12 Campbell Street, Castlemaine
195 High Street, Kangaroo Flat (Bendigo)
Robert passed away peacefully, at Bentley’s Aged Care in Bendigo,
on 23rd October 2020, aged 76 years.
Husband of Murene, father of William (dec) and Ella, brother of Lee.
An Honorary Member of the Victorian Fly-Fisher’s Association, Bob’s probably busy polaroiding a trout.
A private funeral has been held.
We only met once when Murene came to visit England a few years ago. We sat over traditional ‘Yorkshire Fayre’ having a drink (I’m sure you had a red wine!) and reliving memories and laughing a lot. A beautiful memory of a kind gentleman. Rest In Peace.
Josie and Alan Watson xxx
È stato un vero piacere conoscerti quando sei venuto in italia, resterai sempre nei cuori di chi ti ha conosciuto
It was a real pleasure to meet you when you came to Italy, you will always remain in the hearts of those who knew you.
Robert I will always miss you….Rest in peace.
Robert will miss your dry sense of humour and your old fashion appreciation of your friends.
Always taking that extra step to say thank you with a phone call or a note left at our front door.
Will miss you RIP.
– Rosa and Cesar Pardo
Deepest condolences Murene and Ella. I did not know Robert personally but from the stories Murene would tell he was a funny, caring and loving husband and father. The strength, courage and resilience Robert showed over the past 12 months is a credit to the man he was. Cherish the memories you have.
May he rest in peace.
Love Cindy Maddern and Family.
My thoughts are with you at this sad time Murene and Ella. Glad to see you have wonderful photographic memories to help keep Robert close in heart and mind, and to recall happy moments.
Carla Daly xx
Murene, Rog and I were sorry to hear of Roberts passing. We were so glad Ella could get back and hope the flowers lifted your spirits for a little while.
– Beryl and Rog
Thinking of you all on the passing of Robert, my heart goes to Murene and Ella, sending my condolences sympathy to u all. just remember Robert will be in Your❤️for ever, another beautiful angel,
Robert was a unique man who walked gently on the planet. His spirit continues on in Ella and Murene.
Good bye Robert.
– Bryan and Tricia
A talented craftsman, lover of fine food & wine, teller of many a tall tale. An absolute gentleman with a great appreciation of the finer things in life.
Condolences to Murene, Ella and extended family. David and Lyn Stuchbery
For Murene and Ella – Good neighbours are always a bonus wherever you live and it is sad when you lose a fighter like Rob.
– Ian and Lillian
We were very saddened to hear that Robert had passed away. He was a true gentleman and will be missed by many.
Sincere condolences to Murene and Ella.
Dennis and Peta Allan.
Dear Miss Cassai, thinking of you at this sad time. My love to you and Ella. Sending you a virtual hug. My thoughts and prayers are with you and to your families.
Hugs, Angela Morrissey
Our deepest condolences to Murene and Ella on the sad loss of your loving, gentle husband and father.
Graeme and Jill Balaam.
Master fly fisher
Master wine fancier
Master of sports knowledge
Paul and Heather Straughen
Fond memories of 4 decades – many long dinners (with a bit of red wine), lots of fishy tales and a lovely pair of bookcases as a daily reminder of Robert’s carpentry skills.
– Mary Rogers
I was fortunate to meet a young Rob back in the early 1960’s when he was working at J M Turville a fly-fishing tackle shop in North Melbourne, he was then just a budding new fly fisher like myself. It was an instant friendship and we had many discussions on trouting and fly-fishing maters, he introduced me to the new ‘Knobby Hopper’ a new grasshopper pattern that was very effective at that time. He was a member of the VFFA and so was I. He spent a great deal of his fishing time on the Goulburn River with Jimmy Allen and he was always saying how clear the Goulburn river ran. Of course, I was a frequent visitor and spender at Turvilles and Rob sold me heaps of gear. We met occasionally at ‘The Red Tag’ casting pool where Rob would be trying out some new gear. Unfortunately, I was sent to Bendigo by the Education Department and lost contact with Rob until we met up at Barkers Creek reservoir some years later and Rob informed me, he had moved to Bendigo and was living at Spring Gully. We met quite often and fished Barkers, Big Mouth Creek, Newlyn and many other places together, one of the non-fishing highlights was Robs 60TH birthday party held at his home in Spring Gully, many friends from Melbourne including Jimmy Allen, Marty Rodgers, Greg Kelly, John Haythorne were in attendance. It was a great day and Rob was thrilled to celebrate the occasion.
