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Judge, scout leader Sir Robert Woods dies

Sir Robert Woods
Sir Robert Woods served in the PNG judicial system for 30 years and held pivotal roles in PNG and regional scouting


NOOSA - Sir Robert Kynnersley Woods CBE (1939-2021), a former national and supreme court judge in Papua New Guinea, died in Wellington, NSW, on 23 September aged 81 after a short illness.

Sir Robert had a distinguished career in the PNG judicial system for 30 years from 1970-2000, including as a judge from 1982-99, and in 2001 was appointed a judge of the district court of NSW.

He was awarded the CBE in 1986 for services in law and a knighthood in 2000 for his services to law and the community.

As a teenager at All Saints College, Bathurst, he represented the school in the First XV and in athletics, for many years holding the record for the mile.

He was also a house captain, school prefect, chapel server, cadet officer and played lead roles in many of the school’s drama performances.

After leaving school, he studied Arts and Law at the University of Sydney.

“I knew him as Bob Woods in my university days,” says PNG Attitude contributor Barbara Short. “He was a good bloke.”

After moving to PNG, Sir Robert helped draft the national constitution before independence in 1975.

Phyllis Haoda Tabara remembers him for his key role in the PNG legal system and his friendship with the late chief justice, Sir Buri Kidu.

Sir Robert served as chief commissioner of Scout Association of PNG and as national training commissioner for many years in which role he published the Scouts Training Manual as well as many policy, rules, safety and leaders handbooks.

In recognition of his service to the Scout Association he was presented with its highest commendation, the Kumul Award, in 2000 and a year later received the Asia-Pacific Regional Scout Conference Chairman’s Award.

On return to Australia, he was appointed as a district court judge for several years until mandatory retirement in 2012.

In his later years he was council chairman of his former school, All Saints’ College in Bathurst, near his hometown of Wellington.


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Kevin D'arcy

He was a great tap dancer!

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