Vale John Roberts

The Association respectfully acknowledges the recent passing of John Roberts, a significant member of the Battery Point community for many years. John will be remembered for his outstanding contribution to the Association and as a prominent citizen of Battery Point.

Community member Ian Broinowski has written the following tribute to John:

‘Some people simply tell stories. Others live their stories. They are told from the heart and expressed with passion, humour and they delight their listener. John Roberts was one such bard.

Whether his stories were about obscurities of war history or life in Battery Point, John invariably left me with a smile after our street chats and chance meetings. These encounters appeared haphazardly without rhyme or reason. We could flit from General Monash’s mastery on the Western Front to tales of the regimental scavenger.

He once recalled how in the late 1970s he, John White and others became united in trying to save Battery Point from the visionaries of the day whose desire was to rid the city of its slum and recreate a Sydney-style Potts Point: hence Empress Towers. Their focus was on the Progress Association, which was run at the time by the Vicar and his twin set flock. While they were sipping tea from bone china cups with the Lord Mayor, the demolition balls were in full swing and Battery Point was crumbling around them. A coup d’état was executed and the young, radical, anti-development, anti-progress, long-haired mob took charge. The result was the Battery Point Planning Scheme 1976, which revolutionised the development process in the area and saved it from obliteration. John was part of this.

So too was John’s identity, cheerful disposition and personage. His tales of things past will be forever lost to us. But thank you John for so many wonderful stories. I, for one, will truly miss hearing your endless repertoire and the smiles they so readily evoked as I wandered away in my mind and heart. They will remain precious to me for a very, very long time to come.’