Vale Bruce Draper – From Boxing to Books: A Lifetime of Community Service

Complete article

Published Jun, 2020

This article featured in:

Other Publications

Norway, 1961
Norway, 1961

Had he lived in a previous era he may have been a seafaring explorer, delighting in adventures and having the skills and temperament to accomplish them. A capable sailor, mountain bushman, navigator, sportsman and historian, he was a likeable, generous, and self-effacing leader who looked after all in his care.  Bruce George Draper, known for his quiet commitment to helping others and serving the community, died on May 29, 2020.   He was a loving father, principled and good-humoured, overcoming obstacles and leading a fulfilling life through service to his country in the Navy, fair-minded leadership in Industrial Relations, international and local youth mentoring and sponsorship, environmental conservation, and uncovering and documenting the past for the benefit of our shared sense of history and heritage.

Always adventurous, Bruce entered the Royal Australian Naval College (RANC) as a Cadet Midshipman in 1957, undaunted at being aged only 15.  While at Jervis Bay he gained colours for Athletics in 1957 and Australian Football in 1959.  In 1958 he recorded disappointment “that the new turf wicket had prevented a full Rugby pitch being laid out and frustratingly the Captain has forbidden Australian Rules”.

Awarded the RANC Shelley Cup for the best exhibition of the art of boxing in 1960, Bruce had a courageousness that stood him in good stead all his life. RANC colleague Ian Pfennigwerth said Bruce “was a fiercely competitive heavy hitting champion in the compulsory boxing tournament we all had to line up for at naval college. So accomplished was he that people would try to lose or gain weight to be outside his class” (I. Pfennigwerth, email, June 05, 2020).  He may not have chosen to box, preferring athletics, and rugby union, which he played after leaving the Navy. However, he turned his attention to learning the sport and his boxing style was described as clean and aggressive.  Fellow Cadet Midshipman Derek Marrable recalls being demolished when drawn to fight the hissing Queen’s Scout ‘Bruce Mad Dog Draper’ who made noises with each jab.  He described the result as a foregone conclusion (Marrable, 2018, p. 40).

Chris Bolton, Commander RAN Rtd remembers that Bruce was known for a sense of fun and wit, and whilst exploring nearby Hyams Beach “came across a dead seal which he decided to stuff and taxidermize.  Somehow, he managed to get the seal up to the College and into a shed at the rear of Flinders Division where he set to preparing the body. In the process of salting it before skinning he was caught out by the duty officer Lieutenant Malcolm Baird during rounds. After opening the store door and seeing the seal, Baird asked scathingly ‘And what have we here Mr Draper?’’  Quick as a flash Bruce saluted and replied, ‘Seal ready for your inspection Sir!’”.  Chris added “He was extremely tenacious in what he stood for, [and] was an accomplished sportsman […] his love for the environment was legendary and he used to thrill me with tales of trekking in the bush, especially in the Victorian Alps.  He was a wonderful leader with the potential to rise high in Naval ranks” (C. Bolton, email, June 10, 2020).

Bruce was appointed Cook Division Cadet Captain in 1959 and put his outdoor skills to good use as a member of the RANC Central Australian Expedition.  Mike Moore recalls “Bruce was a very good friend and mentor to me […] the two of us practised cracking a stockwhip outside the accommodation blocks [… and] this was possibly the first and last time one was wielded at the College” (M. Moore, email, June 20, 2020).  On graduation in 1960 he was awarded the First Prize for History, a precursor to a lifelong pursuit of historical research and writing.

In 1961 he commenced Phase III Midshipman training at Britannia Royal Naval College (BRNC) Dartmouth, UK.  Fellow Midshipman Aras Arasaratnam from the Royal Malaysian Navy, recalls Bruce together with other officers from the RAN and RNZN, only joined in mid-‘61, after they had done their initial training in Australia, and “we, of course, welcomed the Australians and Kiwis as the Commonwealth officers now outnumbered the Brits!!  Bruce was a most likeable person as he was quiet, gentle and had a good sense of humour” (A. Arasaratnam, email, June 10, 2020).

At Dartmouth Bruce was invited by friends into the Raleigh Society of explorers and relished the challenge of the Royal Naval Colleges ‘Norped ’61’ four-day ski and climbing expedition to Jostedalsbreen, Norway.  This was a formative experience of learning to love another culture’s food, language, music, and landscape. He gained colours for athletics and was described as a fine sportsman especially in discus, javelin, and shotput.   He was runner-up in light middle weight boxing and competed in the 1st Inter-Services Colleges Ski-Race at St Moritz Switzerland in 1962.  Nick Franks, Captain of the ’62 Dartmouth ski team competing against Sandhurst and Cranwell, jokes that the “quiet, dull resort of St Moritz was chosen and as you can imagine we had an amazing time – Omar Sharif was playing international bridge in the Palace Hotel, Gunther Sachs was riding the Cresta Run and courting Brigitte Bardot, and Beatle John Lennon was introducing wife Cynthia to skiing” (N. Franks, email, June 21, 2020).

