RESPECTED former politician, cricketing enthusiast and Gunnedah citizen Roger Wotton was farewelled at a service held at the Gunnedah Crematorium yesterday.
Mr Wotton died last Thursday at the age of 92.
The service was attended by more than 100 people, including National Party stalwarts former deputy premier Ian Armstrong, Roads Minister Duncan Gay and members of the Australian cricketing fraternity.
Mr Wotton’s son, John, delivered a moving eulogy, recalling fond memories of his father.
A slideshow and video presentation of Mr Wotton’s life accompanied by music was also played during the service.
Former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer, who was unable to attend the funeral, also paid tribute to Mr Wotton, whom he described as a mentor.
Mr Fischer was a member of the NSW Parliament before his election to federal Parliament.
“Roger Wotton, and for that matter Tim Bruxner, can be well described as the last of the two great traincatcher MPs ever,” Mr Fischer said.
Mr Bruxner also served in the NSW Parliament for a long period and was based at Inverell.
Speaking at a conference at Parliament House on Thursday, Mr Fischer saluted the work of “RCA Wotton as a soldier, community contributor and state MP”.
“Roger used to catch the train down from Gunnedah and, often enough, the North West Mail back after a parliamentary sitting week.” Mr Fischer said.
“It is accurate to describe him as one of the last great train-catcher MPs, before domestic aviation took over.
“His anecdotes from those train trips were manyfold. His work, for example, to promote Mudgee wine ahead of its popularity, was very purposeful. He will be greatly missed.”
Mr Fischer said there were very few former World War II soldiers who were also former MPs.
“It was great to have Roger as a mentor when I was starting out.”
Roger Corfield Anson Wotton was born on September 14, 1919. He served as the National Party member for Burrendong for two terms in the ’60s and ’80s and later became the member for Castlereagh in the NSW lower house.
Mr Wotton served in the 2nd Australian Imperial Force from 1940 to 1945 and rose to the rank of lieutenant, serving in Darwin, Morotai and Borneo.
In 1981 the seat of Burrendong was abolished and Mr Wotton went on to contest the seat of Castlereagh.
Away from the political arena, Mr Wotton was a keen cricketer, captaining some of the all-conquering Gunnedah cricket teams of the 1950s. Many said he was an outstanding cricketer in his own right, playing at Country level against visiting international teams of the era.
He went on to become a vice-president of the NSW Cricket Association for 30 years and managed the Australian team that played in New Zealand in 1977, when the World Series Cricket revolution was being developed, with players being secretly contracted by Kerry Packer.
A huge supporter of the Royal Agricultural Society, from 1961 Mr Wotton acted as vice-president for an extended period and was the ringmaster at the Sydney Royal Easter Show during the 1980s.