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John Fahey: A born leader bows out

Posted by ACU on 15 October 2020
On September 12, ACU's Chancellor John Fahey took his final breath after a life spanning 75 years. Some months before his death, we spent a few hours with him in his home, where he spoke of reaching the highs of professional success, and plunging to the lows of personal tragedy.

As Fahey led the way into his living room, his wife Colleen could be heard pottering elsewhere in the house. In the hallway was a framed certificate from the Olympics in 2000, a subtle memento of his leading role in Sydney's winning bid to host the event. Further along, a signed bat from Australian cricket legend Adam Gilchrist, a reminder of Fahey's fondness for sport, and, of one other thing: that firm handshake came from the arm of an ex-politician, but also, an ex-sportsman.  

In the 1960s, long before Fahey donned a tailored suit in NSW parliament as the state's 38th premier, he took the field in the blue-and-white of the Canterbury Bulldogs. He was a long-time patron of the club and a one-eyed fan, and on September 12, when Fahey hung up his boots after a long battle with cancer, the Bulldogs were among the first to pay tribute.

"He was a man of honour and a great friend of not only the Bulldogs, but Australian sport in general," said club chair Lynne Anderson. "He will be sadly missed, but forever a part of the Bulldogs family."

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