One afternoon I was Skyping Mick Hall at Eildon when he introduced me to a friend named Andy Zarro, Andy mentioned that he had a fishing friend Rob Roles that lived in Bendigo and that they met up at Corryong every New Year and often fished the Swampy Plains River together with Alan Bond a neighbour of mine from Melbourne who was living in Corryong. Now, the four of us fished together quite often around Corryong and when Alan Bond was down in Melbourne we together fished at Hepburn, Newlyn, Dean and the creeks, these were great occasions with Rob, a master chief acting as host and providing wonderful barbeque meals that Andy said were to die for, the best of meats and all the trimmings and of course a bottle of Rob’s red to wash it all down. Rob was an excellent fly fisher, a great caster, the fastest I’ve ever seen and he could sit on a trout for hours before he made his move, he was dynamic on the Grub feeders at ‘Grub City’ an area on the Swampy that Rob had named when the ‘Willow Grubs’ were prolific, he was a master of the Bow and Arrow cast and he really just loved that sight trouting, “He was a trout tragic.”
I will certainly miss the wonderful times and friendship we had together.
Roger Booth – Oct. 2020
Robert was born in Leeton NSW in 1944, in the proximity of our mother Josie’s birth place. Josie married William Roles and in 1945 when Robert was 8 months old, William died. Our mother remarried my father, Ken Brazel in 1950, and I came along, 12 years younger than Robert.
This family unit had a lot of baggage, and it turns out I got to know Robert as an adult, rather than as a child because Robert wasn’t there.
Over the years when we’d talk about that family baggage, Robert would simply say he’d moved on.
My father Ken was unwell most of last year and died in November 2019. Robert and my father were not in contact, but during a visit to father in hospital, there was a lonely get well card above his bed. It was from Robert. I saw this was significant in attitude, showing acceptance and forgiveness.
I lately asked Robert about the highlights of his life, thinking fishing, golf? He said meeting Murene, and expressed his gratitude that she hadn’t abandoned him. He acknowledged he wasn’t easy.
Robert taught me humility, and it’s a feather I hope to take from his cap. I would like to thank Murene for her love and dedication to my brother.
Finally, bro, my son Kieran who lives in Brisbane and the Leeton/Wagga Wagga clan of cousins are sorry they can’t be here to say goodbye.
– Lee Hunter
My condolences to Murene and Ella on the passing of Robert. A man of many words, or a man of few!
Depending upon what was occupying his great mind at the time.
His quick wit and dry sense of humour had me pause to think before I ‘got it’.
Forever at your favourite fishing hole.
– Robyn Cunnington
I met Bob through fly fishing and the Victorian Fly Fishers Association.
We became mates, but only after I proved myself. Bob had to be convinced that I had genuine enthusiasm and genuine passion for fly fishing.
From that point on Bob was extremely generous with his amazing knowledge of our shared passion.
Since 2015 we travelled to New Zealand, Tasmania, New South Wales and of course locally, the Goulburn and Big Mouth Creek.
A lot of the enjoyment was in the planning and we fished, shared red wine, conversation and laughs.
I wish I had met Bob much earlier.
Rest In Peace Bob and in another place I will see you around the next bend of the stream.
– Dermot O’Brien
Dear Murene and Ella, we have fond memories of Rob’s passion for cooking, fine wine, fishing and family. Our thoughts are with you.
Graeme and Hazel Roberts
Robert Roles had already developed a steely determination and a reluctance to compromise when I met him in the early sixties. He worked at Turvilles anglers tackle shop in Nth. Melbourne then and as I was working in Nth Melb. at the time and had taken an interest in fly fishing in was inevitable that we should meet. He was of great assistance to me and I would call in to the shop, usually on a Friday after work to purchase a few flies and obtain some advice from my young ‘Guru’ which I would take with me and my wife and baby daughter to Daylesford for the weekend and apply both to my new angling passion, fly fishing. He was a patient and thorough instructor and we became friends, sometimes meeting at the snooker parlour he often frequented after work on Thursdays, pay day. He seemed to have some difficulties with his stepfather so did not live at ‘home’ and due to the time he’d spent with the coloured balls had become a very skilful player, he had at one stage lived adjacent to a golf course and become a highly proficient golfer as well. Fly fishing however became his overriding passion and he went fishing with whoever he could get a lift with after work Saturday middays, Alf Darby, Jim Allen or me were regulars. We fished Central Victorian lakes and later came to terrorise the trout of the Goulburn, especially around the ‘Breakaway’ area and used to camp there many weekends, I learned a lot from Robert waist deep in the cold and crystal waters of the Goulburn. Then we heard of the Eucembene so overloaded Volkswagens made their way to Kiandra and Adaminaby, later to Cooma and Nimmitabel to fish the McLaughlin and Bobundarra, the Kydra and Kybean. Then we ‘discovered’ Tasmania so a regular annual trip was instituted and we all had our triumphs and challenges on those often bleak highland lakes and tarns. Wherever we went Roles excelled at the angling, patient and thoughtful, physically tough and persistent, absolutely dedicated to the pursuit of the Salmo Trutta. Recent years saw him and wife Murene with daughter Ella camped around the Corrying area for their annual holiday where he noted the waters becoming warmer over the extended hot and dry weather period we’ve observed. So there’ll be no more glasses of wine or gourmet meals around the campfire with Roles for me, Rod Whiteway and many others, no colourful recollections of a life which always embraced the pursuit and the love of trout, and we shall be the poorer for it; R.I.P. Robert Roles. brother angler.
