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Thursday, 21 February 1985
Page: 25

Mr MILDREN —The Hon. Dudley Erwin was born in the then small Victorian community of Winchelsea, west of Geelong, on 20 August 1917. Before he entered the Parliament he was a radio electrical engineer and a farmer. As the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Peacock) mentioned, he was also, with his wife, a hotelier in Ballarat, having owned the very famous Ballarat hotel, Craigs Royal Hotel.

Mr Peacock —A great hotel.

Mr MILDREN —It is a great watering hole. He entered Parliament in 1955 and remained here until 1975, representing the electorate of Ballarat in eight parliaments. The period in which he began his parliamentary career was, as honourable members know, one of enormous turbulence for the Labor Party. It was during that period when it was in disarray that he was able to win his seat. For some time he was dependent upon the preferences of the Democratic Labor Party. Probably it was something of a measure of the man that as the voters tended to resolve their allegiances and as the DLP declined, Dudley Erwin was able to gain a majority in his own right. There is no doubt at all that this was in no small measure due to his own endeavours on behalf of the constituents of Ballarat.

Dudley Erwin is remembered by very many people in Ballarat, especially, perhaps, by the older generation, with a great deal of affection. That affection spans party boundaries. He also served his country with distinction during the Second World War. He enlisted in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1940 and remained in the Air Force until 1945. He fought in Beaufighters as a navigator and, as the Leader of the Opposition indicated, in a number of very famous battles. He retired from the Air Force as a flight lieutenant.

During Dudley Erwin's parliamentary career he served in a number of important posts, having been, for instance, Government Whip and a Minister for Air in the Gorton Government. Allusions have been made to perhaps his most famous bon mot. Like other members, I am not going to mention what it was. It is on record, and no doubt everybody in this country who is interested in politics will know what it was. But I will say this: He was a considerably observant man.

I am sure I speak for the citizens of the Ballarat electorate in extending our sympathies to Mrs Erwin and her children.