Lionel Hunt pays tribute to Bob Bourne

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Bob Bourne, doyen of Melbourne advertising photographers in the 70's and 80's, has passed away at his home in Gippsland, country Victoria.

When I arrived in Melbourne in 1968, Bob WAS Melbourne advertising. He took the best photos, had the best lunches and threw the best parties.

Born in England, Bob joined the Merchant Navy to see the world and eventually ended up in Melbourne. A larger than life character, in his trademark khaki overalls and with his booming voice, he founded Paradise Pictures in the mid seventies with another prominent Melbourne photographer Peter Gough. Many of Melbourne's other leading photographers became part of Paradise including Peter Houghton, Alan Dott and Ted Keogh.
When we started The Campaign Palace in 1972, my art director partner Gordon Trembath wouldn't use anyone else, often letting Bob go off on his own to take the mos important shots, without anyone looking over his shoulder. I think he took just about all the shots for our Channel 7 print campaign that won the first ever Gold Pencil for print at the inaugural AWARD show in 1979 , presented by John Cleese, incidentally, for those of you too young to remember. He went on to help win many other awards for us and plenty of other agencies.

The best shot he ever took for us, as far as I'm concerned, was for a Wrangler Jeans poster. Somehow he persuaded The Hari Krishnas to parade down Collins Street in Melbourne all in their saffron robes with their leader wearing a blue denim shirt, with the line ' If I can't wear my old Wrangler shirt I'm not going '.

They did it for money, as I remember, but at the end of the shoot, to show his distaste at all
this commercialism, the leader threw the shirt on the ground and stomped on it.

I'll never forget an unusually crestfallen Bob coming to see us the next morning and having to tell us that he'd processed the film, and there was nothing on it... He was a bit spooked by this but somehow he persuaded them to do it again [same fee again, probably] and ended up with the shot of the century. { Sadly, I don't know if even Lynchy will be able to source this one... ]

When my wife and I moved to the New South Wales Southern Highlands in 1990, the then newly-retired Bob rented a cottage just down the road from us. Most nights he'd come over for dinner and a bottle of red or two and a game of Scrabble. He was a pretty good player but I couldn't help noticing that every time I left the game to go to the toilet he would immediately come up with a 7 letter word.

Challenging him on this he immediately owned up to helping himself to letters while I was away but brazenly justified it with "But I still had to think of a word...".

Another time when he got up to relieve himself two Scrabble tiles fell out of his sleeve onto the floor. A hard man to beat in every way.

Some nights, not wanting to walk home , or perhaps unable too, he'd ride home on our lawn mover, the dim headlights disappearing into the cold mist.

He introduced me to my wife Judy who worked for him as a stylist and I'll be forever grateful to him for that and many other things.

Dear old charming, maddening, generous, cantankerous, fun loving, grumpy and supremely talented Bobbles, you are very sadly missed by your family and friends.

Lionel Hunt.


Rob Henderson said:

I first noticed Bob Bourne's pictures whilst briefly art director at POL Magazine in '68.

They were refreshingly different and very inspirational. As such he was in high demand and we were unable to work together before I departed O/S.

Upon meeting him 13 years later, I found a kind and outrageous person with a dry and wicked sense of humour.

A 'de rigeur' asset at the fabled Marios tables of East Sydney throughout the 80's.

RIP Bob. You will most certainly be missed by many.


Grant Booker said:

My old writer,Jeff Booth, recalls this little story about Bob.

My wife and I invited him up to Trentham years ago. She was
working like mad, putting chicken wire cages around trees she'd
planted and Bob and I were playing chess and drinking wine.
As you do.
At one point she called out, somewhat tersely, "Come on,
you two, I need more wire cut".
At which Bob said, "She's wasted in a democracy, you know".

RIP, Bobby.

Lionel Hunt' said:

I just remembered one of the funniest things I have ever heard anybody say, which

I omitted to put in Bob's tribute.