Appointed to the minesweeper HMAS Snipe in 1964, he carried out patrol and surveillance duties on waters infested with gun running communist insurgents engaging in war tactics in Malaysian waters during the Indonesian Konfrontasi.  “It was a fully-fledged regional conflict” (Ingram, 2020, p. 147) recalls BRNC graduate John Ingram. Snipe came under fire, and the constant vigilance in the non-airconditioned tropical climate with humidity levels hovering above 80% tested the mettle of all.  Colleagues from this engagement described Bruce as a resilient and capable officer of principle.

In 1965 he was appointed to the Daring Class destroyer HMAS Duchess and demonstrated commitment and duty in two voyages as escort for Australian Army personnel and equipment transport to Vung Tau, Vietnam, and further patrol and surveillance duties in the Singapore area and Tawau area of Sabah.  John Ingram said, “Bruce and I would wave to each other when refuelling at sea while Bruce was serving in the Duchess and I was serving in the Sydney on passage to and from South Vietnam” (J. Ingram, email, June 10, 2020). The Navy was short of escort ships because of dockyard industrial action and were forced to make unpalatable decisions to ensure protection. The Duchess, then on loan from the Royal Navy, had a defective seal on one of her two thrust blocks. Nevertheless, she accompanied HMAS Sydney to Vietnam and back functioning on one shaft only, an unnerving situation in a war zone (Ingram, 2020, p. 171).  Among the medals awarded for his Naval service was the Australian Active Service Medal 1945-75 with Clasps ‘Malaysia’ and ‘Vietnam’ and the Pingat Jasa Malaysia medal by a grateful Malaysia.

A great-grandson of noted horticultural pioneer Charles Draper, he was the fourth child of James Chester Draper, officer-in-charge of the Heyfield Police Station, one of the last mounted police stations in Victoria; and Beatrice Violet Draper (née Jullyan) a gifted singer and tennis player. He was brought up on stories of bushcraft, mountain rescues, pioneers and looking out for others in times of adversity.  He married Mary Joyce Tyler in 1966 in The Welch Regiment Chapel, Llandaff Cathedral, Wales, and they went on to have three children.  When staying with his parents-in-law at Windsor Castle, where Mary’s father Brigadier A.C. Tyler D.L., C.B.E., M.C. had been appointed Military Knight, he borrowed a rare Cleveland Bay horse from the Royal Mews, a story he enjoyed telling his children along with his Naval anecdote about being offered a Malaysian royal’s prized racehorse to ride at the Sarawak Turf and Equestrian Club in Kuching.

On retirement from the Navy, he joined McPherson’s Limited, completing a four Year Post Graduate Diploma of Business Administration at RMIT.  He was International Harvester’s Director of Human Resources during the wage breakouts in the ’70s and ’80s, as powerful unions negotiated wage rises above award rates.  The award system struggled to deal with inflationary effects of over-award payments, there being few means of enforcing the norms of the system.  A fact which often put the gentle and respectful Bruce in the frontline of conflict, despite considerable efforts at compromise.  When irrationally confronted by a union organiser, Bruce ducked the punch, assumed a trained boxing stance, and referencing his years of boxing experience, deescalated the situation.

His father having a keen interest in scouting (going on to complete an unbroken period of adult service of 69 years with the Scout Association), Bruce joined as a Cub Scout while attending Heyfield Primary School in 1949, and went on to become a Queen’s Scout, the highest youth award in the Commonwealth.  A member of 1st Eltham Scouts at the time, he was presented with the Queen’s Scout Certificate by Sir Dallas Brooks, Governor of Victoria, at Government House in Melbourne in 1957.  He was a Scout Leader with the 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts from 1982 to 1990, a Venturer Leader from 2003 to 2005 and an Assistant Leader from 1980.  Cathy Daniels recalls of her Venturer and Rover days that “Bruce was around a lot, quietly supporting and commenting on things when needed, and was a lovely gentle man” (C. Daniels, email June 11, 2020).

He was remembered at 1st Ivanhoe as a good mentor.  To some he was also a father figure who passed on a strong ethical set of beliefs, including that one should ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’.  Ross Elliot, a Venturer Leader in the mid 1980’s, recalls “each year I took the Venturers on a cross-country and community ski trip and Bruce at the time was Scout Leader, but always volunteered to assist […] always exploring with the Venturers, always adventurous.  He was a kind and caring leader.  A true Scout and a good man to have around” (R. Elliot, email, June 11, 2020).  While he loved adventure and risk-taking, he lived by the Scout motto ‘Be Prepared’, and always looked after those entrusted to his care.

During this period, he was implementing the new equal pay decision, and the 1979 unpaid maternity leave federal award, and as Corporate Manager Human Resources at BF Goodrich was responsible for applying the 1983 Prices and Incomes Accord, with many of the negotiations protracted and complex.  In regular talks with the ACTU, he played a role in the development of enterprise bargaining, a process occasionally leading to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. He was regarded as fair-minded and a fearlessly honest straight talker by both sides.  He shared his expertise with several companies when in 1996 Victoria moved into the national workplace relations system.

He became an Associate of the Institute of Personnel Management in 1971 and a Chartered Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute in 1976, and an Associate Fellow in 1998, sharing knowledge in trade journals throughout his career.  He was a lifetime member of the Industrial Relations Society of Victoria, and member and Chair of the National Personnel Conference and VECCI Employee Relations Policy Committee.  In industry as in other areas of his life, he devoted time and resources to creating opportunities for local youth, and by a twist of fate, his signature of approval was on the application for funds of his (then totally unknown) future son-in-law to go to the 1989 Stockholm International Youth Science Seminar.

Bruce’s travels throughout Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, North America, West Indies, Africa and South-East Asia resulted in an innate appreciation for other cultures.  As a leader, he believed that Scouts should evolve as society changed, with young people being given more opportunities to lead regardless of their background, and he worked to increase understanding and acceptance between cultural and religious groups. He advocated for and held the Victorian Branch Commissioner for Multicultural Scouting and Venturers role, leading initiatives such as bringing the Organization of Russian Young Scouts into the Victorian Scouts, working with the Vietnamese community to promote culturally appropriate scouting programs, establishing Greek and Coptic Egyptian groups and a cub pack at the King Khalid Islamic School, and advancing the Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian, Hungarian, Polish and Ukrainian Scout groups.

His bushcraft skills were remembered twenty-five years later by Malaysian Scout Eric Chee Swee Kit, who wrote “Bruce showed him trick roping such as lassoing and the flat loop and then gave the rope to his friend, Chu” (E. Kit, email, June 09, 2010) while at the 1984 First Asia Pacific Jamborella.  With the arrival of Glasnost, he led an inaugural Australian Scouting expedition to Russia touring in Taimens, or folding kayaks.  He shared in the enthusiasm ex-Soviets felt in having contact with cultures outside the USSR, furthering these connections by learning to speak Russian.

In 2003 he volunteered as host for a Russian Scout Leader sponsored by the Memorial Foundation for Scouting in Russia. The visit included attending the 21st Course for Leader Trainers at Gilwell Park, Gembrook, a facility he actively cared for into old age.  He was offered the Camp Chief of Gilwell Park role, a job he regretfully declined due to failing health.  He was dedicated to establishing a Memorial Foundation in memory of three devoted Scouters (Australian, Russian and English) who died at St Petersburg after the closing of the 1994 First Russian Scout Jamboree, an accident he personally witnessed, when a bus ran out of control while approaching the stop.

As Victorian Branch Commissioner for Water Activities from 1990 to 1998 and Assistant Branch Commissioner until 2004, he “unobtrusively encouraged Venturers towards their Award achievements. His expert knowledge of water activities was never blatantly displayed, he guided both youth and adults in water skills with his long experience and understanding of sailing techniques” (P. Datson, email, June 11, 2020) recalls Peter Datson, Collection Manager, Scout Heritage Victoria.  Ian ‘Doc’ Sharpe, Yarra Batman Area Rover Commissioner, said Bruce offered “wisdom, historical records, hands-on knowledge, and the shared use of his extensive home Marine library […] and was an inspiration to many, including myself who also was at sea as a Marine Engineer” (I. Sharpe, email, June 15, 2020).

He was awarded the 35-year Long Service Decoration in 2015 and the Silver Koala in 2002 for distinguished service to the Scout Movement, in addition to other awards.

A strong and proficient outdoors man who was also quietly knowledgeable, he enjoyed Australian culture and was an unassuming patron of local artists, musicians, and writers.  He had an enthusiasm for The Heidelberg School of painters, Australian poets of the 19th century, and classical and folk music.  A published author, he gave research and articles to organisations in Australia and the UK and was always available to assist others, sharing cups of tea and humorous stories.  His work is in tracts by other Australian authors including Alan Marshall and Mick Woiwod, who said “Bruce will be sadly missed as will the research work he has been involved in over many years” (M. Woiwod, email, June 03, 2020).   High Country author Ian Stapleton recounted a recent visit to Heyfield, where living memories of Bruce’s father “are slowly fading.  Makes me glad we wrote them all down in a book [‘Weatherbeaten Wisdom’, 2008], and without Bruce’s strong support, that would not have happened” (I. Stapleton, personal correspondence, May, 2020).

Uncovering the role his great-great grandfather played in the establishment of Australia’s first School of Horticulture, he was happy to be the go-to person for historical information relating to early horticultural development and settlement of the Nillumbik Shire.  Jean Verso, President of the Nillumbik Historical Society said, “his knowledge, gentleness and wisdom will be missed”.  He transcribed her great-grandfather’s diaries, “a mammoth task for which her family will be forever grateful” (J. Verso, email, June 17, 2020).   Neil Brock, pioneer family descendant, and brother of racing legend Peter, reflects, “I looked forward to seeing copies of the Arthurs Creek newspaper essentially to see Bruce’s local history contributions […] being impressed by [his] meticulous research and referencing” (N. Brock, email, June 02, 2020).

