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Remembering Brock: The funeral

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Thursday 26th February, 2015 - 8:55am

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Peter Brock's funeral saw

Peter Brock’s funeral saw St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne bursting at the seams with mourners

Speedcafe.com recounts the stories from the emotional state funeral for the great Peter Brock. This article was first published September 19, 2006.

As the tributes and tears flowed for the most celebrated racing driver in Australia inside a packed St Pauls Cathedral in Melbourne yesterday, a crowd of almost 10,000 jammed Federation Square across the road to watch Brocks State funeral on a giant screen.

At the end of the service which lasted almost two hours, Alexandra led the procession from the altar, her eyes glazed over, sobbing occasionally as she walked down the aisle cradling her dad’s famous helmet.

“He was the most genuine person I’ve ever come across,” Alexandra said in a moving tribute which prompted mourners to break out into spontaneous applause.

“How do you put into words something about a man like him. You just can’t, she said tears running her her cheeks.”

Earlier tributes were delivered by former racing driver, Network 10 commentator Neil Crompton who recounted some of the more light hearted moments in Brock’s professional career that spanned almost 40 years.

Among the mourners were Victorian premier Steve Bracks, the leader of the Federal Opposition Kim Beazley, former opposition leader John Hewson, Melbourne Lord Mayor John So and Federal Sports
Minister Rod Kemp who represented Prime Minister John Howard.

Some of Australia’s leading motor racing identities including motorcycle world champion and V8 Supercar driver Wayne Gardner, Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat, Colin Bond and John Harvey transcended the eras.

From other sports fields were swimmers Matt Welsh and Brooke Hansen as well as former marathon man Steve Moneghetti.

Earlier Collingwood great Peter Daicos spoke of the man he met for the first time in 1983 who was his all-time hero.

One of the common threads to come out of the service was that Brock was a conduit to all people, a man who could give his time to all walks of life.

He was a passionate Collingwood supporter and former board member of the AFL club who embodied everything that Australia stood for honesty, integrity and always striving for perfection.

“He was a great man, a superb athlete and a tremendous visionary,” brother Lewis Brock said.

Lewis led eight speakers at the service in front of Brock’s children Alexandra, Robert and James.

Former partner of 28 years Bev Brock and his new partner Julie Bamford were at the head of the procession which left the cathedral.

It was a perfect service for a man nicknamed Peter Perfect for his racing exploits however his personal life was far from the glossy public image that had been created by careful PR massaging over the years.

Brock’s wayward ways were touched on at the service which included his split from Holden in the late 1980s over his belief in an Energy Polariser that he believed had magical powers of engine performance.

And then there was the time Brock believed that aliens had landed on his property at Hurstbridge on the outskirts of Melbourne.

Old rival Dick Johnson maintained his long held admiration of Brock as being one of the fairest drivers he’s raced against.

A large crowd of fans were the last filter into the cathedral, many wearing Brock clothing, dozens donning Holden gear.

These are resilient people who at various times throughout the service were misty eyed and they were not alone.

Ford fans were also touched by the emotional service.

Brock’s personality reached out a touched millions of Australians through his generosity and genuine human interest.

He did a lot for charity, the environment and the aboriginal people.

Aunty Joy Murphy, an elder with the Wurundjeri People said the legendary driver had a genuine hunger to learn more at the aboriginal culture.

“Our people will always remember him and in death he won’t walk alone,” she said.

Brock left on his final road journey on a hot sunny day in Melbourne, the cortege leaving the Flinders St Cathedral for a private cremation.

His casket was carried to a specially prepared Holden hearse by James, Robert, Neil, Lewis, Philip, David and Alexander Brock and friend Dr Eric Dowker.

The King of the Mountain was a mountain of a man who left a mountain of memories.

Long live the King.

_ The Courier-Mail, Gordon Lomas, September 20, 2006

ALEXANDRA BROCK’S TRIBUTE

Peter Brock’s daughter Alexandra delivered a tearful eulogy yesterday proclaiming her famous father to be the most genuine person she had ever met.