I was having lunch with Bob at Tolarno in Fitzroy Street, St Kilda when Bob called

the waiter over and asked him if he could get him a packet of cigarettes. The waiter

answered, somewhat snootily, that there was a machine outside. At which point

Bob replied in his most imperious tone, "Would you mind asking it to come in please?"

EJ Bourne said:

Thank you so very much Lionel...

Xx Eliza Jane

Philip Putnam said:

I still have the rocking chair Bob sat on in 1976, and broke.
He was certainly idiosyncratic.
When Bob finally put down his camera I lent him a Raymond Carver novel:
and he became an authority on Carver.
A lovely, lovely man whom I was privileged to know.
Bye, Bob.

Phil Coverdale said:

R.I.P Bob
Glad we made the effort to visit you in Coongulla last year
Phil, Myrtle
and all your English relatives.

Chris Rankine said:

I was lucky enough to work as Production Manager at The Palace during the 70's and 80's. Bob's images were pure genius. I remember his voice and his boots. And his gratitude when I gave him proofs of his work beautifully reproduced by Showads. Thanks Bob,

Angie Heinl said:

Just Googled Bob Bourne and found this tribute. Fantastic! I remember the day we celebrated the filming of the first ever Sportsgirl TVC for you at the Campaign Palace, it must have been around ‘75-’76. Bob was briefed on doing the TVC and asked me, as I was part of Paradise Pictures at the time, to do the TVC with him. “Shy girl Sad girl Good girl Bad girl” etc. We were presenting the final cut to Sportsgirl, you and Gordon in a small theatrette, may have been at AAV not sure now. But Bob and I had had a fairly long lunch (typically 70’s) prior this presentation to celebrate how much we loved the results, and as we had just finished running the commercial for the second time, the lights went on and Bob went to stand and speak, but he lost his balance and rolled down the centre aisle of stairs like a ball to the bottom, he just sat up on the step he landed on and continued speaking as if nothing abnormal had just happened. What style!! Bob taught me heaps, stayed my friend and mentor forever. He was a one off! Thank you Lionel for doing this to acknowledge our friend Bob, he deserves it.

sue davie said:

I WAS that shy girl - my first ever modelling job and how very shy I was then. Bob was amazing and gave me the cofidence to believe in what we were doing - thank you Bob and thank you Lionel too!

vaughan said:

I managed to get a copy of the Wrangler poster back in 1976/77 from a small mens clothing shop. This evening at 9.30pm 19 August 2013, I've just unfurled it and put it back up on my wall ! It's a fabulous piece of work!

Hats and shirts off to its creator.

mike said:

I feel cold inside my body and feel hunger pain and tension in my CNS.

Radhe Govinda Dasa said:

Regarding the paragraph about the Hare Krishnas (and not the "Hari Krishnas"), here are a few quotes clearing up the misconceptions, straight from a few people who were there...

Kurma Dasa says :

" Actually the reason why Sridhara Dasa [guy in a Wrangler shirt] stomped on his wrangler shirt was that he was and still is a bit (very) crazy. :) He wasn't 'the leader' or any sort of leader. Just a brahmacari [monk] like everyone else in the photo. "

Dayasagara Das (the guy behind Mr. Wrangler, with raised arms), about remembering him stomping the shirt :

" It was done in fun, and we all had a good laugh. We were all tired at the end of the 'shoot', especially as there were two sessions. We had already given up our japa [chanting prayers on beads] period early in the morning to do the first shoot. "

In praise of Bob, Kurma Dasa says :

" Bob Bourne took some wonderful Photos of Srila Prabhupada [the founder of the Hare Krishna movement] as well as some classic Deity photos of Melbourne's Sri Sri Radha Vallabha [statues]. One particular photo shoot he told Ugrasrava Das [another monk] that Radharani [female statue] moved while he was setting up the shot. "

Thank you all, and thanks to Bob for all the beautiful shots he caught. (y) I hope you didn't mind me commenting.


Radhe Govinda Dasa

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