Vale Ron Leslie: remembering the knowledgeable Westmead Hospital Porter

Staff gathered for a memorial service and smoking ceremony to farewell Ron Leslie.

For almost 40 years, proud Aboriginal man Ron Leslie scurried up and down the corridors of Westmead Hospital making sure patients were at the right place at the right time and ensuring the delivery of crucial goods and items throughout the hospital.

As a porter, Ron was well known throughout Westmead Hospital and adored his job. He worked across radiology, nuclear medicine, dental, pharmacy and the operating suites, and enjoyed meeting new people each day.

Ron was farewelled late last month in an intimate service at the Westmead Hospital Chapel with a touching eulogy by his brother Bob, commemoration by his manager Steven Morris and a traditional smoking ceremony.

“When Ron first started in September 1982, there weren’t many Aboriginal men working in western Sydney,” recalled Narelle Holden, WSLHD Aboriginal Liaison Officer.

He was very proud of his position and liked that his employment showed other Aboriginal men in the community that they could obtain jobs within the Western Sydney Local Health District.

“He really wanted to help others and would quickly make me aware of any Aboriginal clients who came into the hospital, ensuring I saw them.

“The Aboriginal smoking ceremony was in honour of him and will help his spirit to move on and make its journey to Ron’s dreaming.”

Ron was born in Coonabarabran but was raised in Blacktown attending Seven Hills West primary school and Blacktown Boys High school, where he achieved year 12 completion. Ron was one of seven children and was known by his family for his extreme independence and strong “Leslie’s work ethic”.

He was also a passionate Manly supporter, loved taking water aerobics at Blacktown pool, was a keen Rock and Roll dancer and enjoyed spending time with his close network of friends at his local Lalor Park hotel and Blacktown RSL.

Ron and Orderly Services Manager Steven Morris shared a special connection, both growing up in country NSW and working together for over 11 years.

“Ron could tell me about the happenings of the hospital 20 to 30 years ago and what year it was along with copies of the documentation,” laughed Steven.

“When Ron started working at Westmead Hospital on Monday 27 September 1982 the hospital was preparing for its 4th Birthday; so he was very knowledgeable.

“He was very good at his job and you could ensure he would always get the job done; his attention to detail was very strong.

“He will be missed by the Orderly Department.”