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ROGER WOODS, M.B.E


One of Australia's foremost sports administrators, Roger Woods, has died aged 63, after a short battle with Cancer. For over 30 years he held leading gliding administrative positions within New South Wales and Australia and also internationally, and his dedicated contribution to the sport of gliding was recognised by a significant number of awards. Roger Alastair Woods was born in London, England on 19th June 1934 and was the only son of Draycot Birkett and Margaret Frere Woods. He was educated at Hoe Place and Parkside preparatory school and at St. Johns School in Surrey. He was a boarder at all of these schools and often said that boarding school was one of the most unhappy experiences of his life. Roger left school in 1950 at the age of 16 and joined the Esso Petroleum Company as a junior in their Legal Department. He soon realised that he disliked working in an office and in April 1952, at the age of 17, he migrated alone to Australia. His parents subsequently followed him to Sydney in 1954. Roger worked for 15 months as a jackaroo on two sheep properties in central western NSW and in July 1953 joined Rudolf (Ralph) Weiner on his poultry farm at Badgery's Creek on the outskirts of Sydney. At the age of 21 he entered into partnership with Ralph as an egg producer and they together they expanded the farm to a capacity of 21,000 hens. This partnership lasted 37 years until Ralphs death in 1990. In later years, Rogers considerable administrative abilities were put to good use when he was appointed as a Producer Member of the Board of the NSW Egg Corporation in October 1984 and re-appointed in March 1989. He was also elected Deputy Chairman of the NSW Farmers Association, Egg Producers for one year and held the position of Chairman of the Seven Hills Branch. In 1959 he joined the Southern Cross Gliding Club at Camden, and began his long association with the sport of gliding. He initiated the Club Journal in March 1960 and was president of the Club from 1963 to 1966 and again from 1974 to 1977. He was also the Clubs Cheif Flying Instructor from 1971 to 1973. During his first term as President, the Department of Civil Aviation attepted to stop gliding operations at Camden Areodrome. Thirty-five years later, Southern Cross still operates at Camden and this is solely due to Roger's efforts at the time. In recognition of his work for the Club he was made an Honorary Life Member in 1966. In addition to his work at the club level, Roger also held several senior positions with the NSW Gliding Association. He was Regional Technical Officer, Operations from 1968 to 1970 and President from 1971 to 1980 and again from 1986 to 1989. In June 1978 he was awarded the M.B.E by the NSW Government for Services to Sport. Roger was also working at the National level with the Gliding Federatin of Australia (GFA). He was a Council Member for 24 years from 1966 to 1989, the State Training Administrator from 1968 to 1977, Executive Vice President from 1977 to 1980, President from 1980 to 1983 and Immediate Past President from 1983 to 1986. He was the first Chairman of the Sports Committee to become part of the Executive, from 1983 to 1986, and was the Executive Officer from 1993 to 1997. In September 1984 he received the Federation's highest award, the W.P Iggulden Medallion, which is awarded for outstanding service in the field of administration of the sport of gliding in Australia. In February 1998 he received Honorary Life Membership of the GFA. He was Australia's International Gliding Commission (IGC) delegate in 1981, 1982, 1983, 1998 and from 1991 to 1997. In September 1989 the Federation Aeronautique Internationale awarded Roger the Paul Tissandier Diploma for his outstanding contribution to gliding in Australia over many years. This was only the third time that one of these awards has been made to a member of the Australian Gliding Fraternity. An indication of his standing within the international gliding community was shown at the March 1997 IGC meeting, where he was appointed President-Elect. Unfortunately ill health forced him to resign before he was able to take up the position of President of the IGC. However, his idea of the creation of Club Class World Championships was realised, just before his death, when the IGC decided that the first World Championships would be held in 2001 at Gawler in South Australia. Roger was the NSW Gliding Champion in 1973, Competitors Director at the Australian National Gliding Championships in 1975 and 1978, and the Co-ordinator and Chairman of the International Gliding Symposium held in conjuction with the Australian Bicentennial Air Show at Richmond in October 1988. In October 1982 Roger was the first serving GFA President to fly in an Australian National Championships at Jondaryan, Queensland. Throughout his long career Roger was an enthusiastic and dedicated gliding instructor and tug pilot. He remained an active club member and had a well-deserved reputation for his abilities as a public speaker, writer and negotiator. Roger married Heather Bottomley in 1963 (marriage dissolved). They had two children, Belinda Frere and Justin Angus Draycot, both of whom sadly died in infancy. In 1978 he married Brenda Bentley. Brenda and their two daughters, Frere and Ellena, survive him.


Posted 07/14/1999 08:38 am by ELLENA WOODS
E-mail Address: ebwoods@cyber.net.au

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