Remembering Bob Hawke

23 May 2019 • Online Obituaries

Remembering Bob Hawke

“The legacy of heroes is the memory of a great name and the inheritance of a great example.”

Benjamin Disraeli


Robert James Lee Hawke is a hero of Australia’s political history. A great name in the development and growth of the Australian nation. A great example in changing the Australian political landscape and the path of a young country. A great leader of the Australian Labour Party and union movement.

Sadly Bob Hawke, passed away on 16 May 2019 leaving a country in mourning.

Bob Hawke’s passing marked the end of an era in Australian politics, particularly the Australian Labour Party which he led and was a passionate member of. 

Bob Hawke the politician – his achievements and legacy

He had an immense impact on Australia as a young country, on its maturation and its growth. Shaping the country in the time he was in power as Prime Minister and beyond. Laying the foundation for a legacy that will be felt and live on for generations coming. 

His immense intellect was often unmatched. This intellect was hidden behind a happy-go-lucky, jovial nature and unconventional, joking approach. But Bob Hawke’s greatest achievements will last generations.

Apart from sculling a yard glass of beer in 11 seconds, and antics such as these, there was a serious side to Bob. He studied at Oxford and became a Rhodes scholar. He became the leader of the Australian Council of Trade Unions, a Member of Parliament representing his local community and later Australia’s 23rd Prime Minister in 1983.

Bob Hawke Yardie

As the leader of the country, Bob instigated critical reforms in the Australian landscape that had lasting and significant effect. Impacts from these reforms were strongly felt in the Australian landscape, both domestically and internationally.

Some of these reforms and changes included opening Australia’s economy to international trade partners, especially Asia. He floated the dollar and deregulated the financial system, stimulating economic growth.

Along with the privatisation of government institutions, most notably the Commonwealth Bank and QANTAS, Bob also established Australia’s first tax payer funded health care system, Medicare, in 1984.

These were just a few of the many achievements of a brilliant mind and a strong character.

These are the things that Bob addressed throughout his Prime Ministership. These are his greatest achievements.


The things which are most important don't always scream the loudest.”  

Bob Hawke.


Bob Hawke Politician

Bob Hawke and his beers

Best known for his larrikin ways, enjoying nothing more than a laugh and a beer, Bob Hawke was arguably one of the most renowned and revered beer drinkers going around.

He was the star of many a photo with a beer in hand.

Ironically, and while it might not be the greatest example that you would want your child to follow, Bob later credited his love of beer to be partially responsible for his success.

In his memoirs, Bob suggested that his famous, or infamous sculling of the yard glass of beer endeared him to his electorate. An electorate that had an incredibly strong beer culture. Who could relate to him and he to them.

While the jury is out on whether this is true or not (it may well be!), the fact remains that Bob was a popular, relatable character that had a very strong charisma and a likeable nature. This is what made him an outstanding leader.

Bob Hawke Drinking Beer

Bob Hawke lead the Labour party to three further election victories in 1984, 1987 and 1990.

A young Bob – growing up and family life

Born in 1929 in Bordertown, South Australia, Robert James Lee Hawke was the second child in his family.

His parents, Arthur Hawke and Edit Emily were hard working, cornerstone member of their local community. Arthur, known as Clem, was a Congregationalist minister and Edith, known as Lee or Ellie, was a school teacher.

Bob Hawke Family

Source: dailymail.co.uk

The Hawke family, however, were not immune to sadness. Their oldest son and brother, Neil, passed away at age 17 following a bout of meningitis.

Losing Neil lead Ellie Hawke to build an unwavering belief in her second son’s potential, destiny and reason for being. This undeniable belief underpinned Bob’s unshakable sense self confidence that lasted and stood him in good stead throughout his career and life. It was the legacy of a doting mother.

At 17, the same age his brother passed away, Bob was involved in a serious motorcycle accident. This accident resulted in a near-death experience for him, leaving him in a critical condition for many days following.

This was a turning point in the life of Bob Hawke, driving him to use his natural talents and abilities to their full potential. Driving him to deliver the achievements that shaped Australia in his generation, and for generations to follow.

Bob Hawke Motorbike

Source: The Australian

Memorials for Bob Hawke


“Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no future.”

Elie Wiesel.


As Australians, our memories of Bob Hawke are treasured. His legacy, achievements and memory will become a national treasure. They have shaped out civilization. They have shaped our past. They will continue to shape our future.

There are already thousands of tributes and memorials to honour one of our greatest leaders and politicians. And the number will continue to grow in the coming weeks, months and years.

As a nation, Australians remember those we love and respect in many different ways. One lasting way of remembering those we love and those we have lost is an online memorial. We created an online memorial for Bob Hawke which is open to anyone to pay their respects with a personal tribute.

Skymorials offer online secure, safe and sharable spaces for you to create your own online memorials to ensure the memories of those we love live on. Lasting a lifetime and beyond.

Create an online memorial today to create, share and encourage your loved ones to contribute to your own, individual memorial space.

Rest in peace, Bob Hawke. In our hearts, in our minds, and in the pages of our history, your memory will live on forever.

Bob Hawke Final Days

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