Sir Roden Cutler

 

VC AK KCMG KCVO CBE
Governor of New South Wales

Sir Roden Cutler was accorded a State Funeral on Thursday 28th February, 2002.

The State's 32nd Governor, Sir Roden was also the State's longest serving, commencing duties on 20th January 1966 and retiring after 15 years service on 19th January 1981, a period of rapid development for the State and one of great social change.

Sir Roden was born on 24th May 1916, and grew up in the pleasant Sydney Harbour suburb of Manly. He attended Sydney Boys High and later read for an Economics Degree at Sydney University, where in 1936, joined the Sydney University Regiment.

In April 1940, he transferred from the citizen's militia to the 2nd A.I.F. (Australian Imperial Force), receiving a commission in the 2/5 Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, 7th Division A.I.F.. Following actions by the Australians to secure Merdjayoun, Syria, in June 1941, NX12378, Lieut. Arthur Roden Cutler was cited for a Victoria Cross in the Second Supplement to the London Gazette of Tuesday, the 24th November, 1941. [State Library NSW - DQ342.42/2]

Raked by enemy machine gun fire during the last of his courageous actions which took place at Damour on the 6th July, Sir Roden lay seriously wounded for some 26 hours before rescue by comrades; by which time a leg had become septic necessitating an amputation.

The official investiture took place on 11th June 1942, the Victoria Cross being presented to him by the Governor General of Australia, Lord Gowrie, a fellow VC recipient who won his medal for action at Gedarif, Sudan, on 22 September 1898.

At wars end, and following much good work on the home front for his fellow service comrades, Sir Roden embarked upon a diplomatic career, serving as an Australian High Commissioner and at other times as a UN Representative:

  • High Commissioner for Australia to New Zealand 1946-52
  • High Commissioner for Australia to Ceylon 1952-55
  • Australian Minister to Egypt 1955-56
  • Secretary-General, Seato Conference 1957
  • Australian High Commissioner to Pakistan 1959-61
  • Australian Representative to Independence of Somali Republic 1960
  • Australian Consul-General, New York 1961-65
  • Ambassador to the Netherlands 1965

Sir Roden served on a number of company boards, Government bodies, and gave great service to numerous community organisations, including a term as State Secretary of the RSL.

As Governor of New South Wales, Sir Roden and Lady Cutler were held in the highest regard. Those who remember his time as State Governor speak of their initial impressions of a dignified, handsome man, towering above those previously thought of as tall. They also recall an abiding warmth, acute sense of humour, and of an ability to mix and make at ease a diverse range of individuals.

On a dull, overcast day, on Thursday 28th February 2002, dense crowds lined Sydney's George Street. Some had met him in person, others had seen him at functions, on television or officiating at the opening of parliament; all had come to pay their final respects to this truly great Australian with whom they felt a warm connection and sense of shared pride.

Key Documents Associated with the State Funeral accorded Sir Roden Cutler: