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Monday, 21 May 2018
Page: 4010


Mr FALINSKI (Mackellar) (10:50): I rise to speak about one of the true gentlemen of the Northern Beaches—Robert H Grace. There would be very few residents in most areas of Pittwater who would not recognise Bob Grace and his beloved dog, Bear, going for a morning walk. Bob, who is a passionate and committed member of the Pittwater community, is not only one of the fittest gentlemen I know but one of the most humble and charming. In fact, when spending time in his presence you feel yourself getting more charming.

Fifty years as a barrister in criminal law would most likely drive me insane—or more insane—but not Bob Grace. What is often unknown about Bob is that in his early life he studied to become a pharmacist. However, Bob failed chemistry twice. This did not go to waste. Bob is still to this very day able to get a reaction out of often inert elements! Bob, as self-disciplined as he is, did not give up and got a job as a roaming salesman. During this time he juggled work with studying law. Fifty years of service to those in need of legal advice has opened Bob's eyes to the numerous individuals unable to express their voice, muted by financial or legal complexities. He has been compared by some to the likes of Charles Waterstreet and this has sparked a will in Bob to aid these individuals.

As a local government councillor—first serving on Warringah Council and then Pittwater Council—Bob continues to be a passionate member of the Pittwater community. Although we may not share the same views about the amalgamation of the former Pittwater Council, I admire and, most importantly, respect his convictions and his reasoning. The longevity of his service to Pittwater—20 years—has earned him the title 'Elder of Pittwater'. His fatherlike persona has nurtured and cared for both the community and the beautiful waterways of his home. Whale Beach in particular reserves a special place in his heart. Bob has lived there most of his life and has served 30 years at the Whale Beach Surf Life Saving Club.

Bob's generosity of spirit does not cease. From 2015 to 2016 Bob was Director of Eurobodalla Homes, which provides low-cost retirement residences to senior Australians in Newcastle and the Northern Beaches. To this day Bob continues to carry his enthusiastic, considerate attitude in every moment he lives. He lives by his life's motto: 'Treat everyone with respect and dignity'. He said, 'I try to treat people as I would like them to treat me.' By recognising his service today we treat him with the respect and dignity he has shown for our community—the respect and dignity he deserves. Bob Grace is certainly a proud member of Pittwater and Mackellar—a member that Mackellar is certainly proud to have.