Farewell to Wollongong sports hero Bob Bartlett

Rugby league legends and sporting dignitaries were among 200 people who farewelled respected Wollongong sportsman Bob Bartlett yesterday.Bartlett, who represented Australia in league and excelled at lawn bowls in later years, was remembered as an exceptional sports all-rounder who had lived a full and rewarding life.The Wollongong father of four died on Friday, aged 83.His youngest daughter Christine Bartlett told mourners at his funeral service at St Francis Xavier's Cathedral her father began playing rugby league from an early age in Lithgow.A major highlight of his sporting career was being pursued by talent scouts to play football for the English Rugby Football League."He held down a full-time job and played 180 matches, an average 36 games a season, and played as many as 47 games in one season, which spoke volumes for his fitness and condition," Ms Bartlett said.She said he secured international caps, when he played for an "Other Nationalities" team, three times against Great Britain and four times against France."Upon his return to Australia, he was selected as NSW captain ahead of the immortal Clive Churchill."Lawn bowls became an integral part of Bartlett's life, as a player, administrator and life member of Wiseman Park Wollongong City Bowling Club."In his bowling career, he won numerous titles and events including Australian titles and also represented NSW on many occasions," Ms Bartlett said."He was very passionate in developing not only the foundations of the club, but backing its members."Ms Bartlett said her father was so proud of his NSW lawn bowls jacket, he would be buried in it.His sporting achievements were recognised with an Australian Sports Medal in 2000."He had an unbelievable, natural ability in every sport he set his mind to," Ms Bartlett said.Family was a priority while his favourite pastimes included fishing and a flutter on the dogs and the horses."He told me on Friday night, on the way home from the bowlo, that he was lucky."He had had a great life, he had a loving family who spent time with him, he had great friends and he had achieved and done everything he had ever wanted to do."Also attending Bartlett's funeral were league greats Gus Miller and Keith Barnes and administrators Bob Millward and Peter Newell.He was predeceased by wife Jean and is survived by four children, Lorraine, Janice, Robert and Christine, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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