Council tribute to 'Face of the Shire' Bob Walshe who died at 94

Sutherland Shire Council says Bob Walshe, OAM, influenced and empowered others to rise to the environmental and social challenges confronting modern society.

Mr Walshe, who died on March 6 at 94, was twice named the shire’s Citizen of the Year.

He was also chosen by the council as one of 100 Faces of the Shire during centenary celebrations in 2006 in recognition of his wide-ranging accomplishments (see below)..

”We are saddened to hear of the passing of Sutherland Shire icon and two time Sutherland Shire Citizen of the year, Bob Walshe,” the council said in a statement.

“Bob was a gentle, kind and thoughtful man who was very intelligent, influencing and empowering others to rise to the environmental and social challenges that confront modern society.

“His passion for the environment saw him become one of the founding members of the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre formed in  1991, a group that has been at the forefront of many environmental campaigns across the area.

“Bob chaired the First National Park Committee for many years seeking to have the Royal National Park placed on the World Heritage List.

“He also had a strong sense of social justice and partnered with Council on numerous activities including the establishment of the Sustainable House and Garden, a thriving social enterprise now managed by the Sylvanvale Foundation at Rawson Parade, Sutherland.”

The statement said  Mr Walshe was a passionate advocate for  healthy ageing.

“ Following a stroke in 2008, Bob was instrumental in bringing psychiatrist Dr Norman Doidge to the Sutherland Entertainment Centre in 2009. 

“The best selling author of  The Brain That Changes Itself proved to be a huge draw card, selling more single tickets than any other event ever held at the Sutherland Entertainment Centre. 

“The following year, in 2010, Bob wrote the four-page brochure Are You Ageing Well?, which was circulated to every household in Sutherland Shire. 

“It was in this year that Bob became the only resident of the Sutherland Shire to be bestowed with the title of Citizen of the Year for a second time.”


On the centenary of Sutherland Shire in 2006, Bob Walshe was chosen by the council as one of 100 Faces of the Shire, with the following tribute:

Bob Walshe OAM – Advocate for the environment

A teacher, historian, author and environmentalist, Bob Walshe is a mentor to many people in the Shire.

Bob has authored and co-authored many bestselling textbooks and in 1963 he established the Martindale Press publishing firm.

Throughout his career, Bob established the first adult course in modern writing at Sutherland Shire Evening College, the Sutherland Shire Arts Council Foundation and Sydney Teachers Writing Group.

He has also co-founded the Primary English Teaching Association and the Total Environment Centre.

In the 1980s Bob threw himself into the fi ght for the environment and wrote the Greenhouse Alert, which was published by the Federal government and sent to all Australian schools.

He was then appointed as the first Chairman of the Sutherland Shire Environment Centre which would be the launching pad for many of Bob’s environmental campaigns.

From 1998 to now, Bob has been an active member of the Kurnell Regional Environmental Planning Council and the Botany Bay Strategy Advisory Committee.

He is currently the leader of a joint community and council campaign to stop the tripling in size of Port Botany’s container handling and the desalination plant planned for the Kurnell.

For his achievements, Bob was named Shire Citizen of the Year in 1995, awarded the Order of Australia Medal in 1998, received a Mayoral Volunteer Recognition Award in 2000 and was awarded the Centenary Medal in 2001.

Previous story: