Sir Robert Carrington (Bob) COTTON KCMG. AO

COTTON, Robert Carrington

Service Number: 419078
Enlisted: 18 July 1942
Last Rank: Aircraftman 2 (WW2)
Last Unit: Not yet discovered
Born: Broken Hill, New South Wales Australia , 29 November 1915
Home Town: Broken Hill, Broken Hill Municipality, New South Wales
Schooling: Burke Ward Public School 1924-28. St. Peter’s College Adelaide
Occupation: Businessman
Died: Illness, Sydney New South Wales Australia , 25 December 2006, aged 91 years
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
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World War 2 Service

18 Jul 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Aircraftman 2 (WW2), SN 419078, Adelaide
18 Jul 1942: Enlisted Royal Australian Air Force, Sergeant, SN 419078

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Biography contributed by Graham Padget

Sir Robert Carrington Cotton was born in 1915 in Broken Hill, NSW, and educated at St Peter's College, Adelaide. He trained as pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force in 1942 and 1943 but did not see war service as he was seconded to the Department of Supply.

Cotton worked to establish the timber industry in Oberon, New South Wales as a wartime priority. After the war Cotton remained in Oberon as a businessman, sheep breeder and grazier.

Cotton was a member of the Australian Liberal Party from its foundation in 1944. He was State President of the Liberal Party of New South Wales from 1957 to 1960. He ran unsuccessfully for the seat of Macquarie in the 1963 federal election.

In 1965, Cotton was appointed to the Senate to fill a vacancy caused by the resignation of Sir William Spooner. He was Minister for Civil Aviation from 1969 to 1972 in the Gorton and McMahon governments, and Minister for Industry and Commerce from 1975 to 1977 in the Fraser government. He retired from Parliament in 1978.

Cotton was the Australian Consul-General in New York from 1978 to 1981, and Australian Ambassador to the United States of America in Washington DC from 1982 to 1985. He was a director of the Reserve Bank of Australia in 1981 and 1982 and chairman of the Australian National Gallery Foundation from 1991 to 1994.

Cotton held a lifelong passion for photography, a hobby he was inspired to take up by his cousin Olive Cotton in the 1930s. He exhibited landscape prints in both the United States and Australia. His photographs complement the extensive journals he kept on his travels within Australia and overseas.

Cotton was knighted (KCMG) in 1978 and was made an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in 1993. He received an honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Sydney in 1995. Cotton died on Christmas Day, 2006, in Sydney.

(Extract from NLA Papers -  (