It was 1984 and word was out that Bob Hawke was coming to Goulburn.
The then Prime Minister was one year into his term and still in honeymoon phase with the Australian people.
Visiting to support Labor candidate Bob Stephens' campaign in the seat of Gilmore, he was "mobbed" in the Argyle Mall.
At the Goulburn Workers' Club, where he was to have lunch, the staff had been instructed only to serve him orange juice. The previously beer loving PM was 'on the wagon.'
Bob Stephens' wife and former federal Senator Dr Ursula Stephens shared the memories on Friday, following Mr Hawke's death at the age of 89 on Thursday.
"He was the reforming Prime Minister of the 20th century and he changed Australia," she said.
Dr Stephens had personal contact with Mr Hawke as a delegate to the national conference and as president of the NSW Labor Branch. She said he was always very generous with his time following his retirement and was a valuable sounding board for numerous Ministers.
"His intellect was appreciated by many people," Dr Stephens said.
She recalled the 1984 Gilmore campaign as one of the funniest in which she was involved. The slogan was "Two Bobs Worth," with her husband perched atop a vehicle travelling the streets spreading his message with a loud speaker.
Mr Hawke's visit was an added bonus.
"He loved an audience and was always a performer," Dr Stephens said of Hawke.
"He was also as sharp with his tongue as (Treasurer Paul) Keating, but in a different way."
She last saw Mr Hawke 18 months ago when it was clear his health was deteriorating.
Mr Stephens told The Post the election in Gilmore went down as one of the tightest in history; he secured 44 per cent of first preference votes, The Nationals' John Sharp 28pc and The Liberals' Noel Anderson 19pc. Mr Stephens won 49.8pc of the vote on a two party preferred but Mr Sharp won the seat following distribution of preferences.
Mr Stephens described Mr Hawke as a "good bloke" who transformed Labor into a social democratic party.
"That's what the people wanted," he said.
Former Goulburn Post photojournalist Leon Oberg captured much of Mr Hawke's visit, which also took in the old Supertex factory.
"We went through the factory and there was a lot of frivolity. It was a great occasion because a man of his stature had never been through there," he said.
"The staff rose to the occasion and Bob was feeding off that. It made the photography so much easier because it was such a euphoric type of event."
Former Goulburn Labor Party branch president Roger Lucas had close contact with Mr Hawke. He initially visited Goulburn in 1982, speaking to Woodlawn miners.
Mr Lucas also worked on the 1984 Gilmore campaign. At that time the party headquarters was at the current Hungry Jacks site.
"All the national media with their cameras were there because of Hawkie," he said.
"Next minute we see Archie Hancock, the Goulburn city councillor of the time who was famous for collecting cans out of garbage bins. I pointed him out to the cameramen and they swung around and turned their attention on Archie. He was our other famous person in town."
Mr Lucas, a Labor Party life-member said Mr Hawke was a wonderful person who could walk into a dispute and emerge with a resolution.
"I think the best thing he ever did was The Accord and getting unions and business to talk to each other to achieve greater productivity. Everyone came together as a team," he said.
"...He had a healthy ego but his greatest legacy was conciliation and we need much more of that today. We need more people like him."
Longtime Goulburn branch member Judy Fowler has worked on Labor campaigns for some 50 years. She well remembered Mr Hawke's 1984 visit but paid tribute to his achievement of superannuation and equal wages for women, along with stopping the damming of Tasmania's Franklin River and listing of the Daintree Forest as a World Heritage Area.
"He's gone two days before the federal election but for women of my age, it reminds us of all the good things he did for women," she said.
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