THE man known Australia-wide as Mr Albury-Wodonga, Gordon Craig AM OBE, died on Thursday after a short battle with cancer.
Mr Craig, who turned 80 two weeks ago, was full-time chairman of the Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation from 1974 to 1989.
In that role he had the most decisive influence of any individual on the development of the National Growth Centre planned jointly by federal and state governments.
After retiring from the corporation, he continued a deep involvement in professional, public service, Rotary and other community organisations locally and statewide in NSW.
His wife of 55 years, Heather Craig, said yesterday that Mr Craig had been sick only four weeks before he died at Albury hospital.
Mr Craig helped start the Albury-Wodonga Cancer Foundation and served on its board until 2008, including a period as chairman.
Gordon Frederick Craig was born at Hillston and attended Canterbury Boys High School and Sydney Technical College, starting a career as a local government engineer and planner in 1948.
He was chief engineer of Shoalhaven shire when Gough Whitlam’s federal decentralisation minister, Tom Uren, appointed him to head the Albury-Wodonga project, initially charged with creating a city of 300,000, a target later halved.
More than 24,000 hectares was acquired and $139 million invested over the next 16 years.
Mr Craig pursued the project’s aims through many turns of government policy until a ministerial decision on June 8, 1989 saw him retire unexpectedly in a move seen by many as the abandonment of federal support for the concept.
By then the corporation had built several hundred rental houses, sold thousands of new home blocks, created industrial estates, attracted new employment and planted millions of trees.
As a former president of the NSW Local Government Engineers Association, Mr Craig was the ideal choice to chair the new Kiewa Murray Water Authority in 1994.
Mr Craig leaves his wife, three children and six grandchildren.
A funeral date will be announced next week.
Editorial — page 36