June 06, 2009 12:00am
WHAT a life. Professor Chris O'Brien made Australia a much better place to live and by all accounts enjoyed a fine time doing so.
His death at 57 is immeasurably sad but certainly not from any perspective of chances missed or potential unrealised.
Almost until his dying day, Professor O'Brien made the most of his chances and reached the very limits of his potential. His life is essentially a how-to guide for honest and spectacular achievement. It should be a matter of national celebration that Professor O'Brien lived long enough to ensure that his vision of an integrated cancer treatment centre would come true.
The ultimate tribute to his life and work will come in 2012, when the centre is expected to be completed.
People who have never heard of Professor O'Brien - people who may not even have been born yet - will continue to benefit from his decades of hard work.
Meanwhile, those close to Professor O'Brien have lost far more than a master medico. They've lost a husband, a father and a friend - whose wicked sense of humour never left him, even as he battled the disease that would claim his life.
Someone who, when the odds were massively stacked against him, still managed to crack a joke. It doesn't get more Australian than that. Professor Chris O'Brien will be deeply, achingly missed.
Andrew Symonds, Mr Cricket in the wrong time frame.
FOR a player who epitomised the modern game, all-rounder Andrew Symonds possibly belonged in a different era.
The excesses that have seen him sent home from England - and probably ended his international career - would likely have blended in seamlessly in the 1960s and '70s. But we can't choose our time. The tragedy is that the conclusion of Symonds' career will obscure its many spectacular highlights - and also the unconventional beginning of his career.
Adopted in the UK by parents who shortly afterwards migrated to Australia, Symonds actually turned down selection for an English team so that he would qualify to play for Australia.
It was a confident (and patriotic) decision, because Queenslander Symonds was at the time still some years from representing Australia.
When he did eventually win selection, Symonds was a stunning performer - particularly in limited-overs cricket but increasingly so in Tests. We wish him well.
A gifted entertainer, Symonds is owed a debt of joy by anyone lucky enough to have watched him at his peak.
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