Farewell to Bob Ackling

FRIENDS and family said their final farewell to Bob Ackling recently.

Mr Ackling, who owned Bob Ackling Lawn Centre at Northmead and after whose family Ackling Street is named, died on September 4 at the age of 87.

The second of 11 children, Mr Ackling was born in Willoughby, and later moved to Church Street in Castle Hill, where the family had a market garden.

They moved to Baulkham Hills where his father, Victor, opened the produce store on the corner of William Street — now known as Ackling Street — and Old Northern Road.

He attended school in Castle Hill, Baulkham Hills and Westmead Technical College.

After leaving school he worked for his father for 18 years and took over the agricultural machinery firm that eventually became Bob Ackling Lawn Centre.

He married Ivy, had four children and bought their first home in Chelsea Avenue, Baulkham Hills, where he started his hobby farm on three adjoining house blocks. He co-owned a Straight 8 Buick and raced at Windsor, Westmead and Sydney Showground.

His sister, Betty O'Brien, said her brother was proud of being named Stock Car Champion of NSW.

"Due to continual business demands . . . he turned to his other passion, lawn bowls at Baulkham Hills Bowling Club, where his father Victor Thomas was number 1 badge and Bob was number 2," Mrs O'Brien said.

"As the years went by Bob's business empire grew and so did his family. He has 59 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren in total."

After retiring to the Central Coast, he returned to Castle Hill and joined Castle Hill Bowling Club.

"But his love of Baulkham Hills drew him back to live on Windsor Road," Mrs O'Brien said.

It also got him back to Baulkham Hills Bowling Club where, like his father, he was made an honorary life member.

"Bob sponsored trophies for the young players as he enjoyed watching the young fellows enjoy the game like he did as an adolescent," Mrs O'Brien said.

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