Page 1255 - Week 04 - Wednesday, 9 April 2008

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I would encourage all members to go to to check out the important information to be found on that website. For those who are not able to access the website, Arthritis ACT have a comprehensive information pack which contains a number of fact sheets and booklets dealing with the variety of aspects of the condition. I encourage members to acquaint themselves with the causes, prevention of and treatment for arthritis in all its forms.

Mr Bob Huddleston

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella) (6.13): I rise today to inform the Assembly of the sad loss of a mate, a champion and a fighter. Mr Bob Huddleston, a local Indigenous Australian, passed away last night after a long and extensive battle with ill health. After undergoing 16 years of kidney dialysis, Mr Huddleston slipped away peacefully last night. He was aged 68.

I would like to share with the Assembly a few aspects of his life. Mr Huddleston, or Uncle Bob as everyone called him, had a difficult upbringing. His childhood was severely disadvantaged because Uncle Bob was a victim of the stolen generation. After being taken away from his family at a young age, Uncle Bob devoted his life to the cause of reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

I am pleased to inform the Assembly that Mr Huddleston deeply appreciated his life, rising to prominent heights within his chosen professions. From a young age, Uncle Bob knew that he had a talent for sports, and in particular thrived at rugby league. He played in the reserve grade for both the St George Dragons and the Penrith Panthers, before moving on to a successful amateur and professional boxing career. With over 100 amateur and 60 professional bouts under his belt, Mr Huddleston became highly regarded as a pillar of strength around the local region.

He was proud of his achievements and wanted to pass his knowledge and skills on to the younger generation. A true gentleman, Uncle Bob was a Canberra resident for 40 years who strived to give opportunity to all people from all walks of life. A few years ago he enlisted the support of a mutual friend, Greg Chapman, another boxing instructor, and together they started an important project that is now coming to fruition.

Mr Huddleston progressively worked on creating a first-class boxing gym that is currently located in Fyshwick. I had the privilege of visiting Mr Huddleston’s gym, at which I genuinely was impressed with the atmosphere, which was encouraging a multicultural training facility. This facility houses the Winnunga Boxing Club, and I am pleased to inform the Assembly that success is finally coming to the club after many years of hard work. Uncle Bob’s dream of establishing a non-political or culturally based training facility is finally being realised. However, it is most unfortunate that Uncle Bob will not be around to appreciate what he has accomplished.

His good friend Greg Chapman described Uncle Bob as someone who raised himself to a level of respectable prominence within the Indigenous Australian communities yet still devoted himself to greater causes. Mr Huddleston leaves behind his wife, Meg,

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