TONY Charlton not only had a golden voice, he left a legacy in Ballarat that can never be forgotten.
The famed broadcaster died after a battle with bowel cancer yesterday morning, aged 83.
Across Australia and even internationally he will be remembered as a man who brought sport to the homes of millions, but in Ballarat his impact was even more profound.
For 12 years, Mr Charlton served as master of ceremonies at Ballarat’s Ex-Prisoners of War Memorial services, a role he performed with the utmost dignity and respect.
He was also instrumental in gaining $1.1 million in funding for the memorial in his role as the Tattersall’s George Adams Foundation director.
As part of his foundation role, he was a key player in the establishment of the Wendouree Centre for Performing Arts, restoration works around Lake Wendouree and upgrades at the Ballarat Health Services Base Hospital.
Ballarat mayor John Burt, a long-time friend of Charlton, said the broadcasting legend made a significant and often underestimated contribution to Ballarat.
“Ballarat has many reasons to be thankful for thankful for Tony’s generosity and his indomitable spirit,” Councillor Burt said.
“Tony was an incredible person, and someone who, once committed to cause, never wanted to give in.”
Secretary and trustee of the Australian Ex-Prisoner of War Memorial Bill Bahr said he could not think of anybody more fitting than Charlton to speak at remembrance services.
Charlton opened the memorial in 2004 in front of 10,000 people, and was a regular visitor to Ballarat even throughout this year.
“He really believed what he said, he had so much feeling in the words he used,” Mr Bahr said.
“It didn’t matter if it was the latest cricket scores or research he had done himself regarding the memorial, he delivered it perfectly. He was so much looking forward to our next anniversary, it won’t be the same without him there.”
Ballarat RSL president Alex Tascas said the “man with the golden voice” had a genuine concern for members of Ballarat’s defence force.
“He was passionate about the ex-servicemen and conveyed it brilliantly.”
Throughout his colourful career, Charlton also covered in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, as well as the first ever televised VFL match.
He was also made an officer of the Order of Australia in 1990 and was appointed as a member of the Order of Australian in 2003.