Tributes Flow for Former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam

admin News

Gough Whitlam, pictured here in 2013, has died at 98. Photo: Sally Tsoutas

Gough Whitlam, pictured here in 2013, has died at 98. Photo: Sally Tsoutas

HE WAS a larger than life figure and the man who took Fairfield from a tiny township with little infrastructure to the centre of the land of opportunity.

Edward Gough Whitlam who served as Australia’s 21st prime minister and a titan of the Australian Labor Party, died yesterday, aged 98.

He led the country through a period of massive social change from 1972 to 1975 before his ousting by governor-general Sir John Kerr, in the infamous dismissal episode.

Fairfield Advance reported that Mr Whitlam (pictured) was elected as the Werriwa federal Labor MP in 1952.

In 1957, he moved his family to a home in Albert St, Cabramatta.

Long-time Fairfield Labor councillor Lawrence White remembered Mr Whitlam as a larger than life figure.

Gough Whitlam speaks to crowds outside Parliament House on November 11, 1975 after his Labor government was dismissed. Image source: National Library of Australia

Gough Whitlam speaks to crowds outside Parliament House on November 11, 1975 after his Labor government was dismissed. Image source: National Library of Australia

“His biggest contribution to the Fairfield area was making tertiary education free and accessible,” Cr White said.

“When I went to school just a handful of children went on to the year 11 and 12 equivalent, today just a handful leave and that’s down to those reforms.”

Mr Whitlam brought sewerage infrastructure to parts of Smithfield and Canley Heights and, in so doing, laid the pipework of our city.

He is also credited with having the planning vision required to build the Cumberland Highway.

The Whitlam Library in Cabramatta was named after him after he secured a massive federal government contribution towards its construction.

Mr Whitlam and his wife, Margaret, voting at Cabramatta East public school in 1972.

Mr Whitlam and his wife, Margaret, voting at Cabramatta East public school in 1972.

Fowler Federal Labor MP Chris Hayes, who previously held the seat of Werriwa, described Mr Whitlam as a giant of the Labor Party.

“Gough was a visionary with a strong focus on ­education and infrastructure as a way of investing into the nation’s future,’’ he said.

“In 1973, he also led his government in one of the most significant human rights measures in abolishing the death penalty.”

In a statement, Mr Whitlam’s four children said their “loving and generous ­father” would be remembered as “a source of inspiration”

Gough Whitlam pictured here with family and friends at a lunch commemorating his 1972 victory. Image source: Fairfield Advance

Gough Whitlam pictured here with family and friends at a lunch commemorating his 1972 victory.
Image source: Fairfield Advance

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Former Australian Prime Minister Gough Whitlam.

Community leaders pay tribute to Gough Whitlam’s legacy

“Gough Whitlam was not only a proud son of Australia but a proud son of Fairfield. He cared deeply about Western Sydney and among his achievements were the Westmead Hospital with Neville Wran. He was an inspiration and a colossus. He will be greatly missed.” – Mcmahon Federal MP, Chris Bowen

“Raising his family on Albert St, Cabramatta, Gough developed a deep love for the people of this area — they motivated him to transform Australia into a land of progress, opportunity, equality and fairness. Gough may you rest in peace.” – Cabramatta State MP, Nick Lalich

“Gough Whitlam was a giant of his time. He established diplomatic relations with China and was the first Australian Prime Minister to visit China. China is our largest trading partner. That is an enduring legacy.” – Prime Minister, Tony Abbott

“All politicians reflect their times, but very few shape them. Gough Whitlam was one of those select few. Mr Whitlam represented the people of Werriwa, in outer western Sydney, for 26 years. He brought Labor back into power federally in 1972 after it had lost itself in a wilderness for 23 years.” – New South Wales Premier, Mike Baird