Voice of cycling - Keith Dunstan remembered

Keith Dunstan, droll master of words and voice of Melbourne cycling, the Don Bradman of Australian newspaper columnists has died, aged 88.




The Age’s Lawrence Money reports in The Age:  
In the 1960’s he was one of this city’s pioneering ride to work devotees. In 1967, he started the Anti-Football League, which, although it failed to suppress football, ran for 30 years. In 1972, he was founding president of Bicycle Victoria which has grown dramatically and is today called the Bicycle Network. He and wife Marie rode bicycles across the US in 1976. He has written 30 books, including The Paddock That Grew, Knockers, and No Brains At All and he was a regular contributor to the Bike Paths guides in the 1990’s.

Keith Dunstan according to Dunstan: "Born in East Malvern in 1925 and started at Wadhurst, junior school of Melbourne Grammar, in 1932. A worried parent then decided to change course and put him in boarding school, Geelong Grammar.

He served with the RAAF during World War II in Morotai and North Borneo. He was one of the RAAF’s least successful pilots. In 1946 he started with the Sun News-Pictorial and worked as a correspondent in New York, London and Los Angeles. He had a long career as a columnist working with the Courier Mail, the Sun News-Pictorial, The Age and The Bulletin.

Through his column APITS, Dunstan became the voice of Melbourne, casting a laconic eye on the Yarra village’s feats and foibles. It was an irony that did not escape him when the Victorian Football League went national and pinched the acronym of his own counter-movement AFL. In 1992 he was crowned King of Moomba and in 2003 he was inducted into the Melbourne Cricket Club Media Hall of Fame, and he was awarded an Order of Australia medal in 2002.

Perhaps the best measure of his giant status as a Melbourne columnist was apparent several months after he finally departed the Herald Sun. Successor Wayne Gregson, bravely filling those giant shoes, was sitting at the APITS desk in the old Herald building when a school group toured through. “Over there,” said the commissionaire, “is the reporters area. And over there, the sub-editors who check the copy. And in here,” said the commissionnaire, gesturing towards columnist Gregson at his computer terminal, “this is where Keith Dunstan used to sit.”

Keith Dunstan is survived by wife Marie, four children and 13 grandchildren. The team at the BikePaths and RailTrail guide salute Keith’s many fine contributions to cycling that has  helped grow this city’s now famous bike paths and culture.

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