ROBERT CRICHTON ALLISON, AM
4-4-1919 — 27-11-2012
FUNERAL director Robert Crichton Allison, who has died aged 93, had many notable moments in his life, but arranging the funeral in 1978 of Sir Robert Menzies was one that stood out.
Numerous dignitaries, including Prince Charles (representing the Queen), attended and more than 100,000 people witnessed the procession after it left Scots' Church, Melbourne. The firm John Allison/Monkhouse was given the assignment by the then prime minister's office - and had only four days to arrange it.
It was a mammoth organisational task but was considered such a model of excellence that it became the industry standard for future state funerals.
John Allison/Monkhouse went on to manage the state funerals of Sir Billy Snedden, Lord Casey, Sir Arthur Rylah and Senator Don Chipp, among others.
This gave the firm a high profile and later led Allison, as Australia's national funeral director in Belgium and France, to co-ordinate the exhumation and return of the remains of the Unknown Australian Soldier to Australian soil from France to be buried in the Hall of Memory at the Australian War Memorial on November 11, 1993.
Affectionately known as Rob throughout the industry (and Mr Rob within his own organisation), Allison regarded it a privilege to serve people in their time of need. He understood them and the associated pressures and procedures.
During what became a very full life, Allison was an inspiration and mentor to many, regarding "competitors" as colleagues rather than "opposition".
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