Eulogy for Wayne Routledge
18 Oct 1935 - 07 Sep 2019
Welcome / Introduction
Thank you everyone for coming along today - no doubt some of you have travelled significant distance at short notice to be here - we do appreciate your effort. We'd also like to acknowledge the many friends and relatives who were unable to attend - thank you for your kind thoughts and condolences. In particular our thoughts today are with Wayne's sister Dawn who currently resides in aged care at Corowa Court in Mornington but is unable to attend.
Dad was born on the 18th of October 1935 in the Cottage Hospital on Tanti Ave in Mornington. He shared the same middle name as his father Richard Routledge (who was known as 'Dale') and his mother's name was Camilla (she was known as 'Bon'). Wayne's sister Dawn was four years old when he was born, and the family were living on Burwood Avenue in Mornington, but soon moved a few streets away to Grange Road, close to Shire Hall beach and the Mornington pier, the Main Street shops, and close to Mornington Primary School where Wayne was a student in the early 1940's. By all accounts Wayne had a happy childhood, despite the fact that his father Dale headed off to war in 1939, and would not return until 1944 having been a Prisoner of War in Poland. When Dale was repatriated to Australia and returned home in poor health, it would have been a struggle to adjust to domestic life again and his son Wayne barely remembered him.
Despite this challenge Wayne enjoyed his childhood years. As a young boy he was included in play with his sister Dawn and her close friend Pat Pelling, he would have no doubt had various friends through primary school, and he has often told me how he used to enjoy playing along the Mornington foreshore at Red Bluff near the pier. Wayne also enjoyed watching the steam trains at Mornington station change direction on the turn-table before returning to Frankston. In recent years dad has recounted his fond memories of childhood outings to go Yabbying at a small dam near Pat's house and to the Searle property on the Esplanade where he and Dawn were able to ride horses. Wayne would rarely be seen
without his best mate - Keppy, the family dog. There would have typically been family evenings by the wireless listening to various radio shows and all important war news, and weekly outings to the Mornington Cinema to see news reels and feature films. Dad's love of cinema is a theme that would continue throughout his life.
In his secondary school years Wayne attended Mentone Grammar - initially commuting by train from Mornington, then attending as a boarder until he completed his leaving year. Of note - Wayne was the school projectionist for a time. He would return home for school holidays and various long weekends and it was during these boarding years that the Routledge family moved again to the nearby Red Gables, a larger weatherboard house on a double block at 21 Balcombe Street - still close to the centre of Mornington and importantly, still not far from the beach.
We believe dad started his working life at Peninsula Radio, his father's small retail business on Main Street, but through Dale's contacts at the local pub (which he was known to frequent after work) Wayne was able to land a job as a teller at the ANZ Bank in Mornington. Of interest is that Dale's father was also a banker.
In the following years (early 1950's) Wayne worked in various ANZ branches including Mornington, Rosebud, Moe (being in regional Victoria dad would billet in Moe through the working week and return to Mornington for the weekends), and in 1953 while working at the Collingwood branch he was called up for a several months of National Service. This involved basic army training at Puckapunyal followed by further training as a radio operator in a tank for the 4th Lighthorse. Over the years dad has spoken with fondness and some pride of his National Service, and it was special to him and our family when in 2002 his service was recognized with the National Service Medal.
Wayne then returned to the ANZ Bank and in 1955 his hard work and professionalism were recognized - he was brought in to Melbourne to learn the banks various administrative processes at their head office at 388 Collins St - effectively grooming him for more responsible roles. Outside of work he had ongoing involvement in a local Mornington church theatre group - the CEF Players. In April of 1961 Claire Rigby also found herself involved with the CEF Players who were rehearsing for an upcoming production called My Three Angels. She was in a support role; helping with costumes, make-up, stage props, and notably the prompt, who could whisper to actors who may have forgotten their
lines. When the female lead for the play fell ill just two weeks short of opening night, Claire was the only one who knew the lines, and she was reluctantly cast opposite Wayne as a married couple. I believe the performance involved a kissing scene, and needless to say Wayne and Claire started dating in August 1961. By October Wayne had proposed, in November they bought their first house at 56 Towerhill Rd, Frankston, and on 03 March 1962 they were married at St James (the Less) Church in Mt Eliza. Dad certainly liked to be efficient in everything he did.
