Robert Dunn the first elected Mayor of Pittwater has passed away.
76-year-old Mr Dunn passed away at Northern Beaches Hospital last Thursday, 17 September. Mr Dunn was thought to be fit and in good health; it is understood his passing was sudden and unexpected.
Mr Dunn served as the first Mayor elected to Pittwater Council, from 1992 — 1994. He had previously served as Councillor for ‘A Riding’ of Warringah Council and strongly campaigned for Pittwater secession.
In 2013, he published a book called ‘Pittwater Uprising! A Secessionist’s View’ which detailed his account of the formation of Pittwater Council.
Mr Dunn along with former Councillor Eric Green are considered by many to be the founding fathers of Pittwater Council, which existed from 1992 — 2016 when it was amalgamated into the Northern Beaches Council.
Speaking at the launch of his father’s book in 2013, Simon Dunn said,
“To take up a fight for the community, to take up a cause and run with it that future generations that myself and my siblings benefit from, really makes me appreciate that it takes a special person to have that unselfishness and commitment to see it through in the long term.”
A prominent local solicitor, Robert Dunn was widely regarded as a long term thinker, with several people recalling his trademark phrase, “The short way is the long way and the long way is the short way,” which spoke to his dedication to detail and doing things right the first time.
Member for Pittwater Rob Stokes, who worked in Mr Dunn’s legal practice before entering parliament, expressed sadness at the news and paid tribute to Mr Dunn.
“No one displayed more passion and pride for Pittwater than Robert Dunn. Robert had an unwavering compass for what’s right, and this was matched by his determination to achieve it.
“No matter how busy he was, Robert always made time for the issues, groups and people he cared about. I will always be grateful for the decades of support and guidance Robert provided to me so generously.
“Robert made an enormous contribution to our community and his legacy will continue,” said Mr Stokes.
Member for Mackellar Jason Falinski paid tribute to Mr Dunn in Federal Parliament.
“I am proud that the electorate of Mackellar is home to individuals like Robert who have spent years giving back to the community and making efforts to improve the lives of others,” said Mr Falinski.
Allan Porter, who served as Mr Dunn’s first Deputy Mayor in 1992, expressed his sadness at Mr Dunn’s passing and said,
“Thanks old pal for all that effort you put in years ago, because we succeeded beyond all expectations, and set a standard for local government to achieve and emulate.”
Angus Gordon OAM, a widely respected General Manager of Pittwater Council, recalled the difficult challenges faced by the Councillors and staff in the early days.
“Robert was a difficult person but so was I, we shared that in common and developed an early respect. He was very dedicated and committed, but somewhat enigmatic. He couldn’t be intimidated. It didn’t matter if it was influential members of the community or state government.
“He was so dedicated to Pittwater, it’s hard to explain how deeply he felt about that. He was also committed to listening to individuals who had concerns and addressing those concerns. He would go to incredible lengths to look into the matter and make changes as necessary,” said Mr Gordon.
Long serving Mayor of Pittwater Patricia Giles OAM expressed dismay and shock at losing Mr Dunn so soon after Lynne Czinner, another former Mayor of Pittwater.
“Robert was such a fit man, such a vibrant man,” she said. “He was such an ethical man, everything done by the book. He was a wonderful role model.
“Pittwater wouldn’t have been the wonderful success it was without him. I am proud to have been part of the team that protected, preserved and enhanced the area,” said Mrs Giles.
Mr Dunn was widely respected in the community. Pittwater Alliance Chairman Craig Boaden said,
“Robert’s significant and long-lasting achievements in local government, the law, politics and community work made him a wonderful role model for us all, and he will be greatly missed.”
Robert Dunn is survived by his wife Carolyn and four children; Simon, Angus, Edwina and Hannah.
Image: Northern Beaches Advocate