A member of the Heidelberg Historical Society for over 50 years, he made sustained contributions to Nillumbik Historical Society, Eltham District Historical Society, and Heyfield and District Historical Society.  Liz Pidgeon, Local and Family History Librarian at the Yarra Plenty Regional Library said “he represented the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute (ACMI) at the Mechanics Institute of Victoria and the Yarra Plenty Heritage Group [and] was passionate in his commitment to identify, collate and publish historical information reflecting the heritage story of our district” (L. Pidgeon, email, June 01, 2020).   He worked on the Ellis Cottage Historical Precinct in Diamond Creek, organised the annual ACMI Garden Walk and was the driving force behind 2016 Arthurs Creek World Wars Honour Roll, a project in conjunction with the War Graves Commission.

His commitment to protect the environment he loved was renowned and his first bushwalk at Wilson’s Promontory took place in 1949 at eight years of age.  He cherished all high country and climbed the Matterhorn in 1962 recalling “every inch of it to be a mountaineer’s mountain” (Draper, 2001, p. 3).  His warm support for Arthurs Creek District Landcare, Australian Garden History Society, Friends of Burnley Gardens, Royal Horticultural Society of Victoria, Ben Cruachan Walking Club, National Trust, Australian Conservation Foundation, Friends of the Prom and Victorian National Parks Association (VNPA) was often of both a practical and scholarly nature, providing papers, research, advocacy and hands-on volunteering.  Geoff Durham recalls “Bruce was an elected and active member of the VNPA Council […and] was a member of the Alpine National Park Committee which campaigned for the National Park […] we had some good times together. I particularly remember our kayak trip down the Glenelg River” (G. Durham, email, June 21, 2020).

Local historian Ross McDonald in a touching final letter said “your work and publications have now become valuable sources of information about the early days [around Arthurs Creek…and] you can relax and think of the magnificent contribution you have made through your work and friendship to so many people” (R. McDonald, personal correspondence, May 25, 2020).

His strength and fortitude stood him in good stead at the end of his life as he faced a long and trying illness.  He was surrounded in his last days by those he loved and who loved him.  At 79 years of age he was laid to rest among his forebears and friends on the green and familiar hills of Arthurs Creek.  He will be remembered by many.

Sources:

Draper, B G, (2001), Matterhorn, unpublished

Draper, B G, (2008), The First Ivanhoe Sea Scouts: A Centenary History 1908 – 2008, 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts, Victoria.

Draper, B G, (2012), Arthurs Creek Mechanics’ Institute, Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute Inc., Victoria.

Draper, B G, (2018), Up the Creek: Early Days in the Arthurs Creek District, Tales from The Treehouse, Victoria.

Ingram, J, (2020), The Tumbling Dice of Circumstance: The Memoirs of John Ingram OAM, unpublished

Marrable, D, (2018), In Danger’s Hour, D. Derek Marrable, Queensland

McDonald, R, (2010), From Laggan To Arthur’s Creek: The McDonald Family History and connections with The Draper Family, Charnwood, Ross McDonald, Victoria

Pfennigwerth, I, (2008), Tiger Territory: The Untold Story of the Royal Australian Navy in Southeast Asia from 1948 to 1971, Rosenberg Publishing, NSW

Stapleton, I (2008), Weatherbeaten Wisdom: Colourful Characters of The Victorian High Country, Ligare Book Printer, NSW

