Brian Bannon, who served as MP for Rockdale for 27 years, has died at 87

Brian Bannon has died at 87. Picture: L. Graham
Brian Bannon has died at 87. Picture: L. Graham

Brian Bannon, AOM, who was the state Labor MP for Rockdale for 27 years, died on Friday at 87 after a long illness.

Mr Bannon entered the Legislative Assembly in 1959 and resigned in 1986 to make way for Barrie Unsworth, who moved from the upper house to the lower house to replace Neville Wran as premier.

The move almost proved a disaster, with Mr Unsworth only just managing to win the seat which had been a Labor stronghold while Mr Bannon was the member.

Mr Bannon lived at Arncliffe while representing Rockdale, but in 1996 he and his wife Janette moved to Caringbah South..

A sports lover, who also had talent in that area –  he played two years in President’s Cup for St George in 1950-51 – Mr Bannon was heavily involved in sport after leaving Parliament.

He was the chairman of State Sports Centre from 1984 to 1994, Bicentennial Park Trust in 1987, Sports House Advisory Committee and Police & Citizens Boys Committee.

Mr Bannon was an avid bowler, playing at Arncliffe Bowling Club and, after moving to the shire, at Cronulla RSL Club.

Popular among his former colleagues, he was secretary and chairman of Association of Former Members of Parliament from 1987 to 2005.

Mr Bannon’s daughter Stacey said her father was very proud to have served the community, and he had an ability to encourage people.

“Dad just knew how to make people test themselves and do better than what they thought they could do,” she said.

“He was always a driver behind my sisters Samantha and Gabrielle and I achieving and exceeding goals.”

Gabrielle was an Australian representative swimmer in her younger years and Stacey was a police officer, firstly at Rockdale, for more than 26 years, before retiring as a detective sergeant in the State Crime Command.

Samantha followed her father into the public service, working in the Premier’s Department.

Mr Bannon was educated at Marist Brothers Kogarah before joining the public service, working as a clerk in the Public Trust Office from 1948 until 1958.

He became involved in the trade union movement and was a branch committee member of Clerical Officers Association.

He joined the ALP in 1952 and held positions in the party’s youth council and state electoral council, federal electoral council and the municipal assembly.

He is survived by his wife Janette, whom he married in 1967, his three daughters and seven grandchildren.

The funeral service will be at Our Lady of Fatima Church, Caringbah, at 1.30pm on Friday, October 13.