– Graeme Leith
Vale – To My Friend, Bob Roles
I met Bob 15 years ago at Corryong Vic in a coffee shop aptly named “Legends”. How appropriate, as amongst fly fishermen Bob is a legend. It was the start of a great friendship and mateship.
We had many long, informative, piscatorial discussions together. One such phone discussion lasted eleven hours, much to Murene’s chagrin.
Bob had a natural gift as a cook. He could make a simple meal into something to die for, even though you may had to wait until midnight or 1am to be eventually served dinner. And on our many trips away we had a great arrangement. Bob would cook and I would clean and wash up while Bob savoured a Cab Sav or Shiraz. As I said, a mutual, beneficial arrangement.
When it came to fly fishing and camping, Bob was meticulous. This attention to detail was demonstrated in March 2018. Bob invited Roger Booth, Dermot O’Brien and I to camp with him on his beloved Bobundara Creek. Bob organised the entire trip and it was a huge success in terms of organising logistics, culinary delights and mateship even though the fish were few and far on that trip. My memory says we caught about 14 fish between 4 fly fishermen. To make our trip more enjoyable and demystify the Bobundara Creek, Bob did a detailed mud map of the stream with names for the many pools, such as Beehive Pool and Olympic Pool. The mud map is accurate and remains one of my most treasured fishing paraphernalia.
I am glad I met Bob and I am grateful that I got to share my time with him fly fishing, camping and just raconteuring around the campfire or our many discussions on the phone. Life long memories that are dearly cherished by me.
Bob, I will miss you.
Your friend and
Brother Of The Fly
I recollect meeting Robert on rare occasions, the last being when he visited his caring sister Lee. She treated him with heartfelt warmth and attention. Lee has always spoken with such feeling, expressing an abiding love for her brother, Murene and his family.
This gentleman will obviously be missed by many.
May he RIP as special and happy memories of him live on.
– Karen Innes
I think of Robert as kind and respectful, with a cheeky sense of humour and a smile that reminds me of his mother, Josie. He did indeed step lightly on this earth, grateful for the things of beauty that came his way. I saw the deep, mutual love & respect between Robert and his sister Lee, my dearest friend of over five decades. I know she will miss you Robert, but you will always remain in her heart and thoughts. Sincerest condolences to Lee, Murene and Ella and families. Robert, may you rest in peace.
Love, Lyn Dennerstein
As you go through life, you are from time to time, fortunate enough to have a person of the quality of Bob Roles come into your sphere of being. All my life there has been a Roles in it. He has been there from the time of the little white Datsun Ute, Shannon the dog, the not so subtle tuition on the use of quality tools to produce quality finished work. It is with great sadness I learned of your passing Bob and regret I didn’t get to have that one last fish with you. You will forever remain in my thought and heart, and be remembered as the amazing, exocentrically individual and truly wonderful person you were.
Love and best wishes to Merene and Ella and RIP Sosso!
– Sebastian Leith
Although I have not had the pleasure of meeting Robert in person, I send heartfelt condolences to my good friend Lee and Murene and Ella.
Always in your hearts
My condolences to Murene and Ella on the passing of Bob Roles. He was certainly an interesting character – I remember listening in on plenty of highly intellectual conversations about his and John Philbrick’s fishing activities until late into the night. No doubt they are again discussing their many fishing experiences. You will have some wonderful memories Murene.
– Christine Philbrick
Murene and Ella, please accept our condolences. We are thinking of you at this sad time. Treasure the memories you have. Sue & Doug.
Bob my mate – my cousin – We shared a dog (Pluto) We shared a house with Wick and Nan – our mothers scrimped and saved to buy a block of land and build a house virtually side by side – We went to primary school together, and that’s were the rivalry started. Bob had to be better than me and I had to be better than Bob. We made our own shanghai’s – bow and arrows – billy carts, we had our own scoots and bikes, God knows how we didn’t kill each other. We didn’t get a chance to go through our late teens together I am proud to call my mate – but I have always thought of you as my Brother.
– Kevin Playfair
Our hearts go out to Murene and Ella on loss of your beloved Robert. May precious memories remain with you forever. Sincere condolences.
