By Tammy Lindrum
Walter Lindrum received an MBE in 1951 as well as an OBE in 1958 – these honours were awarded to him by the Queen due to his success in raising huge amounts of money for charity during the war years.
Indeed, Walter walked with Kings, but never lost that common touch which endeared him to thousands. Sir Robert Menzies was often seen visiting Walter at his home in Albert Park so it was no surprise one Sunday morning when Menzies arrived to advise Walter that a Knighthood was awaiting him if only, he would reconcile with his divorced wife. To Walter this was simply out of the question. It means that of Australia’s Depression era – sporting heroes Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Hubert Opperman ended up gilded, while Phar Lap was gelded, and Lindrum left to his own devices. Commemorative stamps were created by Australia post to capture these heroes. Bradman always thought Lindrum was more dominant in his sport than his own.
Lindrum would never consider reconciliation with his second wife just to be Knighted and
this was due to Walters first and perhaps only real love despite being married 3 times.
Walter’s heart was always with the beautiful Rose Ellen Coates “Rosie”. Walter married Rosie on the 23rd of August 1929, just hours before she passed away on the 24th of August in Sydney. Rosie was 21 years old.
If Rosie had lived there is no doubt that Walter would be Sir Walter Lindrum and had he
lived today under current awards, divorce is not considered a reason not to award the
Knighthood. In fact equality and inclusion would ensure that Walter wasn’t overlooked for
his achievements and charitable work, the amounts he raised would still make him a worthy
Rosie’s tragic death from heart failure occurred when Walter was playing Willie Smith, the
English champion, in Sydney. Rosie had travelled from Melbourne to witness her husband’s match with Smith, but because of her illness had seen little of it. On Thursday night Lindrum who had made a break of 2002 was playing under the stress of his wife’s illness & confided to a friend that when he leaned over the table there were moments, he could scarcely see the balls. Walter had told Rosie that he would stay by her bedside rather than play on. However, Rosie instructed Walter to go and make the highest break so he could win her a silver tea service. Walter dutifully won the tea service. The match would be abandoned as Lindrum left to be at Rosie’s bedside as she died, and he would then accompany her body back to Melbourne.
Rosie’s final resting place carriers the Lindrum name at the foot of her grave. Walter went onto marry twice more in his life, but it can be said that never did his heart ever recover from the loss of his beloved Rosie.