Wayne and Claire continued their involvement in the CEF Players and a couple of years later the group performed their first musical production called Salad Days ('63) and then Free as Air ('65) and I know dad had many fond memories of this era. Wayne and Claire would also frequent Melbourne restaurants and venues to enjoy local bands like The Seekers. Their first child Susan was born in 1965, and I came along in 1968. At this point Wayne's career had him travelling to Blackburn each day and with a growing family and a long daily commute, the decision was made to move to a bigger house in the eastern suburbs. This was a spec home in a new estate in Glen Waverley and No. 4 Eriden Close was to be our family home until 1992.
Career and family
Throughout Sue's and my childhood and school age years, dad would prove himself time and again to have love and devotion to his family and somehow balance this with dedication to his work. He worked long hours and continued to advance his bank career with various important roles. In the early years he became close friends with Ron Cashin and then also, Geoff Scott. He met Les Roberts when they worked together on the introduction of Bankcard to Australia - which involved travel to the US and the UK. He returned to Blackburn as manager of the ANZ Stationery Dept for Australia, and this lead to his friendship with Peter Miller who had come from New Zealand to learn stationery department processes. These friendships may have been formed in dad's professional working environment, but they were special to him and a valued part of his life. A particularly challenging role was when he worked directly for the ANZ CEO Will Bailey in an era where the ANZ decided to purchase a company jet and establish a corporate retreat in country Victoria at Flowerdale, with Wayne responsible for 'project managing' both ventures. He finished his career with the ANZ working at Victoria Parade, Carlton as the Senior Manager of Services and Supply. The position responsibilities included Australia-wide payroll, the ANZ vehicle fleet, staff uniforms, and catering, and when Wayne retired in 1992 he concluded a highly accomplished 39 year career.
Around the home dad had his routines that saw him polishing his work shoes, regularly washing the cars, mowing the lawns, and various other property maintenance tasks, dutifully driving mum to craft markets where she sold pottery and hand-crafts, and driving mum crazy if he tried to help with cleaning or doing the dishes. With dad, most tasks needed to be done with routine and efficiency (his methodical nature not surprising given his years in the bank and his previous military service). Gardening however was not too much of a chore for dad - it gave him genuine enjoyment. He loved planting flowering annuals to brighten up the garden beds, and was a dab hand at planting out and maintaining large garden beds of camelias and azalias. He also built a large fernery in the shady corner of our back yard with an impressive array of plants, though the sturdiness of the timber frame that he built could be called in to question.
Christmases gatherings and other family celebrations would often be held at relatives houses, and ever dutiful - dad would pack the car and make sure we'd arrive on time. He was a loving and caring father who would always ask how our day had been, offered calm, sensible guidance when challenges in life arose, and often lightened the mood with a 'dad' joke, even when it wasn't required (a trait that I seem to have inherited from him). He and mum have been very generous parents with their love, and also gave both Sue and myself considerable financial help when we each purchased our first property.
Dad had to cope with the passing of both of his parents in 1973 which must have been deeply sad for him, but of course his sister Dawn, his parents-in-law and his good friends Pat and Peter Wallis amongst others all lived in Mornington, so visits to the peninsula continued to be a regular occurrence - the place that dad enjoyed most. We all have very happy memories of weekends spent at our holiday house at 08 Hume St near the top of Mt Martha, with views out over the bay and back up to Melbourne. Dad would bundle us up in to the car for summertime day trips to Mt Martha beach which were no doubt doubly enjoyable for him, as much of his childhood was spent at the beach in Mornington. The Hume St house was probably best described as 'rustic', with a basic kitchen and concrete shower base, but after dad applied his questionable carpentry skills to fixing a sticking fly-screen door, it was even more so. His uneven sawing effort in an attempt to stop the door sticking meant it then had a scalloped bottom edge that provided multiple openings for the flies and mosquitoes to enter. At this point we had pretty much determined that carpentry was not dad's forte. The holiday house at Hume St was the venue for many, many barbeques and parties with Dawn, Pat
and Peter, and many other relatives and friends. Dad would be in charge of the barbeque, and food and drink would abound. Having eventually sold the Hume St holiday house, he and mum had always planned to retire back to the Mornington peninsula, so it was no great surprise when in 1986 they purchased their home at 12 Hinkler St, Mt Martha.
