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Raymond Leslie (Ray) Rocher (1932–1994)

Ray Rocher, a man who was at the top of the NSW building industry for nearly 30 years, including the turbulent period of the 1970s that saw the deregistration of the Builders' Labourers Federation, died suddenly on May 21

Mr Rocher, a burly, forceful man, an excellent Australian Rules footballer in his youth and a keen sportsman ever after, never got over the 1990-92 Royal Commission into the NSW Building Industry, which was very critical of the NSW Master Builders' Association (MBA).

As executive director of the association from June 1974, Mr Rocher bore the brunt of the criticism and, in June 1992, stepped down.

The MBA's executive director, Mr John Elder, said yesterday that Mr Rocher's death had not been made public at the time out of consideration for the feelings of the family.

Ray Rocher, born in Tasmania on September 28, 1932, entered the building industry in the Tasmanian branch of A. V. Jennings Industries in 1950. In 1962, he was appointed its NSW manager. He later joined another company, T. S. Plunkett Pty Ltd, and then started his own business.

Mr Rocher was elected to the council of managers of the MBA in 1965 and continued in several executive and representative positions from then, including chairman of the Building Industry Construction Committee from 1969 to 1970.

From 1969 to 1974, he was chairman of the MBA committee set up to promote the licensing of builders.

As the MBA's executive director, Mr Rocher was a driving force in apprenticeship training.

Mr Rocher's interests included providing accommodation for parents of children attending the Children's Hospital at Camperdown. He was also heavily involved in rebuilding Nyngan after the flood of 1990.

"The building industry and the MBA were the focal points of his life," Mr Elder said. "He was highly regarded by his staff and was fair and compassionate in his dealings.

"The trauma that was created by the report of the 1990-1992 royal commission saw Ray accept the brunt of his findings.

"He tendered his resignation, stating that he believed it was in the best interests of the association, which he said was 'far more important than me and far too important for the industry'."

Mr Rocher is survived by his widow, Margaret, three children and five grandchildren.

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'Rocher, Raymond Leslie (Ray) (1932–1994)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University,, accessed 23 April 2024.

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