PAT “Scoop” Sullivan was as much a part of Gundagai as the famed Dog on the Tuckerbox.
His extraordinary life touched every corner of the community – half a century as editor and journalist at the Gundagai Independent, shire councillor, charity champion, chamber of commerce secretary, rugby league administrator, turf club committeeman, services club director and more.
In 2008, he was named Gundagai Citizen of the Year and five years later was awarded the Order of Australia Medal for services to journalism and the community of Gundagai.
But it was not awards or titles that sustained “Scoop”, it was a unwavering passion for Gundagai and its people.
Tributes are flowing for Mr Sullivan after his passing on Monday night, aged 75.
A larger-than-life character with a flair for the irreverent, he was an intrepid editor who often courted controversy.
After once incident in the 1980s where a police officer arrested an off-duty officer, “Scoop” led with the headline “DOG EATS DOG”.
Former Prime Wagga general manager Peter McAlister started working at The Independent as a 13-year-old paper boy and became a close friend of Mr Sullivan’s over the years.
“He lived for Gundagai; everything he did was for that town,” Mr McAlister said, choking back tears.
“He was such a knowledgeable man and very highly regarded in the media and sporting worlds.
“He was also a great family man. A lot of Gundagai history has gone with Scoop.”
He described himself as a "bush journalist”, following in the family tradition begun by his grandfather, Paddy Sullivan, the founder of the Independent.
In 1971 he married Colleen Pigram and they reared their five children in a residence above the Independent office.
Cootamundra journalist and close friend Lynne Spain described him as “simply the best journalist ever”.
“Oh what a character and a man with words,” she said.
Riverina MP and former newspaper editor Michael McCormack said “Scoop” was “Mr Gundagai”.
“He was independent by nature and independent by masthead,” Mr McCormack said.
“He was a larrikin with a razor-sharp wit but also had a lot of compassion about him. Everyone knew him and everyone liked him.”
“Scoop” will be farewelled at St Patrick’s Church in Gundagai on Friday at 11am.
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