IN the days before the internet, Facebook and mobile phones, Bruce Rogers was probably Warrnambool’s greatest one-man publicity machine.
He generated nationwide media coverage with unusual ideas — including suggesting the city as a Commonwealth Games venue.
In 1979, after Warrnambool won its second Premier Town award, Mr Rogers volunteered his services as a promotions officer and threw himself enthusiastically into the role while still continuing to operate a busy newsagency with his family.
“He was known as Mr Premier Town,” former town clerk Vern Robson told The Standard yesterday.
“I’ve known him ever since we came to Warrnambool 37 years ago.
“There were very few things Bruce wasn’t involved in — he was a local icon.
“He used to be president of Warrnambool Bowls Club when it was situated next to the council offices and we saw a bit of each other. Bruce made sure Warrnambool was put on the map around Victoria and Australia with ideas and promotion. He was always enthusiastic.”
Mr Rogers served as a local councillor in the 1960s and was a long-time Rotarian and RSL member. He helped initiate the Warrnambool Eisteddfod in 1975 which continues today.
Former mayor and long-time councillor Jack Daffy described him as a dedicated community member.
“If someone wanted something done Bruce and his wife Tess were always there to help,” he said.
“His newsagency tended to be the spot where people could access him easily as a councillor.
“He had a keen interest in the arts and was on council when they were debating where the performing arts centre should be situated.”
Mr Rogers, who died on Thursday aged 93, is survived by three of his children.
A funeral liturgy will be held on Monday at Our Lady Help of Christians Church followed by burial at the Warrnambool cemetery.