Bob Hawke's estate auction offered a chance to reflect on a man known equally well for his capacity to skol a pint of beer in record time (he broke a beer drinking Guinness World Record in 1954) and being a past Prime Minister of Australia. The auction took place in a venue that could only be described as aptly representative of our country's cross-sectional majority an RSL in inner Sydney. It was an appropriate venue to celebrate the collected objects of one of Australia's most fondly remembered leaders, as it grounded you in a sense of not taking it all too seriously, a reminder offered by the noise and flashing lights of the pokies room. Upon arrival there was an immediate sense of the man we were all here for. A crowd of close to 300 Sydney-siders filled the space, leaving standing room only. But there was no joy or excitement in the air. Instead, it was a state of respectful sobriety (yes, strange for an RSL), with people silently flicking through their catalogue or murmuring to their neighbour. There was a recognition that we were not gathered for an auction, but a memorial which offered insights into a…

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