Robert ‘Bob’ Waterer, who found at the age of 81 that he was of Aboriginal descent, has died at the age of 92, at Collaroy on Sydney’s northern beaches.
In the last years of his life he became ‘Uncle Bob’ beloved by his wide family and revered by school children and adults he greeted with his characteristic smiling face and friendly manner.
Bob was able to trace his ancestry back through his great-grandmother Catherine Bens (1838-1920), often called the ‘Queen of Scotland Island’, to Sarah Lewis who lived at Marramarra Creek, a tributary of the Hawkesbury River, and a member of the Broken Bay clan led by the famous Indigenous personality Bungaree.
Biddy is reputed to have been the sister of Bungaree’s eldest son Bowen or Boin and therefore a daughter of Bungaree.
Bob spent those first 81 years in Brookvale near my childhood home at Dee Why where he worked for many years as a baker. At the age of 18 Bob enlisted in the Australian Army at the outbreak of World War Two and became a gunner, serving in Balikpapan, Borneo.
Bob’s life and the history of his relatives and antecedents were captured in The story of Bob Waterer and his family, edited by Nan Bosler and published by the Aboriginal Support Group in 2011, to which I contributed an article about Bungaree.
Vale Bob Waterer.
Keith Vincent Smith