Bill and Maree Wallace
Murene and Ella so sad for your loss. We met Robert for the first time a few years ago on your road trip round Europe stopping off to catch up with Glasgow side of family. It was a pleasure to spend time with you both and enjoyed a few great family nights and day trips. Robert you were fun to be with easy to get on with and a true gentleman, it is sad that we won’t get the opportunity to meet up again. Rest in peace.
– Angela Dunn
In memory of Robert William Roles (Bob)
Deepest sympathy and condolences to Murene, Ella and Lee
Bob and I became good friends through Turvilles and our meetings when camping at the Breakaway in the early ’60s. Bob was the ‘guru’ amongst many well known luminaries – George Halla, Jim Allen – and many keen anglers now deceased – Tony Johns, ‘BG’ (Brian Gordon), Tom Edwards, Keith Pritchard, John Philbrick – and very good friends of today – Rodney Whiteway, Jean Jacques, Arthur Ford and Andy Zarro. Many a good night was spent, after weekends spent on the Goulburn, when we adjourned to the ‘Igloo’ roadhouse in Buxton on a Sunday night for good wine and steaks. Jim Allen and Bob formed a partnership for their own tackle shop in Victoria St, North Melbourne, then in Spring St, and finally McKillop St, city centre. Roles and Allen became a name with their own branded products.
Bob was also not widely known for his prowess as a keen luderick fisherman learnt in Sydney fishing on the rocks. He taught me and others on annual Queen’s birthday trips to Lakes Entrance how to fish with weed and to make burley.
Bob had many adventures outside of his fly fishing. He stowed away in a cabin of a truck being transported to Western Australia on the railway. He lived in Kalgoorlie and worked in Kambalda mines. He moved to South Australia to work in the vineyards and bought his first car, a mini moke. Then he graduated to a Datsun ute which was his favourite fishing transport. He then moved to Bendigo where he lived in a unit. He became displaced and he then met up with Murene, a former acquaintance, with a tap on the window as I recall. That was the beginning of a loving relationship with his wife and a beautiful daughter in Ella. They were married at Seville with Graham Leith his best man.
A camp oven chef with a variety of meals and red wine to savour! A very close family friend, handyman extraordinaire with many projects completed. His favourite saying being “the job takes as long as it takes, no pressure”. Bob was meticulous in everything he did. He did carpentry and handyman chores. “Do it once and do it right” was his motto. He was very close with my two girls from a young age and he also knew my wife Heather from when she was only 16 at the Breakaway, as did I.
Never forgotten. Rest in peace and join the brothers of the angle to continue your legacy in peace on heavenly streams.
Wally, Heather, Tanya and Sally-Anne Brandtmann
Dear Murene + Ella, so sorry to hear of Roberts passing. I enjoyed bruschetta, veal scalopini & a glass of wine @ Borchelli’s today as I knew that was a popular eating place for you. RIP
Karen De Forest (nurse @ Bentley’s)
Dear Murene and Ella, our deepest sympathy to you both on the passing of your lovely husband and father. May your many memories & photos give you comfort at this sad time. Our thoughts are with you.
– Deborah and Ian Blake
To my Bobbie…
We met in August 1983, at a dinner with Leonie (your first girl-friend) and Betty. You came back to my house after dinner, but you were more interested in my house guest, Helene. You returned in September 1984 and moved in on 8 December that year.
You introduced me to camping (not in civilised caravan parks, but in bushland) and the joys of campfire cooking, drop toilets and bucket showers. Sorry, I never took to the fishing or the wine-drinking!
You re-built the old kitchen at our house, from the stumps up. You renovated my dining room, where we held many long dinners with our wide circle of friends. Much bull-sh*t (mostly fly-fishing tales) and wine flowed.
We got married in 1989, at Seville. The smoked trout you provided are still talked about with admiration!
You joined the big Cassai/Anastasi clan, and they took you in happily. We always said you had an Italian soul – your love of food and wine were evidence of that. ‘Helping’ Suzie cook was always an interesting show to watch.
You introduced me to your family. Josie welcomed me, as did Lee and all your cousins. I’m sorry we couldn’t spend more time with them – distance made it difficult.
1995 was a sad year, when our son, William, was stillborn. That was our first time arranging a funeral, and you were a great support throughout the whole experience. I’m so happy that we could arrange to join William’s ashes with yours. When we spread those ashes on your favourite streams, I can proudly say that you are finally able to take your little boy fishing.
1997 was another milestone, but for good reasons. Ella Louise! I know how proud you are of her; her love of outdoors, the bush, nature, birds … all come directly from your early input into her life. When I returned to work that year, you took on home-parenting duties, and you did it gladly. Strangers still relate their memories of meeting you on the Spring Gully Creek walking track taking Ella to kinder and primary school. Ella’s looking forward to snaffling your carpentry tools!
