Canberra remembers 'gentle but great' Courtenay
Canberra is mourning the death of one of its most famous citizens, internationally famous author Bryce Courtenay who succumbed to stomach cancer late on Thursday, aged 79 years.
The city's politicians and sporting figures were quick to pay tribute to Mr Courtenay on Friday, praising the novelist's literary achievements as well as his contribution to the life of the capital.
ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher praised Mr Courtenay's efforts on behalf of the city he had made his home.
Author Bryce Courtenay, speaking at ANU in February. Photo: Stuart Walmsley
"Bryce Courtenay was a gentle but great man, who was not only an exceptional novelist and Australian, but also a great friend and supporter of Canberra," the Chief Minister said.
"A significant contributor to our community, Mr Courtenay was a keynote speaker at the ACTs first Older Persons Assembly, was an ACT Australia Day Ambassador 2012, as well as taking an active role in promoting our city for its upcoming centenary year.
"Mr Courtenay will be fondly remembered for his extraordinary contribution to Australia's and indeed the world's literary landscape."
Courtenay at home with his beloved pets earlier this year. Photo: Kate Leith
ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja described the South African-born Mr Courtenay as a "great Canberran".
"Many may not know that Bryce Courtenay chose to live in Canberra for his last years, as well as being a great Australian he was a great Canberran," Mr Seselja said.
"Bryce has been an instrumental part of the Canberra community, and was a valued contributor to the Older Person's Assembly in September 2011.
"On a personal level, 'The Power of One' and 'Tandia' were among my favourite novels."
ACT Brumbies coach Jake White, a fellow South African, said Mr Courtenay had a "great innings."
"He had a great innings," Mr White said.
"To be fair I knew of him and he knew of me because he was in Australia and I was the national coach of South Africa.
"He always asked questions through mates of mine.
"He was always kind enough to give me a book and would sign them for me all the time.
"That was really kind of him and that showed what type of guy he was.
"He gave me one yesterday, the new one and it landed on my desk.
"It means a massive amount because they're personalised to me and I'm very grateful."