I remember that mum was concerned in the lead-up to dad's retirement as to how he would keep himself busy, but I don't think it proved to be a problem. With time on his hands dad could dive in to working on the front and rear gardens at Hinkler St to create a lovely casual green setting. He helped plan the construction of a pottery studio for mum and the addition of a sun-room near the front of the house. For as long as I could remember he had been an avid reader (particularly of murder mysteries and adventure novels) and in retirement this pass-time saw him purchasing and devouring novels as often as one per fortnight. His favourite authors included Agatha Christie (he owned and read every one of her 100+ novels), Wilbur Smith, P.D. James, and many more. Not surprisingly he also enjoyed the daily ritual of attempting the crossword in the Age newspaper and it was rare that he couldn't complete it. This was an activity he had originally enjoyed during his long train commutes to work.
He enjoyed staying in touch with his ANZ bank friends and colleagues. The retired officers group would meet for monthly luncheons, and dad was certainly disappointed if other commitments meant that he occasionally missed a gathering. Names the likes of Harry Kerwin and Ari Veenman along with his other work friends would be mentioned fondly on his return. Retirement also meant that he and mum had the time available to enjoy regular outings to the cinema, and dad would also immerse himself in cinema facts and trivia and actor biographies. Over the years, mum and dad thoroughly enjoyed heading up to Melbourne to see an array of different theatre and stage show productions - not that surprising given how they first met. You may well hear some 'Les Mis' music playing later in the service.
Dad was no stranger to travel, heading interstate and overseas both in his working life and for various family holidays. In retirement, he and mum were able to enjoy many more trips including a lengthy tour of Europe and the UK, and trips to New Zealand, Singapore and the US. Within Australia they ventured to Darwin and the Northern Territory, Western Australia, Cairns and Port Douglas to name just a few of their destinations.
In 2004 my beautiful wife Carolyn and I were married and I think that dad was pretty proud. He and I had shared a quiet beer at the Dava hotel just a few days before the wedding, and dad told me that being a husband and father came with responsibility, but that it would be the most special part of my life - and he was so right. Carolyn and I have two wonderful boys, Will and Callum, and I know that they filled dad's heart with happiness - he was a very proud grandfather.
During his 27 years of retirement dad had several serious health issues but was generally able to return to sound health and mobility to be able to enjoy so much in life. In his last few years dad's Parkinson's began to take it's toll, and after mum needed open-heart surgery in March 2017, dad needed to move in to George Vowell aged care centre which is nearby in Mt Eliza. This was a difficult adjustment for everyone, but dad received daily visits from Claire and regular visits from Sue, myself and other family friends, and for a time we were able to bring him home for occasional daytrips. Dad had always had a great sense of humour, and even in aged care was still able to make the odd cheeky joke with the carers and nurses. Just the other day I was chatting with Pat about dad's early years, and she described him as someone who was 'always fun'. We would like to acknowledge the staff in Lakeside Wing who provided such good care for dad throughout his time there. Dad's final days were at The Bays hospital on Main St Mornington. He had a first floor room overlooking the part of Mornington where he had lived as a child and had gone to school. We are very grateful to the doctors, nurses, and support staff who all showed great compassion, sensitivity and quality of care for dad. He was comfortably sedated much of the time, and passed away peacefully on Saturday evening the 7th of September.
We will never forget you dad - you will always be in our memories and in our hearts.