Ella and I were very proud of your ability to quit smoking (cold turkey) on New Year’s Eve 1999 – all because a doctor told you that you wouldn’t see Ella grow up if you continued. We gave you a medal 2 years later, and you kept it on display for many years after.
Josie helped us to build the TAJ (TAJosie) in 2014. Your specially designed wine room featured, but I’ve lost the key to the lock! Sorry!
You didn’t travel far from your beloved streams (Bobundra, Swampy Plains and Big Mouth Creek) but fishing in Tasmania and New Zealand were also highlights. You made so many close friends through your fishing; too many to list, but many have been in contact to reminisce about the good old days with ‘Sosso’ (from an old nickname – ‘Sausage Roles’).
Travelling to England, Scotland, Italy and Singapore in 2018 was a challenge for you, but I know you enjoyed it (despite the crowds, the smell and the expense!).
Bobbie – I miss you in the little things – I can see you standing at the stove, creating a meal for me that didn’t include coriander or chilli!
I’m sorry you became so ill, so fast, but I’m glad you are now at rest. Bentleys staff looked after you so well, for which I am grateful.
See you, and be good!
Farewell Uncle Robert,
I hope you are resting well and are spending company with your family.
My fondest memories are of the time at the camping grounds over summer holidays when us kids were young. You taught my brother and I about camping, fishing and secret beautiful locations around NSW & VIC. As we grew older our discussions leaned more towards good wine, good food and a great pair of leather boots. You enjoyed the simple pleasures of life, an attribute I shall reflect on when life seems too complicated.
Rest in Peace Robert, you have a new universe to fish in! Caitlin Xxx
I had not had the opportunity nor the pleasure of meeting Robert.
My condolences to you Murene and Ella. May you draw on special memories to bring smiles to your souls to help you through the sad times.xx
Rest peacefully Robert.
– Gail Daniels
To a very kind-hearted man who we will remember over many years. Thanks for your friendship, the long ago classical music, the dinners, and your beautiful family.
– Chris Corris and Kit
Robert and Murene became important people in our lives, when our daughters, Ella and Robina, became best friends throughout their school years.
Easily lovable, yet sometimes hard to love, Robert shared his passions, perspectives, wisdoms and waffle over many a meal, camping trip, or a bottle of red wine. He cared strongly about family and generously included Robina into his family life.
My favorite memories are of sitting in the never-quite-finished kitchen in Retreat Rd, listening to Robert’s inciteful stories, as he took ever so long to prepare a sumptuous meal. And because he still had more thoughts to share, took ever so long to eat his meal. It was often so late, I would be home in bed long before Robert had finished either his meal or his story.
Robert will be remembered in our family as a quirky man, one who was richly engaged in the world around him, with a lifetime of wisdom to share.
Jenny, Peter, Robina and Stuart
I have very fond memories of long and interesting conversations with Robert about many and varied things, over a glass or two of red wine at Suzie’s fabulous Christmas lunches.
I will always remember camping with Rob, Murene and Ella when the kids were little.
He was the best camp cook I have ever known.
His love of the outdoors now shines through in Ella.
We will miss you Rob.
Alison Cassai x
Dear Murene and Ella,
What a great loss for you both.. and of course to all friends and family. We have so many fond memories of Robert.
He was always so positive whenever we chatted. Robert sure made us feel as if we are important and took time to chat with us all.
Take care, Murene and Ella. Cherish your special memories.
Rita, Gary, Lisa, Kathryn and Sienna (Draper family)
I fear I cannot say much of significance here except that Robert Roles was charming and interesting on every occasion we met. Jenni says, the kindest and most gentle of men. I perhaps would have been happy if it was more often than it was and much of my acquaintance with Robert was the familiar and fond, sometimes off-hand, references Murene would make of him in conversation. Since it was my Jenni and Murene who have been teaching together all these years (is it more than 30?) I would meet Robert, sometimes on the doorstep or in the street and occasionally visiting their home.
I perhaps connected with him because of his love of the river and the hills and the stories of adventure around that. The fishing and stories of Corryong and mysterious magical rivers. And he was a Dad too, to William and Ella. Sometimes we would chat when we were at the volleyball with our kids. That’s about what I remember of Robert. All our love to you Murene and Ella.
From Ian Shelton & Jennifer Carlyle Shelton.
Our Dear Robert,
We are still lost for words. So very sad and you will be dearly missed . We will certainly miss your fishing stories and your cheeky grin. “ RIP Mate, going to miss having a wine with you” -Dale. Murene and Ella are always in our thoughts.
