Bruce Ruxton

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Bruce Carlyle Ruxton
Born(1926-02-06)6 February 1926
Died23 December 2011(2011-12-23) (aged 85)
Queensland, Australia
Service/branchAustralian Army
Years of service1944–1949
Unit2/25 Australian Infantry Battalion
Battles/warsWorld War II

South West Pacific
Netherlands East Indies

AwardsMBE, OBE, AM, Chevalier of the Order of Merit (France), Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (France).
Other workPresident of the Victorian Returned and Services League

Bruce Carlyle Ruxton, AM, OBE (6 February 1926 – 23 December 2011) was an Australian ex-serviceman and President of the Victorian Returned and Services League from 1979 to 2002.

Early life[edit]

Ruxton grew up in Kew, Victoria. He attended Melbourne High School.

War service[edit]

Ruxton served in World War II in the South West Pacific Area. He enlisted in the Second Australian Imperial Force on 21 February 1944, listing his civilian occupation as "pupil land surveyor". He was allocated the service number VX94379. In late 1944, he was posted to the Royal Australian Engineers, serving for two months with the 2nd Australian Field Survey Company in Queensland before then joining the 2/1st Australian Topographical Survey Company in December 1944. He sailed to Morotai with this unit in April 1945. In June 1945, Private Ruxton was posted to the 2/25th Australian Infantry Battalion and served both as a rifleman and in the battalion's intelligence section in the Balikpapan in Borneo.

After the war ended, Ruxton volunteered to serve in Japan with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force. He was posted to the 65th Infantry Battalion, part of the 34th Australian Infantry Brigade, and was deployed to Japan in early 1946. In late 1947, Ruxton attended the British Commonwealth Occupation Force School of Cookery and qualified as an army cook, after which he was transferred to the Australian Army Catering Corps. He served in Japan until December 1948 when he returned to Australia. He was discharged from the Army on 13 January 1949.[1]

Representing the war veterans[edit]

After his war service, he became a vocal spokesman on behalf of war veterans and their families, ensuring they received their pensions and entitlements. This occupied the vast majority of his time with a few controversial matters being minor in the big picture although making a headline or two for a few days. As the Second World War veterans grew older, he lobbied on their behalf regarding issues such as nursing homes and retirement accommodation.

He lived in the Melbourne bayside suburb of Beaumaris.[2]

Following two years of ill-health due to viral pneumonia contracted during a visit to Boer War sites, Ruxton resigned as President of the Victorian RSL in June 2002.[3]


Along with RSL National President, Brigadier Alf Garland, Ruxton was a staunch opponent of the Multifunction Polis (MFP), a Japanese funded technology city proposed in 1987 for the north of Adelaide. Ruxton said it would become "a Jap city".[4]

In 1980 Ruxton achieved national media coverage with his strong criticism of the Northcote City Council in Victoria, after strongly left-wing Councillors supported a number of policies that were anathema to those traditionally held by the RSL. These included the flying of the Eureka flag rather than the Australian flag from the Northcote Town Hall, and support for an Australian republic.[5] Ruxton claimed 'ethnics and anti-British elements' were responsible for a lack of patriotism.[6] Ruxton was also incensed at the refusal of Scottish-born Councillor Brian Sanaghan to renew his oath of allegiance to the Queen after being re-elected to the Northcote Council in 1980.[7] Pressure from Ruxton resulted in Sanaghan's place on the Council being declared vacant.[8]

Ruxton's referred to the Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu as a "witch doctor" during Tutu's visit to Victoria in 1986, an outburst he later acknowledged he regretted.[9]

In the 1998 Constitutional Convention for the Republic he represented monarchist group Safeguard the People.[10] On 31 January 1992, Ruxton stated that the RSL and its membership: "will never agree to this country becoming a republic. We are proud to be associated with the Queen, who is our patron, and who, as this country's head of State, has never once put a foot wrong. Show me a politician with such a record."[11] Ruxton consistently argued that the Australian flag and the Queen, as the Australian head of state, guarantee that Australia will remain a free democracy, and that a republican form of government in Australia could become totalitarian.[12]

In 1991, Ruxton appeared on the Nine Network's Midday television show with host Ray Martin, to advocate Australia remaining a monarchy, in a live televised debate with singer Normie Rowe and radio broadcaster Ron Casey. The debate got out of hand, with Normie Rowe and Ron Casey physically brawling on live TV. The following day, Ruxton said: "As for Ron Casey, he deserved a good punch in the nose. He certainly did not do his cause any good. We have enough problems to fix up without arguing and fighting over whether Australia should become a republic,"[13] (despite the fact it was Casey who punched Rowe, not the other way round).

