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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2002 Week 4 Hansard (9 April) . . Page.. 795..


MRS CROSS (continuing):

He passed away only weeks before his 70th birthday, after a debilitating illness. He is survived by his wife, Barbara, and four children. One obituary to Brigadier Garland made reference to a quote from Russell Crowe's movie Gladiator: "What we do in this life echoes in eternity." In regard to the legacy left to young Australians by the brigadier, never a truer word could be spoken.

During my three years in Indonesia, from 1990 to 1993, I met many Indonesian soldiers, both serving and retired, whose admiration for this Australian was complete. In the words of the former defence minister, General Benny Moerdani, "Selamat jalan dan selamat tjour pak, Brigadier General Garland."

Question resolved in the affirmative, members standing in their places.

Death of Mr Neil Roberts

Motion of condolence

MR WOOD (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for the Arts): I move:

That the Assembly expresses its deep regret at the death of Neil Roberts, who made a significant contribution to the artistic life of Canberra and the ACT region, and tenders its profound sympathy to his family and friends in their bereavement.

Mr Speaker, we were all greatly saddened in recent times to learn of the accidental death of Neil Roberts. It was a shock to the system that a man reaching, I think, the prime of his artistic career, doing great works and inspiring many people, should die so suddenly.

Neil was thoroughly trained in the arts. He was a sculptor and a glass artist. His academic background, his artistic training, was indeed excellent, encompassing a number of outstanding glass workshops and glass institutions around the world. And it came through that his natural talent was very much enhanced by that very sound training. He is represented in many collections in Australia, certainly in Canberra, and more widely.

Neil was a very likeable fellow. He was an inspirational person, an exceptionally friendly and generous person. You did not need to know Neil all that well to be infected by his energy, his warmth and his personality. He was a leader in the ACT arts scene.

Neil also played a key role as an organiser and initiator. His purchase of a former joinery factory in Queanbeyan in the late 1980s produced an exceptional residence and workspace for Neil and his partner, Barbara Campbell, also an artist. The factory became an energy centre for the arts and led to the creation of Galerie Constantinople, our most enigmatic exhibition space.

Neil also made a major contribution as coordinator for the 1995 Canberra National Sculpture Forum, which brought us so many exceptional artworks, though the notoriety certainly went to one particular work because of the "beheading" by vandals of Greg Taylor's sculpture Liz And Phil Down By The Lake.


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