Much love, Angela, Dale Bowles and family xx
When I think of Robert I remember a man who always appeared calm, unrushed and happy to life at his own pace. He was a unique man, comfortable in his own skin and he lived life on his own terms. I will always remember what a valued part of his wedding his dog Ralph was, how it was best for him to have an uninterrupted OJ in the morning and, of course, his love of fishing and red wine. RIP Robert, you have left behind two amazing women who, I’m sure, have the gift of many warm memories.
– Paula Anastasi
I met Bob many many years ago a Colac Colac caravan park Corryong. Met many times on the river and formed a very good friendship. I will mostly miss my fishing trips when at Kyneton , with Bob , Roger and company . Not many fish, but always a great Barbecue cooked by Bob . Great memories.
R.I.P. my friend
Rest in Peace Robert.
My condolences to Murene and Ella for your loss.
May we all take a leaf out of your book and spend some time doing things that we love, a great legacy.
– Kieran Hunter
I don’t think I ever spent enough time in Robert’s company to know him well. A recent road trip to Corryong with Murene and meeting some of Robert’s fishing friends certainly enlightened my understanding of his many attributes and the high regard in which he was, and will continue to be held. Rest In Peace Robert after such a difficult time for you and Murene as well this year. Murene and Ella you have been left with so many wonderful memories, particularly of the many fishing trips and adventures which I am sure you will share with one another for many years to come.
– Anne Colvin
Dearest Murene & Ella,
Deepest condolences on the passing of Robert Roles.
I was lucky enough to meet him a few times and check out his ‘wine stash!’ I also remember that time you hurt your back and you shared a somewhat funny one liner that involved Robert and your then sore back!! It’s still make me laugh and I still tell the story.
Remember you’ve got lots of love and support around you, so please reach out when you get lonely. Don’t kill the plant!
Love and Light, Erin, Al, Hudson and Tully. Xx
Robert Roles. Four decades of wonderful memories. In no particular order: Fine food (always served late). Fine wine. Fine conversation. An outstanding fly fisher. Long and late campfire and dinner table discussions. So many good people. That breakfast ritual – never to be disturbed! So many glorious secluded campsites and trout streams shared. The collection that was all our fabulous dogs over the years. The master craftsman, always a precise and perfect job. That kind and contemplative mind. Nothing ever rushed. It takes as long as it takes! Murene’s infinite patience. Ella’s zest for life. Vale Robert Roles – you will long be remembered with much fondness by so many.
– Jo Haythorne
Robert Roles (Bob)
Bob came into my life early 1972, introduced by John Philbrick for whom my partner Julien had taken a secretarial position with, for extra cash for our planned overseas odessy later in the year. We lived in a two storied Victorian shopfront in North Carlton the vacant front shop area housed a restored 3/4 size Snooker table a magnet for Bob, his skills at, like everything else he chose to engage in, exceptional. Many hours were passed at this table with a glass of cleanskin red accompanying the action.
Bob was practically unbeatable at this game except when perhaps his attention strayed, perhaps from one too many? because he was colour blind and he would occassionly forget to ask which ball he was shooting at. Full advantage was taken of these lapses which were very infrequent!
On this subject Bob was also a very talented Fly Tyer. John Philbrick told a story of how one day he tied a few doz. exquisite Mayfly flies, the pattern called for a brown hackle, John was asked his opinion of suitability of the tie. He replied excellent but why did you choose a red hackle. With this Bob threw the lot in the rubbish although everyone of them would have caught trout, but that was never the standard that Bob worked to they had to be right.
From this meeting through the Autumn, Winter and early Spring hardly a weekend was missed on a journey to the Goulburn river with John Philbrick and Graeme Leith where I observed the art of Fly Fishing taught by Masters in particular Bob.
Bob had what today would be politely referred to as some “challenging” behavioural characteristics. From these though are where Legend status blossums.
Indulge me in detailing just a couple of these situations;
Bob and I decided on a week trip to the MacLachlan river on the Monaro, an 8 to 9 hr trip from Bendigo for Bob similar for me from Melbourne. Bob insisted he would take his tent adequate for the two of us, all food and cooking utensils. My lot was to provide adequate wine and Grinders Coffee
I duly arrived at the reserve on the river late afternoon on the arranged day. By 11pm that night I realized that it would be a dinnerless night slept under the stars, no Bob. It didnt rain, a pretty sure bet on the Monaro thankfully. The following afternoon late I could see a dash to Cooma for some food and another night under the stars when Bob eventually turned up happy and ready to go. It transpired that the previous afternoon he stopped of at Lake Jindabyne and caught up with an old friend Brian Gordon. They chatted a bit, had refreshments and then some more and Bob who was also a great lover of classical music was into cassette tape after tape that Brian always carried with him apparently. In Bob’s words I now quote what then transpired “somewhere between 3 and 4am a new tape had to be put on the car player, in this lull a booming voice called out from the opposite side of the lake ROLL OVER BEETHOVEN” At that point they thought perhaps they should call it a night.
