Esteemed journalist and author Robert Milliken was remembered by his peers as a “bloody good” journalist and a “charming and gentle” man when he passed away this week.
Writing on Facebook, Damien Murphy commented: “A decent, fair, modest and inspirational reporter who was so helpful over the years. He had a great knowledge of Jimmy Governor and was Nabiac’s gift to journalism.”
Mike Steketee described him as “a fine and thoughtful journalist”, Peter Rees as “a good, gentle man and a fine writer whose qualities shone in his reporting, Robert Tickner as “a courageous, insightful and gentle human” while Virginia Gordon talked of his “beautiful writing, insights, and fresh perspectives of his always thoughtful articles. A fine intellect, a true gentleman and a loyal friend to many.”
David Dale, who started at the SMH on the same day as Milliken, also wrote on Facebook: “Bob’s journalism was perceptive, graceful and substantial, but always entertaining and always self-effacing. Other feature writers were flashier, but he just got on with the job of informing and entertaining”
Milliken started his career at The Sydney Morning Herald and his illustrious career saw him working for, among others, The National Times, The Australian Financial Review, The Economist, The Guardian, The Sunday Times, The Independent, the BBC World Service’s radio program “Business Matters”, the RMIT ABC Fact Check Unit and the leading current affairs website Inside Story. His reporting took him all over the world and he later returned to the SMH as an editorial writer. He was much in demand as a conference moderator.
A journalist’s journalist, Milliken’s many interests included a focus on Australia’s economy, foreign policy, changing role in the Asia-Pacific region and its evolution as a major energy hub. He was a history buff and supporter of the arts and conservation. He also found time to write three extraordinarily different books: Mother of Rock: The Lillian Roxon Story, No Conceivable Injury: The story of Britain and Australia’s atomic cover-up and On the Edge: The changing world of Australia’s farmers (with photographs by Lorrie Graham). – Shona Martyn, CEO, the Walkley Foundation