Ron G Pate, OBE was the former mayor of Canterbury Municipality and former Chief Scout commissioner.
Ron Pate served as a Councillor (Alderman) on Canterbury Municipal Council from 1956 – 1965. He served as Mayor for one year, 1962. During his term as Mayor, Council made the decision to demolish the Council chambers on Canterbury Road and to build the new civic administration centre, library and baby health centre at our current location.
Ron was the Managing Director of Pates Potteries Pty Ltd, established initially by his uncle Alf Pate, in 1933 from a Campsie garage where he made and sold his wares. Pates Potteries was formerly registered by Ron, his father John and Uncle Alf in 1946 and it became a successful local business capitalising on a post-war market with a demand for decorative pottery. The factory in Lakemba was constructed from ex-army huts and operated until 1990. Pates sold mass-produced slipware that was bright and colourful, often featuring national and international flora and fauna. It is considered to be one of Australia’s major post-war commercial potteries and employed more than one hundred staff at the height of its success in the 1950s. A collection of Pates’ moulds and finished artware is held in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney as fine examples of the era.
Beyond his successful business, Ron Pate was an active community member, Rotarian and Scout master. Within Scouting he was a member of the National Council of the Scout Association of Australia, and rose to the rank of Chief Scout Commissioner, a position he held for six years, 1976-1982. Upon his retirement, he was appointed Life Councillor by the NSW Branch.
He was inducted into Campsie Rotary Club on 8 June 1954 and was still a Committee Member after 52 years of service. In all, he was a member of Campsie Rotary for 58 years. He held many positions within the local Club including President and Secretary for many years and was District Governor 1969-70. For his services to Rotary he was made a Paul Harris Fellow, the highest award given by Rotarians and named in honour of the Rotary Founder. This award recognises those who display the highest personal and professional standards in their life and work.
Within the City of Canterbury, Ron played an active role with a number of community organisations and causes. Ron was a founding member of the Canterbury District Polio Club,an organisation founded to support those afflicted with polio. This group, closely connected to Campsie Rotary ultimately worked towards the construction of the Campsie Rotary premises in North Parade, which is still in active use today.
Together with his wife Enid, he is also known for his work with the Canterbury Men’s and Women’s Swimming Clubs, which merged in the 1960s to become the Canterbury Amateur Swimming Club. Ron was President of the Club for ten years from 1962 – 1972. The Club developed over the years to produce many swimmers who represented Australia at Commonwealth and Olympic competition.
He was Chairman for eighteen years of the South Metropolitan Region of Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution covering Moorefields Village and Lakemba Caring Centre from 1987, retiring in 2005.
For his services to the Community and to Youth, Ron was awarded the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and for his Service to the Community particularly through the Scouting Movement, Rotary International and the Royal Freemasons’ Benevolent Institution of NSW he was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM).