A life of service

February 27, 2023

To say that Kevin Rozzoli is loyal is something of an understatement.

He’s been on the Board of the Haymarket Foundation almost since the organization began, coming up to 50 years ago.

Initially, he got involved to help out his friend and the organisation’s founder Dr Charles Blower with a significant – and successful – application for funding in 1976.

“It is an organization that has always been growing and doing such important work, which has made it so interesting to me over such a long time,” says Kevin Rozzoli AM.

“And homelessness can happen to anyone, so it made it a compelling problem to help solve.”

When he first got involved, he was juggling many other responsibilities, notably as the Member for Hawkesbury in the NSW Parliament – a position he held for 30 years (1973-2003).

A political career:

It was a happy accident that Kevin Rozzoli found his true vocation in political life.

As he says, “I like to look after people and solve problems”.

Nursing a broken heart in the late 1960s, a well-meaning friend asked if Kevin would like to come to a council meeting.

The incentive? Air conditioning – a rarity in those days – plus a free supper and “usually a few laughs”.

It wasn’t long until Kevin, who was in his late 20s, was hooked.

In December 1968 he was elected as an Alderman on the Windsor Municipal Council (a forerunner to the City of Hawkesbury) – a position he held until 1974.

As a local businessman who had grown up in the area – he worked in the family business as a watchmaker and jeweller – he had a real connection in the community.

He became involved in the local branch of the Liberal Party – and then contested and narrowly won the by-election for the State in 1973.

“I predicted to a journalist that I’d win by 1000 votes – and I won it by just over a 1000 votes.”

It became a safe Liberal seat under his tenure.

Amongst his many achievements in the political sphere – he nominates becoming Speaker of the House (1988 to 1995) as his greatest.

During his political career, he also studied law and was admitted to the bar.

He also helped pioneer outdoor eating and convened a conference on homelessness with two other MPs from across the political spectrum.

Achievements outside politics:

Along with his commitment to the Haymarket Foundation, he remains Chair of Medical Advancement Without Animals.

He has also served on other community organizations including the Australasian Study of Parliament Group, the National Drug & Alcohol Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, the NSW Law & Justice Foundation, the Public Interest Advocacy Centre and he has held an Honorary Research Associate in the Department of Government at the University of Sydney.

In the 2008 Australia Day Honours, Kevin Rozzoli was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM): “For service to the New South Wales Parliament, and to the community of the Greater Western Sydney area through a range of environmental protection, health and welfare, and educational organisations.”

Haymarket Foundation CEO Gowan Vyse says his dedication is admirable.

“I’m honoured to work with Kevin Rozzoli, who is an amazing man – he’s kind, loyal and deeply committed to the people that use our services and to helping them access the support they need. We thank him for his unstinting and incredibly generous support.”

Read more about Kevin Rozzoli’s lasting legacy to the Haymarket Foundation.