In a fitting tribute to a Hunter league stalwart, Shortland’s Tuxford Park has been renamed in honour of Robert “Bob” Palmer, whose life was tragically cut short last year.
The ground’s number one oval will now forever serve as a reminder of his incredible contribution to the local community – and his beloved Shortland Devils RLFC.
On 12 December, Mr Palmer was killed while walking a dog, leading to an outpouring of grief.
His daughter, Mollie, said the renaming of the oval was a special gesture that was proudly welcomed by his family.
“He is sadly missed by all who were fortunate to have him as a part of their lives,” Ms Palmer said.
“Our family has great pride in the legacy he has left at the football club and in the Shortland community.”
The Shortland Devils RLFC, Mr Palmer’s family and residents will come together on Old Boys Day, on Saturday 26 June, for a special ceremony at 2.45pm to dedicate the ground.
President Brock Johnson said the renaming of the oval was a fitting tribute for a man who gave countless hours over many years to his beloved rugby league club.
“It is with great pride that we will officially unveil the signage for Bob Palmer Oval on our Old Boys Day,” he stated.
“Robert “Bobby” Palmer was an extremely special member of our organisation – and the greater Shortland community.
“He was and shall remain one of the true legends of Shortland.
“Bobby’s involvement in our club extends back to the 70s when he first began playing junior footy for the Devils.
“He continued all the way through to his passing in many different capacities.
“Bobby was passionate about our club and donated countless hours to his beloved Devils marking lines, mowing the fields, cooking barbecues, running water, coaching and time keeping.
“He was a stalwart of the club and has made such an immense contribution to not only rugby league but the wider community.
“We are proud to keep his memory alive through this tribute.”
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the renaming of the oval was in response to a request from numerous people to honour Mr Palmer’s lifelong commitment to the Shortland community and the Shortland Devils RLFC.
“The death of Bob Palmer in 2020 saw the entire Shortland community and many people across the entire City, grieve his tragic loss, and the senseless circumstances which sadly cut his life short,” she explained.
“We have worked with Shortland Devils Rugby League Football Club committee and Bob’s family to make sure his legacy as ‘Mr Shorty’ is commemorated at Tuxford Park in perpetuity.”