No I won’t tell the story about the day on the Goulburn when Bob decided to play golf with a friend than fish, taking Graemes Volkswagen with all the food in an esky on board. At 10pm we were hungry Graeme driving John Philbricks VW, yours truly in the passenger seat with rifle to ping a rabbit, and at the only spot possible on the Old Thornton backroad a head on collision. No definitely won’t tell that story but stuff of legends.
The stories are endless
Thank you again good friend for the invitation last Nov. with Jean Jacques on your last fishing trip Khankoban which sadly was fishless probably due to water temperatures near the peak of the devastating recent drought and even more devastating serious incapacity to you thought at the time to be an old back injury, if only.
Rest in Peace Bob, there certainly will now be many trout doing so.
– Greg Kelly
I met Bob Roles back in the 1980’s during the so called “glory days” up on the Monaro. I was fortunate to be introduced to flyfishing thru John Philbrick and Greg Kelly via there numerous trips to Tasmania at Christmas time. After enduring a couple of trips with the usual terrible Tassie weather, Greg recommended I join him and a few of his angling mates (Bob, John Haythorne, Jean Jacque, Rod Whiteway, Marty Rogers etc.) for there annual spring and autumn fishing trips to the Monaro. He said the weather would be more stable and the fishing fantastic and it was! Back then the fabled streams of the Monaro were consistently sparkling and and the fishing was superb. As John Sawtelle said it was “Champagne Fly fishing” and I was over the moon. I was just a novice angler back in those days and I owe a huge amount of gratitude to Bob and those guys for introducing me to this great sport. When I was fortunate to spend the day fishing with Bob he was always very kind and incredibly patient and encouraging with me, no matter if you stuffed up the cast or was too quick or slow on the strike. We always had a good chat at the end of the day reviewing the days fishing etc. In the evening we always had a few laughs and good chats about fishing, golf etc. while enjoying some superb meals. I could not have asked for a better angling mentor. With the help of Bob and the others, I managed to catch a few good fish during those amazing trips while camping under the stars near the big willow tree. I was hooked on flyfishing and thanks to Bob I now consider myself one of the “Brothers of the Angle” and it has been one of my passions ever since. Not all Monaro trips had settled weather though and once we endured two weeks of crap weather with a deluge of rain. I remember driving home back to Bendigo with Bob on that trip and we ran out of petrol in the pouring rain close to Miena, but not close enough to coast down the grade into town. Bob got out of the car with his little gas tin in hand and said “Whitney it takes as long as it takes. I’ll be back” I watched him walk off and disappear into the mist and he came back about two hours later. Eventually we made it back to Bendigo, but it became a horror trip of 15 hrs of driving due to massive flooding on the highways with the various dams overflowing and many detours. Unfortunately many of my angling mates listed above have passed away in the last few years, but the memories of the good times we had will live with me forever. I will never forget you Bob. You guys will always be in my prayers and may you rest in peace with tight lines forever. May god bless you and your family. Sincerely, Whitney West “The American Pest”.
– Whitney West
Rob was a calm and kind man, with a tranquil approach to life that was admirable for its opposition to the rat race. I remember him describing a usual morning, taking time to ‘ping the pot’ checking the coffee level. He set aside a serving of his excellent smoked trout for me at a party, which was a kind act and absolutely delicious fish. As a man running the domestic arrangements he was an excellent role model to a succession of exchange students; in particular one man who arrived with a wardrobe of white clothes expecting laundry services to be provided. Rob calmly taught him to use the washing machine.
My love to you, Murene and Ella at this sad time.
– Linda Kirkman
Vale to a great friend, Robert Roles.
I have been lucky enough to know Bob for as long as I can remember, with our respective families connecting every summer at Colac Colac Caravan Park. Bob and my father had already forged a relationship with perhaps the most enduring bonds that can exist between two people – a love of trout fishing and the occasional red wine.
As the years went by I also developed an interest for catching trout on a fly rod, and I started to tune into some of Bob’s legendary ‘outings’ around the Upper Murray. At this time he was as fit as the trout he hunted, and willing to undertake some truly remarkable expeditions in the pursuit of a good day out. I recall that one day that Murene dropped him off at Towong Bridge on the Murray River, with the request to pick him up at Bringenbrong Bridge later that day. As the crow flies this journey is a hint under 6km, but the Murray traverses through the Towong flats like a coiled snake and following these banks may triple the distance. Bob always recalled that he spent his last hour jogging across the paddocks in twilight to find a very distressed Murene waiting at the car!