From left, Bruce, Alan and Robert Draper in Heyfield, Gippsland c 1947
From left, Bruce, Alan and Robert Draper in Heyfield, Gippsland c 1947
Bruce with the 1st Heyfield Scouts in the 1950's.  The Scout Leader second from the left is his father, James Chester Draper
Bruce with the 1st Heyfield Scouts in the 1950's. The Scout Leader second from the left is his father, James Chester Draper
Front row: James Chester Draper, Beatrice Violet Draper (née Jullyan) and eldest child, Elaine.  Back row: Robert, Alan and Bruce Draper c 1949
Front row: James Chester Draper, Beatrice Violet Draper (née Jullyan) and eldest child, Elaine. Back row: Robert, Alan and Bruce Draper c 1949
Accepting his Queen’s Scout Award from Sir Dallas Brooks, Governor of Victoria, at Government House in Melbourne November 22, 1957.
Accepting his Queen’s Scout Award from Sir Dallas Brooks, Governor of Victoria, at Government House in Melbourne November 22, 1957.
Bruce at Government House in 1957.  He’d completed his first year at the RANC, and John Ingram remembers “those of us back at College were busy loading HMAS WOOMERA with furniture etc. to ship to Jervis Bay”
Bruce at Government House in 1957. He’d completed his first year at the RANC, and John Ingram remembers “those of us back at College were busy loading HMAS WOOMERA with furniture etc. to ship to Jervis Bay”
Bruce's invitation to the Queen’s Scout ceremony. The highest youth Scouting award in the Commonwealth, he was a member of 1st Eltham Scouts at the time, and was presented with the certificate by Sir Dallas Brooks, Governor of Victoria, at Government House in Melbourne in 1957
Bruce's invitation to the Queen’s Scout ceremony. The highest youth Scouting award in the Commonwealth, he was a member of 1st Eltham Scouts at the time, and was presented with the certificate by Sir Dallas Brooks, Governor of Victoria, at Government House in Melbourne in 1957
Bruce at the Royal Australian Naval College in 1959, in Cook Division.  "The sight of those .303 rifles with bayonets fixed, instantly brings back the remembrance of how heavy they were when they were being held above one’s head while jogging around a tennis court as a punishment for some minor infraction of the rules" remembered Ian Pfennigwerth, an RANC colleague, one year junior to Bruce
Bruce at the Royal Australian Naval College in 1959, in Cook Division. "The sight of those .303 rifles with bayonets fixed, instantly brings back the remembrance of how heavy they were when they were being held above one’s head while jogging around a tennis court as a punishment for some minor infraction of the rules" remembered Ian Pfennigwerth, an RANC colleague, one year junior to Bruce
Bruce’s 1959 graduation, he was left hand marker in the Guard for the ceremony, at the Royal Australian Naval College.  "He was Cadet Captain in our graduation parade in December 1959.  That’s me next to Bruce" (John is second from right in photo, Bruce furthest right).  Photo and information credit John Ingram
Bruce’s 1959 graduation, he was left hand marker in the Guard for the ceremony, at the Royal Australian Naval College. "He was Cadet Captain in our graduation parade in December 1959. That’s me next to Bruce" (John is second from right in photo, Bruce furthest right). Photo and information credit John Ingram
Broad Jump Event, Winning Jump, Distance 20ft 6.5 inches.  Inter-Service Colleges’ Carnival Athletics at HMAS ALBATROSS, N.S.W. 1959.   While at Jervis Bay Bruce gained colours for Athletics
Broad Jump Event, Winning Jump, Distance 20ft 6.5 inches. Inter-Service Colleges’ Carnival Athletics at HMAS ALBATROSS, N.S.W. 1959. While at Jervis Bay Bruce gained colours for Athletics
Bruce was described as a fine sportsman especially in discus, javelin and shotput.  Pictured in 1959 competing in the shotput, in a photo Bruce's friend John Ingram took and developed for the RANC Magazine
Bruce was described as a fine sportsman especially in discus, javelin and shotput. Pictured in 1959 competing in the shotput, in a photo Bruce's friend John Ingram took and developed for the RANC Magazine
HMAS CRESWELL, N.S.W.  Bruce was the Captain of the Australian Rules football team.  The bell house and dining hall at CRESWELL are behind, and Chris Bolton, the team Vice Captain is on Bruce’s left.  Bruce played both Australian Rules First XVIII (pictured), and Rugby Union First XV in 1959 at the Royal Australian Naval College.  Information credit Chris Bolton
HMAS CRESWELL, N.S.W. Bruce was the Captain of the Australian Rules football team. The bell house and dining hall at CRESWELL are behind, and Chris Bolton, the team Vice Captain is on Bruce’s left. Bruce played both Australian Rules First XVIII (pictured), and Rugby Union First XV in 1959 at the Royal Australian Naval College. Information credit Chris Bolton
Australian Rules Football Navy team HMAS DUCHESS (vs. HMAS SYDNEY) in Hong Kong during a mid-deployment break.  DUCHESS had a crew of around 330 and could field its own Aussie Rules team.  Back row, far left: Deputy Marine Engineer officer of DUCHESS at the time (1965-66), Lieutenant Bob Nattey RAN.  Seated next to Bruce on his right: Lieutenant Adrian Waite RAN.  Bruce is the team Captain.  Information credit John Ingram, Chris Bolton, Ian Pfennigwerth
Australian Rules Football Navy team HMAS DUCHESS (vs. HMAS SYDNEY) in Hong Kong during a mid-deployment break. DUCHESS had a crew of around 330 and could field its own Aussie Rules team. Back row, far left: Deputy Marine Engineer officer of DUCHESS at the time (1965-66), Lieutenant Bob Nattey RAN. Seated next to Bruce on his right: Lieutenant Adrian Waite RAN. Bruce is the team Captain. Information credit John Ingram, Chris Bolton, Ian Pfennigwerth
Bruce was appointed Cook Division Cadet Captain in 1959
Bruce was appointed Cook Division Cadet Captain in 1959
Left to right are John Davies, Tony Howland and Alex Bate.  Bruce is holding his boomerang in front of the figure of Britannia.  On the far right may be Don Chalmers.  Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, UK.  Information credit Ian Pfennigwerth
