It is with a very sad heart that Australian Canoeing advises of the passing away of Bruce Morison OAM at age 87 after a long illness.
Bruce went peacefully in the company of his family who were so important to him.
Bruce made a tremendous contribution to canoeing in NSW and Australia.
Husband and wife team Bruce Morison OAM and Joan Morison OAM have each devoted over 65 years of high-level involvement as ground-breaking pioneers and iconic administrators in canoeing and paddling.
On 8th September 1949 the NSW Association of Canoe Clubs held its first official meeting. Bruce and Joan represented Youth Hostel Association Canoe Club. Two days later Australian Canoe Federation came into being. Thus within 48 hours the Morisons had been formation delegates of both the peak state body and peak national body for canoeing. Over the next seven years they were heavily involved with affiliations to State, Australian and International Olympic Councils and the International Canoe Federation.
Bruce was heavily involved in NSW Canoeing affairs as President 1975-1980; 1985-86 and Vice President 1982-1985. He was Chair of the Board of Canoe Education (BCE) 1979-1983. During these years, Bruce was competing regularly in canoe marathon events, gained Coaching accreditation and assisted with Junior Coaching Camps organised by Joan at the NSW Academy of Sport.
At the Australian level, Bruce was involved in the BCE, Slalom & Wildwater, Marathon and Sprint Committees in the 1978-1988 era. He was approached to be a selector for the first Australian Marathon in 1981 on the Murray River, despite also being a competitor. He continued as a selector for many years.
The Morisons were key officials at the Sydney 2000 Olympics – Bruce with sprint and Joan with slalom.
As well as keen administrators for the sport, the Morisons were also very talented paddlers. NSW’s first State Championships were held in March 1952 at which Bruce won two silver medals in K2 1000 & 10,000m. Bruce competed in the Inaugural World Masters Games (gold in MC2) as well as many Hawkesbury and Murray Marathon races.
Bruce was highly respected by the paddlers for his experience, understanding and fairness, and always made decisions which were best for Australian Canoeing.
Both Bruce and Joan were honoured with Life Membership of NSWCA in 1980.. In very fitting recognition of their lifetime contributions to paddling and canoeing, Joan received her OAM in 1992 and Bruce received his OAM in 2009.
“In all respects Bruce was a true pioneer for canoeing, and his love of the sport and genuine interest in the members of the canoeing family continued strongly up until recent months. We have lost an exceptional man, whose legacy lives on through the many successful canoeing activities we enjoy today. Those of us who have worked and paddled with Bruce over the years have indeed been fortunate to have shared his friendship, as well as many valuable moments which will forever remain treasured memories” stated Ms Helen Brownlee (AC Life member) and long-time friend of the Morisons.
On behalf of the canoeing community, AC has extended our sincere condolences and prayers to Joan Morison OAM (AC life member) and their family.
Bruce’s funeral will be held at Woronora Crematorium, South Chapel, Linden Street, Sutherland, NSW, Australia on Friday, 2nd January 2015 at 2:00pm.
Rest in Peace Bruce