As the tributes and tears flowed for Australia’s most celebrated racing driver in a packed St Paul’s Cathedral in Melbourne, a crowd of almost 10,000 jammed Federation Square across the road to watch Brock’s state funeral on a giant screen.

After the almost two-hour funeral, Alexandra led the procession from the altar, sobbing occasionally as she walked down the aisle cradling her Dad’s famous helmet.

“He was the most genuine person I’ve ever come across,” Alexandra, 23, said in a moving tribute that prompted mourners to break into spontaneous applause.

“How do you put into words something about a man like him. You just can’t,” she said, with tears running down her cheeks.

But she also remembered her father as a “fallible man”.

“He could piss you off, he could rub you the wrong way,” she said.

“But he could also make you feel so special and so happy.”

In an insight into the lives of the family of a public figure, Alexandra would not tell all, preferring to keep details to herself of some of the more cherished times with her father.

“I have shared my Dad with the public my whole life,” she said. “So I’m going to keep those memories now with my brothers.”

Earlier tributes were delivered by former racing driver and Ten Network commentator Neil Crompton, who recounted some of the light-hearted moments in Brock’s professional career, which spanned almost 40 years.

Among the mourners were Victorian Premier Steve Bracks, federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, Melbourne Lord Mayor John So and federal Sports Minister Rod Kemp, who represented Prime Minister John Howard.

Prayers were uttered for the two women to whom Brock was closest – Julie Bamford and his long-time partner Bev Brock, who was described by one mourner as Australia’s “first lady for 25 years”.

The pair followed Brock’s coffin into the brilliant spring afternoon as up to 2000 onlookers applauded Australia’s greatest touring car driver.

Ms Bamford and Mrs Brock also sat in the same front pew, facing the altar, separated by just a few people.

Ms Bamford and Mrs Brock were once friends, but their bond ended when Peter Brock and Ms Bamford became partners.

He had previously been with Mrs Brock for 28 years and they had three children.

Some of Australia’s leading motor racing identities, including Wayne Gardner, Dick Johnson, Allan Moffat, Colin Bond and John Harvey, attended the funeral.

Among the celebrities from other sports were swimmers Matt Welsh and Brooke Hansen, and former marathon champion Steve Moneghetti.

One of the common threads to come out of the service was that Brock – dubbed the The King of the Mountain for his domination of the annual racing classic in Bathurst, NSW – was a conduit to all people, a man who could and would give his time to people from all walks of life.

He was a great man, a superb athlete and a tremendous visionary, brother Lewis Brock said.

Lewis led eight speakers at the service in front of Brock’s children, Alexandra, Robert and James.

It was a perfect service for a man nicknamed Peter Perfect for his racing precision, however his personal life was far from the glossy public image that had been created by careful PR massaging over the years.

Brock’s wayward ways were touched on at the service, including his split from Holden in the late 1980s over his backing for an “energy polariser” that he believed had magical powers of engine performance.

And then there was the time Brock believed that aliens had landed on his property at Hurstbridge on Melbourne’s outskirts.

Long-time racing rival Dick Johnson maintained his long-held admiration of Brock for being one of the fairest drivers he had raced against.

A large crowd of fans were the last to filter into the cathedral, many wearing Brock clothing and dozens donning Holden gear.

Ford fans also turned up for the emotional service.

Throughout his life, Brock reached out to millions of Australians through his generosity.

He did much for charity, the environment and Aborigines.

Aunty Joy Murphy, a tribal elder, said the famous driver had a genuine hunger to learn more about Aboriginal culture.

“Our people will always remember him and in death he won’t walk alone,” she said.

Brock departed on his final journey on a hot sunny day in Melbourne, the cortege leaving the Flinders St cathedral for a private cremation.

His casket was carried to a specially prepared Holden hearse by James, Robert, Neil, Lewis, Philip, David and Alexander Brock, and friend Dr Eric Dowker.

_ The Courier-Mail, Gordon Lomas September 19, 2006

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