Page 626 - Week 02 - Thursday, 24 March 2022

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demonstrating that one is never too old to learn and make a difference. I commend Monica, her husband, Paris, and everyone else involved with the Repair Cafe at Ginninderry. I wish them all the best for their next gathering on 3 April and for the future. I sincerely hope that this grassroots initiative will flourish, supporting the lives of everyone involved. Thank you.

Mr Rade Gutesa—tribute

MR PARTON (Brindabella) (4.06): I rise today to pay tribute to a friend who we lost last month. I speak of Bob the lawnmower man from Wheeler Crescent in Wanniassa, otherwise known as Rade Gutesa. I note the presence of his grandsons in the chamber.

A champion bloke was Bob—an absolute gem. I think that that statement could be said by just about everyone who knew him. It was an immense pleasure to have known him and to have spent time in his raucous, politically incorrect company. I dare say that Bob was the most politically incorrect person that I have ever met, but we just forgave him for it. It was impossible for Bob to get through a sentence without dropping the F-bomb.

Rade Gutesa was born on 1 October 1938 to Stevo and Marija in Bihac, Bosnia. His parents then moved to Serbia. They were farmers. They grew fruit, grapes, corn and wheat. He came to Australia as a young man searching for a better life. National Archives records indicate that he arrived in Sydney from Italy on 8 January 1964. The paperwork lists Bob’s employment as locksmith, mechanic and driver, but he was brought to Australia to pick tobacco at Bonegilla.

During the mid-60s he was employed in the kitchen, feeding those working on Murray 1 and Murray 2 power stations in the Snowy Mountains. He hassled them for a real job and finally landed a position as a hard rock miner. We believe he then travelled around the Northern Territory and Western Australia. He worked as a barman. He worked as a bulldozer driver. He built a graded road out to a diamond mine around Kununurra. He was flown in by helicopter every day, would dozer the road for kilometres and then they would pick him up at the end of the day.

Bob also claims to have gotten drunk with Bob Hawke in a Darwin pub before Mr Hawke became famous. I do not know whether that is true or not. It probably is true, and I am here to tell you that it would have been one hell of a night. In the early 70s he worked on the Ord River scheme in Western Australia and at Townsville, servicing machines on the Greenvale train tunnels project. He worked with Barclay Brothers as a plant operator and a crane driver, doing subdivisions in Tuggeranong and building various bridges.

In the 70s, in Dartmouth in Victoria, he worked on a tunnel, drilling and blasting for a power station. He then came back to Canberra in 1975, working on the Googong Dam tunnel. He worked on the sewage treatment tunnels in Belconnen and at Loy Yang power station in Victoria in the late 70s, and at Tarong power station at Yarraman, driving cranes. He operated one of the three cranes that put the flag up on the new Parliament House. He worked on the ski tube in Perisher. He did everything.

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