Sic transit: Lee from the Albury; TIGS ex-student

The previous post reprising January 2001 mentioned the Albury Hotel. It was a hub for our group in those days, in my case from around the mid-80s through the time it finally passed into history. See More “Neil’s Decades” – 11: 1986 – 2001 at The Albury.

As I said in 2012 in Priscillas I have known: “Oh yes: The Albury – where I met M in 1990 and Sirdan and chatted with the former Premier of South Australia, Don Dunstan – and The Unicorn, and all that 1980s-early 1990s scene.” There are some vids there.


Is it that long ago?

31 Oct 2007

The Empress has sent an edict:

Lest We Forget

31 October 2001


See also mais où est l’Albury d’antan?

Last night I confessed on Facebook:

Instead of watching what I intended on ABC2 I have found myself deep in memories thanks to Bruce Part’s photos of The Albury Hotel. This is a rendition of one of those photos.

And someone comments on Bruce’s album:

Such an beautiful original old pub destroyed! I was saddened when I finally moved to Syd and it was gone. I met a lovely guy there on my first visit around 1996 and didn’t leave empty handed….a big deal for a country boy!!!

“Such an beautiful original old pub destroyed!” indeed. I hope Bruce finds a few more to share in that “boot box full of photo memories.”

I have cropped a couple and given them the art makeover treatment.

FotoSketcher - 16042_232492893548533_882882010_n

And a face and smile we all got to treasure in those days: barman Lee Bowman. But much more than just a barman at The Albury: see also this 2010 post. A little while ago Sirdan, now in Queensland, rang me to tell me that Lee had passed away. Today he rang again, having discovered the details. Many a conversation did we all have over the years.

YOU only had to look at how many Bondi clubbies turned up at the hospital in Lee Bowman’s dying hours to realise his popularity.

The 59-year-old was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital on New Year’s Day after he collapsed on Bondi Beach from a stroke, just hours after winning a club swim race.

Two days later, Mr Bowman was given only hours to live.

More than 50 people gathered by his bedside to say goodbye, some still with sand between their toes.

A nurse was so impressed by the clubbies’ solidarity, she penned them a letter to say she would never forget the day.

“Never in my 15 years of nursing have I ever seen such an amazing group of friends,” she wrote.

“This speaks volume of Lee. He must have been such an amazing man.”

Mr Bowman died late on January 3 but Jacob Waks, president of the Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club, said he would never be forgotten.

“He was part of the furniture down at the beach,” Mr Waks said.

“If someone walked past the club, they would see him either sitting outside the club or in the club gym.”…

“He never complained,” Mr Waks said.

“He was one of those people who made everyone feel special. He’d always be there for you.”

Long-term friend Michelle Rogers from the Royal Motor Yacht Club of NSW, where Mr Bowman used to work, said he had a rough beginning in England.

“He kind of grew up on the street until a kind man brought him to Australia in 1977,” she said.

“But whatever happened to him in life, he always showed integrity and humour.”

A service in celebration of Lee Bowman’s life will be held at Bondi Surf Bathers’ Life Saving Club at 3pm on Sunday 22nd January.


Surf lifesavers paddle out for Lee Bowman.


Lee Bowman 2012: The Australian

Here in Wollongong I was informed by an ex-student I taught in 1971-1974 that one of his classmates (Class of 1975) passed away in the last few days. In October 2016 there had been bad news via Facebook:

Hi Neil I have some sad news. GL has been diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He is currently at home being looked after by his mother and, thankfully is pain free. G and I have grown very close in recent years spending time together each Friday at Wollongong markets. He has seemingly a constant stream of visitors representing his many networks of friends and that is a testimony to what a steadfast, reliable and generous friend he is. He is in good spirits and is prepared for what is to come refusing surgery and chemotherapy. Sorry to be the bearer of such unhappy news….

And then last Tuesday:

Hi Neil…..sadly G passed away this afternoon.

In fact G was the first of my ex-students that I met when I returned to Wollongong in 2010, and I had seen him quite often in the years since. And his amazing mother from time to time.

Until the official announcements appear I am suppressing names, but will add a copy of the relevant notice when it is available.



Passed away surrounded by loving family on January 10, 2017. Dearly loved son of Sandria and Robert (dec). Loving brother of Rodney, Karen and uncle to Sam. Gerry will be sadly missed by his loving family and many, many dear friends. Aged 59 Years. A true gentleman and exceptional person who will be forever in our hearts. At Gerry’s request no service will be held.