On Monday 21 February 2011, my stepfather died. His name was Richard Emanuel (Dick) Klugman. He'd been married to my mum for 20 years. Their wedding was a rather grand affair, one that we simple people still like talking about, because Mum and Dick got married at Government House, with the then incumbent Governor-General, the Hon Bill Hayden, a witness.
Dick lived in Sydney, and for a while my mum commuted back and forth from our home in Canberra. He originally lived in Parramatta, and was the Federal MP for Prospect, NSW, from 1969 to 1990, which is a fair achievement. It wasn't until his funeral that I realised how instrumental he had been in the formation and establishment of the system we now all take for granted, Medicare. As an ALP Federal MP and General Practioner, Dick was one of a select group of MPs who's advice and expertise were regularly called upon by then Minister and good friend Bill Hayden.
My mum eventually moved to Sydney to live with Dick in 2000 I think it was. In the years that she'd commuted, when I started photographing racehorses, I used to come up with Mum to stay with Dick at Parramatta and go to the races. Dick, through his friend and former trainer, Tommy Kennedy, who was by then the CEO of the Sydney Turf Club, arranged me a mounting yard pass for the 1993 Ranvet Stakes Day. He was a generous, if at times difficult man, and he was the person who eventually made possible these images of Octagonal. Dick had been good friends with the Ingham brothers Jack and Bob, and arranged for me to visit Woodlands Stud in the Hunter Valley. There were times that he barely tolerated the visits of myself and by this stage young and disruptive children, but he did not ever say we could come and stay.
My mum cared for Dick during the period that he began to ail, and was with him with he died. I spent nearly all of the week of the funeral with my mum, and his funeral was, as far as these events go, a nice and irreverent affair that paid a lovely tribute to a man who contributed greatly to the things we now take for granted.