Chris Hartcher & Ministers pay their tributes

12:44 AM 30 Jul 2012 NZST
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Chris Hartcher
Chris Hartcher - the New South Wales Special Minister of State.

The New South Wales Special Minister of State, Chris Hartcher, and scores of prominent political and business leaders from across Australia gathered at Sydney's harness racing home, Bankstown Paceway, last week to pay tribute to former state Racing Minister Bob Rowland Smith, who passed away on Friday, June 27.

The Bankstown race meeting was attended by Mr Hartcher, who is also the Minister for Resources and Energy, East Hills MP Glenn Brookes, Drummoyne MP John Sidoti, Hughes Federal MP Craig Kelly, overĀ 30 local government councillors from across the state.

Celebrity MC and 2UE Breakfast host Jason Morrison, and many prominent Australasian business leaders also attended.

Bankstown Paceway director Andrew Ho told Harnesslink:

"The Honourable Bob Rowland Smith - credited with unveiling a new era of 'harness racing excitement and comfort' at Bankstown Paceway - served as a Member of the New South Wales Legislative Council (Upper House) from 1974 to 1999, and as the Greiner Government's Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing from 1988 to 1991, during which time he presided over the construction and opening of the Phil Lopez OBE Grandstand at Bankstown Paceway,' Mr Ho said.

Born in Sydney on 15 October 1925, Robert Baron Rowland Smith was educated at Knox Grammar School, graduating in 1942. He served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1943 to 1947 and in the Naval Volunteer Reserve 1947-60, attaining the rank oflieutenant.

"After one year at the University of Sydney, he became a wool grower and processor, joining theCountry Partyin 1956. He was Chairman of the Australian Merino Wool Campaign Committee and theWool Buyers' Association. He was also the founder of Canobolas Wool Topmaking Pty Ltd in Orange.

In 1974, Rowland Smith was appointed to theNew South Wales Legislative Council - after the death ofE ben Vickery. He became Leader of the National Party in the Legislative Council in 1978 and Deputy Leader of the Government in 1988, when the Greiner Coalitionwon government.

He was Minister for Sport, Recreation and Racing until 1991. He remained in the Council until his retirement in 1999 and was granted retention of the title "The Honourable"for life.

"The Christmas in July Race Day - featuring the memorial tribute race to the Honourable Bob Rowland Smith - was held on Friday, July 27th, 2012, at Sydney's harness racing home, Bankstown Paceway," Ho added.

Megan J. LAVENDER

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