“I never give up and I never give in,” Wendell Rosewarne defiantly told his well-wishers at his 80th birthday celebrations on Tuesday.
The words typify the Wendell we’ve come to know and love over all these years. He was the trusty postie with the distinctive red bike that was amazingly used on seven Pollie Pedals. He was the running, jumping elder of the Goulburn Swans who played like there was no tomorrow. He was a dab cricketer, handy footballer, runner, tennis player “with a peculiar style” and a sometime water polo participant.
Wendell and Monty, or Wendell and Max, he was also the man who took his dog everywhere, whether on bike rides, Lilac Festival processions or ANZAC Day marches.
As he faces terminal cancer, he is definitely not alone. His 80th birthday celebrations on Tuesday showed just how much affection the community holds for him. Goulburn Base Hospital staff, as usual, pulled out all the stops to make him feel special. There was a constant stream of visitors, as there has been for most of his time in hospital, including his sister, Mary (pictured). Even former Prime Minister Tony Abbott took time on Sunday to drop in.
It’s a mark of respect for a man who has given much to local charity. Wendell says he’s nothing special but we think differently.
He told Mayor Bob Kirk he was “just a commoner who did a bit of good for people.”
“That’s the humility of the man,” Cr Kirk said.
The past week has given us pause for thought with the passing of the much-loved Allan ‘Jockey’ Rudd. He’s the first person Wendell spoke of when The Post contacted him this week.
Like Jockey, he’s a character. And like Jockey, he has Goulburn behind him at this challenging time.
Wendell, you are loved. You’re a legend and always will be.
Rostrum winds up
It’s sad to see Goulburn Rostrum finish after a proud 81-year history.
The Club has nurtured numerous leaders and accomplished public speakers over the years, from newspaper editors, solicitors and much more.
Members have contributed mightily to public discourse and developed public speaking in our schools through the Voice of Youth competition. It’s the end of an era.
The Post particularly thanks Rostrum for hosting its Meet the Candidates forums.