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Sir Roden Cutler VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE.

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Australia mourns today the death of an outstanding Australian, Sir Roden Cutler VC, AK, KCMG, KCVO, CBE, who died in hospital yesterday after a long illness.

Personally, and on behalf of the government and people of Australia, I extend our sympathies to his widow, Lady Cutler, Sir Roden’s four sons and his grandchildren.

Born in Manly NSW in 1916, Sir Roden ’s life was one committed to the service of his country and his fellow Australians. His service, both in war and peace, has been courageous and distinguished.

Sir Roden was awarded the Victoria Cross for exceptional courage against the enemy during the capture of the Syrian town of Merdjayoun in June 1941. A few weeks later, while moving forward against machine gun fire at Damour, he suffered severe wounds in a leg that was subsequently amputated. With Sir Roden’s passing there are only two living Australian holders of the Victoria Cross.

After World War II Sir Roden had a successful career in the diplomatic service where he served as Ambassador to the Netherlands (1965-66), Delegate to the United Nations General Assembly (1963, 1964), Consul General in New York (1961-65), High Commissioner to Pakistan (1959-61), Ceylon (1952-55) and New Zealand (1946-52) and in other posts.

From 1966 to 1981 he served as Governor of NSW, the longest serving appointee to that office. He and his wife were widely respected and admired for the great service they gave to NSW in particular.

Sir Roden was the president of the Scouts Association (NSW) and held office in the RSL, and gave much of his time to numerous other charities in a voluntary capacity. He was also prominent in business life after he left the office of Governor of NSW.

I had the opportunity to visit Sir Roden in hospital just before Christmas last year. I well remember a marvellous conversation with him and his wonderful spirit at the time.

In every way Sir Roden was an exceptional Australian and we mourn his passing.

22 February 2002