FOREWORD i Acknowledgements ii Abbreviations iii PROLOGUE 1 It Was a Tough Start 5 The Great Southland 9 Paucity of Access and Services 12 Discovering the Shire 16 Dreams of Better Planning 23 War with Our Local Council 28 A Community Pub, a School and a Foundry 32 A Steep Learning Curve for Novices 40 Saving a Sanatorium 48 Caringbah under Pressure 51 A Planning Gem 57 What It Takes Is Change 62 Nine Hundred Pack Cecil Ballroom 71 A Club Is Born 80 Change Was Blowing in the Wind 96 Contemplating Leadership: A New Direction 100 A New Involvement 105 Finding More Money 109 Cars, Roads and Bridges 117 Being a 'Good Sport' 123 The Battles of 1962 126 Moving Forward Culturally 134 More Money, More Facilities 137 Honouring a Shire 'Great' 143 A Temporary Retreat 147 The Start of an Unbelievable Horror Stretch 150 A Tortuous, Crazy Inquisition 159 The Community Takes Stock 168 Restoring Fair Play 174 Moving into Neutral Territory 177 Assaulting 'The Royal' 181 New Sports Facilities: 'Talk of the Town' 189 Finding a Home for Rugby League 193 Kirinari: A Community Venture 202 The Machinations Multiply 208 Machinations Part II - Sensational Headlines 218 Machinations Part III - A Second Gruelling Inquiry 223 Jet Alley Deception 230 A New Beach - Elouera 249 Reaching out to Staff and the Community 255 A Remarkable Year 263 A Memorable Election Win 270 A 'First' - A United Council 281 The Bicentenary Celebrations 287 Keeping the Shire as One 299 Kurnell Belongs to the People 306 Taking a Stand on Racism 313 Attempted Assassination 319 1971 - A Year of Success 327 Thanks, Arthur 334 EPILOGUE 348 POSTSCRIPT Some final words on liberating local government 357 Appendix A Summary of relevant local newspaper articles 372 Appendix B Testaments to Arthur's achievements and integrity 388 Notes 401 References 441 Index 447
The Honourable Arthur Thomas Gietzelt AO has given a lifetime of service to the Australian people: five years of army service, including two trips overseas during the Second World War; 15 years in local government; and 18 years in the Senate, serving two terms as a Minister of the Crown in the 1980s. From the time he returned from overseas in 1946, Arthur, together with his wife Dawn, was driven by visions of a better life for families. During his 15 years on Sutherland Shire Council, including nine as its Shire President (Mayor), he was the main architect of the golden decade of infrastructure development in the Shire, which earned him membership of the Executive of the Local Government and Shires Association of NSW for 4 years. An attempt on his life in 1971 was the fifth on public officeholders in Australia in the 20th century. He joined ranks with Peter Baldwin, Arthur Calwell, Jim Cairns and Percy Brookfield, who also experienced murderous attacks from the Right of politics. During his 18 years in the Federal Parliament, Arthur helped win millions of dollars for local government and became Minister for Veterans' Affairs in the Hawke Government, where he modernised 70 years of repatriation legislation to create the Veterans' Entitlement Act, and instigated the Royal Commission into the use of Agent Orange in Vietnam. Arthur has held many positions at the Branch and Electoral Council levels of the Australian Labor Party, becoming one of the longestserving members of Labor's National Execuutive. He retired as its Senior Vice President in 1989. He was awarded the Order of Australia for services to Local Government and Parliament in 1992, and a Centenary Medal in 2001 for service to the community through the ALP and the trade union movement. Arthur and Dawn were granted Life Membership of the ALP in 1994. Arthur passed away in January 2014, just weeks before this book went to print.