Left to right are John Davies, Tony Howland and Alex Bate. Bruce is holding his boomerang in front of the figure of Britannia. On the far right may be Don Chalmers. Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, UK. Information credit Ian Pfennigwerth
Russ Lamb, Bruce, and Sri Lankan Midshipman Gooneratne at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth UK
Russ Lamb, Bruce, and Sri Lankan Midshipman Gooneratne at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth UK
RANC, Boxing Finals, 16th July 1957.  Finalists waiting for their bout.  They were in the Green corner.  Left to Right: Bruce Draper, P. Bowler, R. Scott, R. Giles.  Awarded the Royal Australian Naval College  Shelley Cup for the best exhibition of the art of boxing in 1960, Bruce had a fearlessness that stood him in good stead all his life.  His boxing style was described as clean and aggressive
RANC, Boxing Finals, 16th July 1957. Finalists waiting for their bout. They were in the Green corner. Left to Right: Bruce Draper, P. Bowler, R. Scott, R. Giles. Awarded the Royal Australian Naval College Shelley Cup for the best exhibition of the art of boxing in 1960, Bruce had a fearlessness that stood him in good stead all his life. His boxing style was described as clean and aggressive
"Bruce spent a leave period with my family at Mt Tomah in the Blue Mountains in 1959". Photo and information credit John Ingram
"Bruce spent a leave period with my family at Mt Tomah in the Blue Mountains in 1959". Photo and information credit John Ingram
"With my parents on the beach at Huskisson in 1959.  Note our two lady friends were in heels!! (They’d attended the Sunday morning parade at College, so were dressed for the occasion)". Photo and information credit John Ingram
"With my parents on the beach at Huskisson in 1959. Note our two lady friends were in heels!! (They’d attended the Sunday morning parade at College, so were dressed for the occasion)". Photo and information credit John Ingram
RANC Expedition (Bruce on the furthest right).  John Ingram says "like me Bruce was a keen bush-walker. Here we are on a weekend hike in 1958 in which we ascended the pinnacle known as Cook’s Pigeon House west of Milton.  Keith Ryall is seen on the left".  Photo credit John Ingram
RANC Expedition (Bruce on the furthest right). John Ingram says "like me Bruce was a keen bush-walker. Here we are on a weekend hike in 1958 in which we ascended the pinnacle known as Cook’s Pigeon House west of Milton. Keith Ryall is seen on the left". Photo credit John Ingram
Bruce with his parents in 1957.  Photo credit Elaine Lewis
Bruce with his parents in 1957. Photo credit Elaine Lewis
RANC Magazine 1960 – Valete.  Information credit Ian Noble
RANC Magazine 1960 – Valete. Information credit Ian Noble
Ian Noble recalls “from 20 August - 11 September 1959, Bruce was one of 11 senior year Cadet Midshipmen who took part in the Naval College’s Central Australian Expedition to Alice Springs and Ayres Rock (Uluru) under the supervision of one officer, two teachers, and a Naval Artificer to fix the three Navy Land Rovers, the sealed Sturt Highway to Alice Springs did not exist in 1959.  [He had] exceptional bush skills for an 18 year-old”.  Bruce is pictured far left.  Information credit Ian Noble
Ian Noble recalls “from 20 August - 11 September 1959, Bruce was one of 11 senior year Cadet Midshipmen who took part in the Naval College’s Central Australian Expedition to Alice Springs and Ayres Rock (Uluru) under the supervision of one officer, two teachers, and a Naval Artificer to fix the three Navy Land Rovers, the sealed Sturt Highway to Alice Springs did not exist in 1959. [He had] exceptional bush skills for an 18 year-old”. Bruce is pictured far left. Information credit Ian Noble
Bruce with the Raleigh Society of explorers participating in the Royal Naval Colleges 'Norped '61' four-day ski and climbing expedition to Jostedalsbreen, Norway.  Ian Noble saw The Raleigh Society in BRNC Dartmouth Magazines, they “organised talks on various geopolitical subjects, including ‘Modern China’, experiences in British Somaliland and East Africa, and Kennedy’s problems in the USA in 1960.  I gathered that attendees and speakers discussed the subject matter with drinks over the following hours”.  Information credit Ian Noble
Bruce with the Raleigh Society of explorers participating in the Royal Naval Colleges 'Norped '61' four-day ski and climbing expedition to Jostedalsbreen, Norway. Ian Noble saw The Raleigh Society in BRNC Dartmouth Magazines, they “organised talks on various geopolitical subjects, including ‘Modern China’, experiences in British Somaliland and East Africa, and Kennedy’s problems in the USA in 1960. I gathered that attendees and speakers discussed the subject matter with drinks over the following hours”. Information credit Ian Noble
Bruce at the 1st Inter-Services Colleges Ski-Race at St Moritz, Switzerland in 1962
Bruce at the 1st Inter-Services Colleges Ski-Race at St Moritz, Switzerland in 1962
Passing out of the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, 1962.  Photo credit David Frost
Passing out of the Britannia Royal Naval College Dartmouth, 1962. Photo credit David Frost
Queen Scout Honour Board at 1st Eltham Scout Hall.  Photo credit Su Perrins
Queen Scout Honour Board at 1st Eltham Scout Hall. Photo credit Su Perrins
Queen Scouts remembered at 1st Eltham Scout Hall.  Photo credit Su Perrins
Queen Scouts remembered at 1st Eltham Scout Hall. Photo credit Su Perrins
He married Mary Joyce Tyler in 1966 in The Welch Regiment Chapel, Llandaff Cathedral, Wales.  They met at The Hong Kong Club when Bruce was stationed in the region during Naval service
He married Mary Joyce Tyler in 1966 in The Welch Regiment Chapel, Llandaff Cathedral, Wales. They met at The Hong Kong Club when Bruce was stationed in the region during Naval service
At his wedding in 1966 in The Welch Regiment Chapel, Llandaff Cathedral, Wales
At his wedding in 1966 in The Welch Regiment Chapel, Llandaff Cathedral, Wales
As a 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scout Commander with his children, Catherine, Jeremy and Nicholas, 1984
