|Sir Hubert Opperman - 'Oppie'|
Sir Hubert Opperman, "Oppie" was born in Rochester, Victoria in 1904.|
His early job as a telegraph delivery boy encouraged him to pursue cycling and in the 1920s and 30s he became the dominant figure in Australian cycling, first winning the Australian Road Cycling Championship in 1924. He also won the event in 1926, 27 and 29 while also earning respect overseas racing in international events.
In 1928 he won the prestigious Bol D'or in Paris and in the same year placed well in the Tour de France. In 1931 he won the Paris - Brest - Paris 1265km. road race, and in the same year was voted Sportsman of the Year by a Paris newspaper.
He retired from racing in 1940 and celebrated his retirement in a 24 hour marathon in Sydney at which he broke 101 records.
In 1991 he also attended the centenary celebrations of the Paris Brest race and received the Gold Medal of the City of Paris.
He served in the RAAF during the war and entered federal politics as the Liberal member for Corio from 1949 until 1967 during which time he served as Minister for Immigration and Minister for Shipping and Transport.
He was then appointed Australia High Commisioner to Malta in 1967. He received an O.B.E. in 1952 and was knighted in 1968.
Rochester is a small town between Bendigo and Echuca. This statue which will be found in a small park beside the highway was modelled on his victory in the Bol D'or and was officially unveiled by Sir Hubert in 1994.
|© Copyright Peter W. Wilkins|