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Monday, 7 November 2016
Page: 2904

Mr THISTLETHWAITE (Kingsford Smith) (13:33): In his 1984 book Gladiators of the Surf author Barry Galton described Barry Rodgers in these terms:

In the surf he was the master and perfectionist. Some experts say no one has ever equalled his surf sense. Many say he was the greatest.

I pay tribute to Barry Rodgers, who passed away on 6 June after a battle with cancer. His ashes were scattered amongst the waves at his beloved Maroubra Beach on 30 October, surrounded by hundreds of his family and friends.

Barry was Australia's original Iron Man, winning the national title in 1967, '68 and '69. In all, he won six national surf lifesaving titles and 11 New South Wales titles. He represented Australia in tours of the USA, New Zealand and South Africa, the last two as captain. In 1999 he was inducted into the Sports Australia Hall of Fame and the Surf Life Saving Australia Hall of Fame. In 2000 he was named Sydney's Greatest Ever Surf Live Saver. But his greatest contribution, in my book, was in teaching kids surf safety and how to swim. I, like many in our community, was taught to swim by Barry Rodgers. He taught literally thousands of kids in a 25-metre indoor pool at Heffron Park that he and his brother hand dug with shovels in the 1960s. He loved the surf, he loved the beer and he loved being around people. He was generous of spirit. He taught swim coaching at St Catherine's for 40 years, where he was beloved by the girls. Maroubra and Australian surfing has lost a legend. Rest in peace, Barry.