It was through Rotary, however, that Bob left his greatest legacy. He joined Rotary in 1978 and was President of the Rotary Club of Central Launceston and Rotary District Governor for Tasmania. Bob loved the international aspect of Rotary. He hosted incoming youth exchanges. He led Rotary study groups to the United States and Canada. He built houses in Western Fiji and a mosquito net storage facility in the Solomon Islands.

Bob served his local community in many ways, including the establishment of 'Sail-ability' to allow handicapped people to experience the thrill of sailing. He also established the Tasmanian Air Rescue Trust, which operates the Westpac Rescue Helicopter in Tasmania.

Bob married Jan Brown in 1972 and they had four children—Chris, Drew, Karen and Tracy—and they had seven grandchildren. He loved sailing, fishing and caravanning, where he perfected the art of 'free camping'. For the past two years, Bob fought his final battle with pancreatic cancer but was still determined to live his life to the full, which he did. Farewell Bob Sydes, an ornament to our community and a life well lived.