24 October 2023

Vale Rob Docker: a giant of the Canberra community

| Tim Gavel
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Rob Docker. Photo: Supplied.

Rob Docker has died aged 66. Photo: Supplied.

It is hard to imagine the Canberra community without Rob Docker.

As the long-time CEO of the Tradies, he was a force of nature, ensuring the club was involved in many aspects of life in the city.

Before joining the Tradies in 2009, he was an advisor to Canberra’s licensed clubs, and before that, a public servant.

He retired as CEO of the Tradies on 28 May this year after helping literally hundreds of Canberra individuals and organisations during his reign in charge of the club.

His passion was sport. He loved to play it, talk about it, and as the Tradies CEO, sponsor it. In many circumstances, he was keeping teams afloat through sponsorship.

At one stage in 2016, the Tradies sponsored all three major women’s sporting teams: the Capitals, the Meteors and Canberra United. And he did this with enormous pride.

The Tradies, Dickson

Rob Docker ensured the Tradies were prominent supporters of good causes across the Territory.

The ability to help others appeared to inspire him to do more. The Dickson Swim Club, vets golf and vets cricket were other beneficiaries.

He loved cricket and was a talented player before becoming a board member of Cricket ACT in later life.

But it wasn’t just sport.

I remember him helping an Ainslie School music program by providing two scholarships a year for violin lessons offered during school time for young budding musicians.

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He was also a great supporter of people with cerebral palsy; he approached this as if on a personal mission.

He was an enthusiast for causes where he could see that funding could make a difference.

In 2016, he slowed down somewhat after being diagnosed with cancer. But slowing down did not mean stopping. He remained interested in many local initiatives.

In conversations over the years, we spoke a lot about sport, the Canberra community, and the love and pride he had in his family.

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He passed away on Saturday (21 October). He was 66.

It is hard to imagine anybody having a greater impact on our community, such was his genuine enthusiasm for the people and the city.

He will be missed.

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Rowan Drennon12:05 pm 27 Oct 23

A sad day for Rob and his family. At the Tradies, he was skilled manager and was always making heaps of money from the pokies. It is a complicated topic, taking so much from gambling addicts. So many of these generous sporting donations came from the pockets of the poor and vulnerable in our community. I’m not sure how to feel.

Dianne Edgar9:07 pm 25 Oct 23

This is so sad. I worked with Rob at the DoD in the early 80’s. Lovely man.

Totally in shock. I played against Rob in the tennis masters games here in Canberra in 2003. He got Gold and we got Silver in the men’s doubles over 40. Ran into him many times at the Tradies.

A great loss to our community. May you rest in peace.

Peter Graves7:48 am 25 Oct 23

Thanks for these thoughts.

I worked with Rob in the Industry Department in 1989/90. He was an entertaining and enthusiastic character, in the public service work place and personally. He was also rather different than our work colleagues of the time and I wasn’t surprised that he moved on – out of the APS, to the areas mentioned here. To great impact.

Thanks Tim. sounds like he made a huge contribution to the Canberra community.

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