Horticulture industry figure and Cobram community legend Philip Pullar OAM has died, aged 73, after a long battle with bladder cancer.By Randall Johnston
Dean Pullar said his father was a great man who did all he could to create opportunities to make a Cobram a better place to live and work.
‘‘He was a community orientated man who spent a lot of time at meetings — whether it was council or the golf club or the hospital, Cobram Development Committee or fruit growers association,’’ he said.
‘‘He was always looking to improve things and would never take no for an answer.
‘‘To him, nothing was impossible. He was proud of what he was doing in the community and we were too.’’
Mr Pullar was Cobram District Health Board chairman for more than 10 years and a member since 1988.
He had been a driving force behind the push for a new Community Rehabilitation Centre at Cobram Hospital and construction has already started at the site, next to the existing dental clinic.
This new centre will allow people recovering from surgery to do so in a purpose-built facility in Cobram, rather than in Shepparton, as is currently the case.
He was passionate about improving the standard of health care available to people in the area — pushing for Cobram to get its own doctors and delivering health services to people in their homes. There were only two doctors based in Cobram in 2000 and now there are 11.
Mr Pullar was born in Cobram on June 6, 1940 and was the eldest son of Philip Robert and May Pullar and grew up on the family orchard.
He went to Cobram State School initially, before attending Scotch College as a boarder and later enrolled in the last intake of national service training at Puckapunyal Army Camp.
He developed an interest in aviation and was the first private pilot to be trained at the Murray Border Flying Club at Tocumwal.
Mr Pullar was also a keen golfer, snow and waterskiier and he loved to travel.
After the army he returned to Cobram to work on the family orchard and later established a large cool store warehousing facility there.
As member of the Cobram Fruit Growers Association, he would fight for better returns for the growers in the region as well as better wages and conditions for employees.
He married his wife Wendy, also a keen skiier, in 1967 and they have two sons, Andrew and Dean, a daughter Louise and seven grandchildren.
He was a member of the Cobram Barooga Golf Club Board from 1976 to 1984 and president from 1983 to 1984.
Mr Pullar was a Cobram Shire councillor from 1976 to 1982 and shire president in 1982.
During this time he worked tirelessly to upgrade sporting facilities and the streetscape in and around Cobram.
He was awarded the Order of Australia Medal on Australia Day 2009 for his dedication and involvement in the fruit industry, the sport of diving — for which Dean won an Olympic gold medal — the health industry and the community of Cobram.
Mr Pullar died on Sunday. His funeral service is at Cobram Uniting Church tomorrow at 1.30
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