Prolific historian, former urban geographer and nature's gentleman Alan Foskett has died.
A man who appreciated and documented the details of everyday life in the emerging national capital, Mr Foskett was 93.
He leaves an incredible legacy of 44 publications dedicated to Canberra's urban and social history, covering everything from life in the public service hostels to the region's cricket pioneers to its suburbs and public schools.
Mr Foskett died on January 9, at Calvary Public Hospital, his 45th work, Memories of Early Canberra - Stories and Images of Life in Canberra in the Early Days, not yet finished.
"He never learned to use a computer, all his research was done through oral histories," his daughter Jane said.
Mr Foskett was born and educated in Sydney. He was a lifelong asthmatic and spent a year in the country air of Orange as a child to help with the attacks. Mr Foskett moved to Canberra in 1950, living for the first two years at the Reid House hostel.
He came to Canberra to work in the Ministry of National Development on projects such as the Atlas of Australian Resources and the Commonwealth State Housing Agreement.
During his 38 years in the public service, he held positions including urban geographer with the National Capital Development Commission, director of ACT Further Education and secretary to the Capital Territory Health Commission.
Mr Foskett's wife of 63 years, May, died in 2015. They had four children, Anne, Ian, Linda and Jane. A nurse who worked at Canberra Hospital for 20 years, Mrs Foskett later became a long-time teacher's assistant and "on-site nurse" at Ainslie Primary School and the Hartley Street Centre at Turner Primary School.
The family home from 1962 was in Campbell, fittingly in the shadow of the Australian War Memorial, another Canberra institution dedicated to history.
"He was a gentle man," daughter Jane said.
"He had a good sense of humour. We were always joking. He was just a very caring and compassionate person."
Mr Foskett later ran his own consultancy and tutored at the University of Canberra before retiring from business and academic life in 1999.
The spare time only served to feed his "addiction to writing".
He wanted to capture local history and "the stories of people who created this history".
His many honours ranged from an Order of Australia Medal to Australian of the Year nomination to Heritage Minister's Living Treasure award.
His contribution to Canberra is also recognised on the ACT Honour Walk in Ainslie Place in Civic.
Mr Foskett was laid to rest on Wednesday in a natural burial at Gungahlin cemetery, in a paddock, under a tree.
A no-fuss end to a quiet but very productive life.
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