As a 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scout Commander with his children, Catherine, Jeremy and Nicholas, 1984
At Lord and Lady Baden-Powell's grave at St. Paul's Cemetery, Nyeri County, Kenya
At Lord and Lady Baden-Powell's grave at St. Paul's Cemetery, Nyeri County, Kenya
With his three children, Nick, Jeremy and Catherine c 1980
With his three children, Nick, Jeremy and Catherine c 1980
He had a great sense of humour and was always up for a laugh.  Pictured with Gordon Lewis c 1979
He had a great sense of humour and was always up for a laugh. Pictured with Gordon Lewis c 1979
While in the Navy he was part of the Raleigh Society and participated in the Royal Naval Colleges 'Norped '61' Ski Expedition to Jostedalsbreen, Norway.  In 2004 he returned with his daughter and son-in-law to the Jostedal Glacier, and was delighted to be back after an absence of 43 years
While in the Navy he was part of the Raleigh Society and participated in the Royal Naval Colleges 'Norped '61' Ski Expedition to Jostedalsbreen, Norway. In 2004 he returned with his daughter and son-in-law to the Jostedal Glacier, and was delighted to be back after an absence of 43 years
First Ivanhoe Sea Scouts, February 1984.  Bruce stands back row second from the left, next to friend and long-standing Scout Leader David Bryar (far left)
First Ivanhoe Sea Scouts, February 1984. Bruce stands back row second from the left, next to friend and long-standing Scout Leader David Bryar (far left)
1st Ivanhoe participants in the Stradbroke Cup Camping Competition at Gilwell Park, Gembrook, April 1984.  Bruce stands on the far left
1st Ivanhoe participants in the Stradbroke Cup Camping Competition at Gilwell Park, Gembrook, April 1984. Bruce stands on the far left
At Gilwell Park, Gembrook, a site he actively supported into old age, having been offered the Camp Chief of Gilwell Park role, a job he sadly had to decline due to failing health
At Gilwell Park, Gembrook, a site he actively supported into old age, having been offered the Camp Chief of Gilwell Park role, a job he sadly had to decline due to failing health
A member of the 127-year-old Naval and Military Club, which closed in 2009, he hosted his daughter’s wedding reception there in 1996
A member of the 127-year-old Naval and Military Club, which closed in 2009, he hosted his daughter’s wedding reception there in 1996
Bruce and Raia Nemirovsky in New Zealand
Bruce and Raia Nemirovsky in New Zealand
He served on the Committee of the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute, pictured here at the WW1 Honour Roll and Commemorative Garden Opening, Sunday 17th April 2016 (fifth from the left).  Collette Apted (pictured far left) said “we spent a lot of time together working on all those historical projects and it was wonderful.  He will be missed by so many people”
He served on the Committee of the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute, pictured here at the WW1 Honour Roll and Commemorative Garden Opening, Sunday 17th April 2016 (fifth from the left). Collette Apted (pictured far left) said “we spent a lot of time together working on all those historical projects and it was wonderful. He will be missed by so many people”
Bruce G. Draper (second from left), Barrie Apted and  Bruce's brother Robert Draper (right hand side) in 2016 at the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute’s WW1 Honour Roll and Commemorative Garden Opening.  Information credit Neil Brock
Bruce G. Draper (second from left), Barrie Apted and Bruce's brother Robert Draper (right hand side) in 2016 at the Arthurs Creek Mechanics Institute’s WW1 Honour Roll and Commemorative Garden Opening. Information credit Neil Brock
Bruce and Bronwyn Hodges (nee Reid) at Arthurs Creek
Bruce and Bronwyn Hodges (nee Reid) at Arthurs Creek
Pictured with his daughter Catherine and his father James Chester Draper in 1995
Pictured with his daughter Catherine and his father James Chester Draper in 1995
Pictured here with his son Jeremy, Bruce was an outdoors man with a depth of bush knowledge and skills that surprised some who met him
Pictured here with his son Jeremy, Bruce was an outdoors man with a depth of bush knowledge and skills that surprised some who met him
With his sister Elaine Lewis and his nephew and godson Richard Lewis c 1995
With his sister Elaine Lewis and his nephew and godson Richard Lewis c 1995
With the 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts Annual Port Melbourne Regatta, Sandridge Beach, Port Melbourne.  Sunday 27 November, 1983.  His expert knowledge of water activities was never blatantly displayed, he guided both youth and adults in water skills with his long experience and understanding of sailing techniques, recalled Peter Datson, Collection Manager, Scout Heritage Victoria
With the 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts Annual Port Melbourne Regatta, Sandridge Beach, Port Melbourne. Sunday 27 November, 1983. His expert knowledge of water activities was never blatantly displayed, he guided both youth and adults in water skills with his long experience and understanding of sailing techniques, recalled Peter Datson, Collection Manager, Scout Heritage Victoria
In what proved to be his final months, he was pleased to continue his contribution to supporting the 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts youth activities by donating this sailboat for the use and benefit of the next generation of young people.  Pictured with his son Nick, 11th December 2019
In what proved to be his final months, he was pleased to continue his contribution to supporting the 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts youth activities by donating this sailboat for the use and benefit of the next generation of young people. Pictured with his son Nick, 11th December 2019
Plaque in the Laser Pico sailboat at 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts, dedicated 11th December 2019.  A legacy for the young people of tomorrow.  Photo credit Nick Draper
Plaque in the Laser Pico sailboat at 1st Ivanhoe Sea Scouts, dedicated 11th December 2019. A legacy for the young people of tomorrow. Photo credit Nick Draper

