Overnight my father Alan Hunt passed away. He was 85.
In his words, he had had a wonderful life. He was the father of five sons, Bob, John, Peter, Steve and Greg. He was the grandfather to ten grandchildren, Josephine, Selwyn, Mia, Alan, Anne, Henry, Sam, Abby, Poppy and James. He was the brother of Colin and David. And to his great delight, for the last decade and more of his life he was the partner to Leila Haywood.
Not all endings are sad. Until December Dad lived at home, in Mornington, in the house which he had loved and lived in for almost 50 years. In the last few months he and Leila have been cared for by the wonderful staff at Somercare in Somerville. In the last few weeks he had been given amazing care by the doctors and nurses of Ward 4 GS at Frankston Hospital. And in the last two days he was embraced by the most caring staff of the Palliative Care Unit at the Golf Links Rd Rehabilitation Centre in Frankston.
Dad retained his complete awareness of the world until his last days. Until the very end he was actually caring for others.
Over the last few weeks he said goodbye to each of his sons. In doing so he took care of each of us. He explained that he was ready to die, that he had been blessed in his life and that he had no fears. He said farewell and took care of each of Steve and Peter. Both spent much time with him in his last few weeks.
On Monday he held me and took care of me. On Wednesday he held my brother John and took care of John.
Yesterday, as he became increasingly frail, his brother David and partner Leila visited to say goodbye. On his last day he was surrounded by sons who read to him his beloved poems from Yeats and Byron, Shelley and the Prophet. But his favourites were Tennyson’s Ulysses and perhaps most of all Coleridge’s Kubla Khan. As my brother John read the words: “In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree” Dad cupped his ears to tell us he was listening, and to ask for more.
But there was one more thing. He had yet to say goodbye to his eldest son Bob. Bob drove overnight from Wyndham in NSW and arrived just after 3 AM. There, in the middle of the night, accompanied and cared for by his eldest son, he passed away.
It was a grand life and we will celebrate it on the Mornington Peninsula, which he so loved, at the Peninsula Community Theatre in Wilson’s Road, Mornington, at 3 PM on Monday 22 July.
With all our love Dad, the boys.
ALAN HUNT AM
Alan Hunt was born on 9 October 1927 in Peterborough, South Australia.
He was educated in South Australia and later attended Melbourne Grammar School and Melbourne University, where he completed a law degree.
He was President of the Melbourne University Liberals from 1948-50 and was Secretary of the National Union of Australian University Students and a delegate to the World University Service conference, Bombay 1950.
He began his career as a solicitor and in 1954 was a senior partner of Frost & Hunt, Mornington, later Hunt, O’Sullivan & Daniels.
He was elected as a Member of the Legislative Council on 15 July 1961 for the South Eastern Province. He held the position for 31 years, retiring on 2 October 1992.
He served as a Minister in the Bolte, Hamer and Thompson Governments and one of his signature achievements was the protection of the natural environment around Melbourne’s growth suburbs, or what has become known as the Green Wedges.
He held the following portfolios:
• Minister for Local Government Apr 1971-May 1979,
• Minister for Planning May 1973-Mar 1976, Aug 1978-May 1979,
• Attorney-General Mar-May 1976,
• Minister for Fed. Affairs Mar 1976-Aug 1978,
• Minister of Education May 1979-Apr 1982.
He was Leader of the Legislative Council in Government between 1978 and 1982.
He was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1992.
He was married twice. He is survived by his partner Leila Haywood, five sons and 10 grandchildren.