When I was around 14, Bob extended an offer to take me fishing at the Swampy Plains Anabranch on Bringenbrong Station. I’m not precisely sure why we ‘clicked’ – perhaps it was our shared fascination of trout fishing, or our shared desire to spend entire days out on a stream, or perhaps we just enjoyed one another’s company – but whatever the reason, our relationship blossomed quickly. On reflection, I couldn’t have had a better induction to fly fishing if I’d scripted it. Bob was a patient man, a wealth of information and a wonderful teacher. His knowledge stemmed from being a keen observer, and he freely shared everything he knew about trout behaviour, tackle, climate, flora and fauna. He was truly a lover of the outdoors. For many summers thereafter we would connect to enjoy 7 or 10 consecutive days of fishing together in the Upper Murray.
Bob was not one to be rushed and there was a particular ritual followed each morning. He would rise at around 7am to have a shower and do all the dishes from the night before. Breakfast would be made (often cooked) for his family, with a new set of dishes to be subsequently washed. He would then prepare his streamside lunch – typically a ham or cornbeef sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cheese and mustard on seeded bread – as well as throwing in a juicy pink lady apple procured from the local fruit shop. It would be remiss of me not to add that he was often making my lunch too, which was always gratefully accepted!
At this point it would be around 9:30am and I’d be champing at the bit to get out of the caravan park and start flicking grasshopper flies over a plump feeding trout, but we were not yet done. Bob would then take a few moments to enjoy the morning air, before pensively packing his fishing clothes in the back of the car, and making one last trip to the amenities block to brush his teeth. At last (as far as I was concerned), it was time for us to get into ‘fishing mode’.
This pattern was typical of Bob. At a few separate points in our fishing days I sought to broach this topic, hoping that we could perhaps ‘compress’ this morning process just a little. It never went down well! Bob was not one to be rushed and often uttered the words “It will take as long as it takes”. This approach never resonated with me although I have more recently come around to understand and respect his style. My days spent on the Upper Murray were always entirely about the fishing, whereas Bob had a better balance – enjoying the same fishing but having the presence to take in the other special moments the region offers its visitors. As I said, Bob was always a wonderful teacher.
In the evenings we would return to the caravan park from our long day on the water, and Bob’s hospitable qualities would shine further. Bob was passionate about his food and many of his friends will attest to his mastery on a bbq. His meals of charcoal-cooked meat, potatoes and fresh salad were mouth-watering. It was common for us to talk well into the darkness about shared interests like fishing, golf and the outdoors. On the occasions that he had other guests, he may go a little too heavy on the clarets and we would be taken through one of Bob’s classic Monty Python renditions. His volume (and laughter) would rise he recounted the script, with Murene often needing to intervene from their tent by shouting “Shut up, Robert!”
As the years went by the fishing in the Upper Murray deteriorated, as did Bob’s mobility. Our fishing days together remained long, but the distances walked became much shorter. To his credit, these challenges never stopped him from wanting to hunt a trout. When Bob spotted a fish, he would wait with astounding patience for the right opportunity. I recall one day on our final fishing trip to New Zealand on the Mathoura River, where Bob spotted a healthy brown of perhaps 4lb cruising around under the bridge where we had parked. We presented what felt like the entire tackle box to this sipping trout, and it politely refused every offering. Eventually I made the difficult decision to keep moving upstream to look for an easier chance! Not Bob. After a few hours of fishing upstream I turned back to reconnect with him, and eventually he was found, still under the same bridge, seeking to trick the same fish.
It’s always sad to lose someone you love, but the loss of our mate Bob feels a little tougher to swallow. For so long he has been an integral part of my trout fishing, and my days on the steam have always been richer for his presence. I’m going to dearly miss his beautifully penned letters recounting our summers together and his masterful storytelling. I’ll miss our streamside lunches while he would be teaching me which bird was making that call we could hear in the distance. I’m also going to miss our phone chats following big golf tournaments like the US Masters or Australian Open where we would recount the big moments of the tournament together. But mostly I think I’m just going to miss his company.
Bob – you were a great friend and I’m incredibly grateful to have been able to spend so many years together. RIP mate.
– James O’Reilly
Farewell Bob xx
Our family get togethers may have been few over the years but when we did it was like no time had passed & lots of catching up, reminiscing & wine. I understand you had it tough growing up but that never showed, you always appeared easy going & seemed to not have a care in the world – this may or may not have been the case but you were never any different to me, you were just Bobby. We were to catch up in Jan 20 but your back was giving you too much trouble & then we couldn’t visit when you were ill due to COVID but we will try our best to get to Corryong for your memorial. Rest easy Bob, and happy fishing up there. Love Dianne xxxx