ROBERT JAMES (BOB) BROWN AM: 1933-2022 Former Cessnock mayor and MP Bob Brown has been remembered as a distinguished parliamentarian, a respected teacher and a beloved family man. Mr Brown - who served in local, state and federal politics over a 30-year period - was farewelled at a service at St Paul's Anglican Church, Kurri Kurri on Wednesday, a week after his death at the age of 88. Mr Brown was elected as an alderman to Cessnock Council in 1968, serving as mayor for his first two years on council and again from 1974 to 1980. He was also the state member for Cessnock from 1978 to 1980, when he resigned to run for the federal seat of Hunter, which he won. Four years later he contested and won the newly-formed seat of Charlton, a position he held until his retirement in 1998. As part of the Hawke and Keating Labor governments he served as Minister for Land Transport from 1988 to 1993. Born and raised in Pelaw Main, Mr Brown won a scholarship to study at the University of Sydney, where he completed his Bachelor of Economics in 1954, and his Diploma of Education the following year. Mr Brown's first teaching post was at Broken Hill High School (where he met his future wife, Joy Hirschausen), and after stints at Raymond Terrace and Deniliquin, he returned to his hometown in 1966 and took up a position as the social sciences master at Kurri Kurri High School. He went onto become deputy principal, resigning from the role in 1978 to contest the state election. During his time at Kurri High, Mr Brown founded the Sir Edgeworth David Memorial Museum at the school as a way to preserve the region's heritage. The museum relocated to Abermain in 2021, and Mr Brown attended its official reopening in February this year, when it was revealed the museum room has been named in his honour. Mr Brown wrote a number of economics textbooks - including some co-authored by his wife Joy - and in 2007 published Governing Australia, a three-volume series about the first 100 years of Australia's federal parliament. He also served as president of Kurri Kurri Lions Club and Kurri Kurri Rugby League Football Club. He was named as a Member of the Order of Australia on the Queen's Birthday honours list in 2007, for his service to the Australian Parliament, particularly in the area of transport policy; to the community of the Hunter Region through local government, heritage and sporting organisations, and to economics education. Mr Brown's son Brad, who gave the eulogy, said his father was proud of his working-class background. "He always related to the working class, identified with it, and defended it and the trade union movement," he said. "To have represented coal miners and their families at three levels of government was a source of great satisfaction to him." Throughout his busy working life and into retirement, he always had time for his family. Mr Brown's daughter Kelly Hoare (who succeeded him in the seat of Charlton) said her parents were a great team. "They always supported us - they always had time for us, no matter where we were," she said at the funeral service. Kurri Kurri is now located in the seat of Paterson, and its current MP Meryl Swanson said Mr Brown was a great inspiration to her. She fondly recalled Mr Brown's speeches at the high school's Benefactors Day, saying he was a "phenomenal orator". "I was always totally transported when he spoke at school. I remember listening to him thinking that he's so inspirational, one day I would like to do something like he's doing, for my community," Ms Swanson said. "He and Joy gave so much more than will ever be able to be described in this ceremony today. "I am personally grateful for the light on the hill that he was to me, and to our community. He proudly represented this area, he loved it and everyone that lived here." Mr Brown is predeceased by his wife Joy (who died in May 2021), and survived by children Brad and Kelly, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.