In 1998, Ruxton wrote a letter to Shock Records regarding the TISM single "I Might Be a Cunt, but I'm Not a Fucking Cunt". In it, he referred to the single "dropping (Australia)'s standards into the proverbial sewer".

Popular culture[edit]

A character originally from Australia You're Standing In It (and later in Fast Forward), Bruce Rump, was based on him. Bruce Rump would rant in a voice similar to Ruxton's, sometimes reaching a violent frenzy and ending with the non-sequitur "... and that's why we should keep the bloody flag the same!" The send ups of Bruce Rump would often also be send ups of long running Australian children's TV series Romper Room, referred to as "Rumper Room".[14]

Ruxton made fun of himself by releasing a rap single, in which he lampooned his own persona.[15] A song by Melbourne punk band Res-Heads was named after Ruxton.[16]


In 1975 he was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE), an Officer of the Order (OBE) in 1981, and a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) in 1996. In 1997 he was appointed a Chevalier of the Order of Merit by Jacques Chirac. He was also appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour.[17]


He died on 23 December 2011, following the development of dementia. He was 85.[18][19] His funeral service included a Masonic tribute as well as full RSL honours.[20][21]


  1. ^ Service and Casualty Form, Service Record for VX94379 Private Bruce Ruxton, National Archives of Australia, B883, VX94379,
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "In public a curmudgeon, in private compassionate". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney, NSW, Australia. 26 December 2011. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  4. ^ Hills, Ben (27 June 1992). "The $2 billion creature on a black lagoon". Sydney: Good Weekend. p. 8. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  5. ^ Andrew Lemon (1983), The Northcote Side of the River, Hargreen Publishing Company, North Melbourne, Page 269. ISBN 0-949905-12-7
  6. ^ P. Connelly (1981), 'Hoisting the Flag,' in Nation Review, February, Page 22
  7. ^ Lemon, p.269
  8. ^ P. Innes (1981), 'No allegiance to Queen: councillor,' The Age (Melbourne), 11 June, p.5
  9. ^ "7.30 Report – 21/03/2002: Ruxtons voice silenced". 21 March 2002. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  10. ^ Vizard, Steve, Two Weeks in Lilliput: Bear Baiting and Backbiting At the Constitutional Convention (Penguin, 1998, ISBN 0-14-027983-0)
  11. ^ "Background Paper 9 1995–96. The Recent Republic Debate – A Chronology". Australian Parliamentary library. Archived from the original on 1 February 2012. Retrieved 28 October 2009.
  12. ^ Lyle Allan, Paul Dahan and Leanne Williams (1995), Introduction to Australian Government, RMIT and Open Training Services, Melbourne (Victoria), page 17
  13. ^ Blair, Anne (2004). Ruxton: A Biography. Allen & Unwin. pp. 188–189. ISBN 1-74114-222-9. Retrieved 25 January 2008.
  14. ^ "Fast Forward - Series 2 - Episode 6 (1990)". Seven Network (via YouTube). 24 May 1990. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  15. ^ "Ruxton Rap". Bruce Ruxton (via YouTube). 26 September 2007. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  16. ^ "Bruce Ruxton – ResHeads". Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  17. ^ Beaumont, Lucy (24 December 2011). "Diggers' mate Bruce Ruxton dies, aged 85". The Saturday Age. p. 2. In 1975 he was awarded the MBE, the OBE in 1981, the AM in 1996, and in 1997 the Chevalier of Order of Merit (article accompanied by photo of subject circa 2000 wearing full size medal group including all awards mentioned).
  18. ^ "RSL firebrand Ruxton dies aged 85". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  19. ^ "Former Victorian RSL president Bruce Ruxton dead, aged 85". Herald and Weekly Times. 23 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2011.
  20. ^ McArthur, Grant. "Former Victorian president Bruce Ruxton to be laid to rest". The Herald Sun. Retrieved 23 March 2012.
  21. ^ "RSL champion is farewelled". Courier Mail. Retrieved 23 March 2012.

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