Got a question or some interesting facts?  Leave a comment and we’ll reply.

6 Comments

  1. Aras Arasaratnam

    Very well written. A fitting tribute by his loving daughter of a great loving man and a wonderful parent.

    Reply
  2. Up The Creek Victoria

    Thank you Aras, your input to his obituary is greatly appreciated. He was a loving father and grandfather and will always be sadly missed.

    Reply
  3. Bruce J Draper

    Terrific article about a fantastic man. Will be sadly missed.

    Reply
    • Alex Nemirovsky

      Great article about Bruce! Many Thanks for sharing it

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Research Tools

Click here for links and descriptions that may be helpful for those doing their own research, or for those who simply want to know more about some of the topics touched on in Up the Creek Victoria

Topics:

Airey FamilyAlfred DeakinAllen FamilyAllwood StationApted FamilyArdchattan StationArthurs Creek CemeteryArthurs Creek Cricket ClubArthurs Creek Football ClubArthurs Creek Fruit GrowersArthurs Creek Mechanics Institute HallArthurs Creek Methodist ChurchArthurs Creek Post OfficeArthurs Creek Primary SchoolArthurs Creek Rifle ClubArthurs Creek Uniting ChurchBarton Hill StationBassett FamilyBatman TreatyBear's CastleBear FamilyBegoniasBoadle FamilyBoer warBraeside StationBrain FamilyBrennan FamilyBrock FamilyBushranger BurkeCharnwood StationChristian FamilyChurch of the Irish MartyrsClarke FamilyCleir Hills StationCraigie Lee StationDeep CreekDishleigh StationDoreen VillageDraper FamilyDuffy Land ActEarly BlacksmithsFernvale StationFlintoff FamilyFrank Dalby DavisonFruit Cool StoresGillian FamilyGlen Ard StationGlen Donald StationGray FamilyGreen FamilyHall FamilyHazel Glen CemeteryHazelglen HallHazel Glen SchoolHazel Glen StationHazel Glen Wesleyan ChurchHealey FamilyHenry ArthurHerbert FamilyHeyfield GippslandHickey FamilyHickey’s CornerHowitt FamilyHurrey FamilyHurst FamilyKenneth JackKirkliston StationLaidlay FamilyLang Fauld StationLinton CemeteryLinton FamilyLinton Grange StationLobb FamilyLobbs HillLodgeLodge FamilyMacfarlane FamilyMacmillan FamilyMacpherson FamilyMann FamilyMcDonald FamilyMcKay FamilyMcKimmie FamilyMcLelland FamilyMills FamilyMurdie FamilyMurphy's CreekMurphy FamilyPine Hill StationPlenty RiverReid FamilyRoyal Horticultural Society of VictoriaRunning CreekRyder FamilyRyders Flat ReserveScrubby CreekSmith FamilySteer FamilyStewart's PondsStewart FamilyThomas FamilyTregowan StationUnderwood FamilyVersdale StationVerso FamilyWaitui StationWhittlesea Agricultural SocietyWhittlesea ShowWild Horses BrumbiesWilliam Jock FraterWinter Majetin AppleYan Yean Primary SchoolYan Yean Reservoir