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Anthony John Foster

12-01-1953 - 26-05-2017

Funeral Details

10:30 AM
Wednesday 7th June 2017 at Elizabeth Murdoch Hall - Melbourne Recital Centre, 31 Sturt St, Southbank, VIC

This initial Tribute Site has been established for Anthony Foster who died unexpectedly last Friday. We will also publish funeral details when they are available and confirmed.

In time, Chrissie and her family may choose to creatively develop Anthony's tribute with more personal memories, photos, stories, etc..

The site gives all Australians an opportunity to post a permanent tribute to a brave and determined father whose family life was so severely damaged by one of Australia 's worst cases of child sexual abuse.

Their two young daughters, Emma and Kate were the victims of their parish priest, Kevin O'Donnell. Chrissie told the horrific story of the girls' sexual assault in her brilliant book, written in conjunction with Paul Kennedy, Hell on the Highway to Heaven. The book not only told the girls' terrible story, but also exposed the abject failure of the Catholic Church to accept, address and appropriately respond to this scandal.

Anthony and Chrissie's story and advocacy was a prime factor in the establishment of the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and the subsequent Royal Commission into the Institutional Response of Child Sexual Abuse.

Over two decades Anthony and Chrissie became the media public face for victims/survivors and advocates/supporters as they gave insightful commentary during both the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and the Royal Commission.

They were a constant presence in the public hearings. They provided calm, clear and strong advice to countless others, and always acted with wisdom, dignity and grace.

It is sad, that after the extraordinary contributions of Anthony and Chrissie, that Anthony will not see the final report and recommendations of the Royal Commission. That said, so much of the good that will result from this Royal Commission will be his lasting legacy.

Anthony has been a remarkable father, husband and advocate for the victims/survivors of child sexual abuse. He gave his all, at extraordinary personal cost. With Chrissie, Anthony has been so instrumental in making Australia a safer place for our children.

We are so pleased to hear the announcement that there will be a State Funeral, and the details will be confirmed here as soon as they are available. We invite Australians to post their tributes to Anthony and offer their condolences to Chrissie and the Foster family.

Phil O'Donnell & Terry Laidler (Directors of The Last Post)

Tributes

John Van Raay

June 10th, 2017 at 8:16 am

Over two centuries ago Napoleon said, "Put your iron hand in a velvet glove." One century ago President Roosevelt said, "Speak softly and carry a big stick." Neither of those men knew Anthony Foster. A man of this century. Anthony took his iron hand of truth to the Melbourne Archdiocese. Then took his big stick and brave men of Ballarat across the world to a tiny pretend nation state, which conveniently provides sanctuary and diplomatic immunity for miraculously, ontologically transformed men of God. Anointed as the 'Princes of the church'. Over twenty years ago our two worlds collided under uniquely, horrible circumstances. As we all grieve along with Chrissie, Aimee and Katie, in these past days, some have suggested I was his wingman. Perhaps I was their wingman avoiding the media. But without dispute, their public wingman is Paul Kennedy. Your professionalism has shone over these last days. Thankyou Paul. I was in the shadows as the horrors of Emma and Katie's demons wreaked havoc, whilst Aimee struggled in the chaos. I walked as 'Bill Nelson' in Chrissie and Paul's book, 'Hell on the way to Heaven', then its elevation to the Victorian Parliamentary library, including the Italian version. Together we walked through many stages of our State Inquiry, resulting in the 'Betrayal of Trust' Report. When the historical Royal Commission was announced by then PM Julia Gillard, we were up and running to the Melbourne County Court. There we witnessed Justice Peter McClellan's opening address, along with the seven days of Case Study 16. After my Private Session with Royal Commissioner Bob Atkinson, Chrissie and Anthony even made time to lunch with my wife Monica and I to debrief. Anthony was always on a serious mission, but he never took himself too seriously. It was a rare trait he possessed. We also enjoyed many lighter moments. On more than one occasion we went bush dancing in a Gippsland hall, to 'Strip the Willow' or do a 'Heel and Toe'. We even planted trees for Landcare. Along with another survivor and his wife, we gave Chrissie and Anthony a Red Oak tree, that was planted at their bush haven, to mark the beginning of the Royal Commission. Now Chrissie, as I approach the end of my tribute a private confession needs to be made. Just to you. No one else is listening. Bless me Chrissie for I have sinned, it has been too long since my last confession. A small but growing group of individuals have seduced me. We were plotting behind your back to nominate you and Anthony for an Australian of the Year award. We can later discuss my penance. For all the people eavesdropping, due to the unforeseen change in circumstances, perhaps a nomination for Anthony in the posthumous category for 2018 should be considered, as the precedent of Eddie Mabo's award has been established. Bryan Keon Cohen who dedicated much of his career to that historic Mabo ruling, also worked with Anthony, contributing many solid legal submissions to our State Inquiry and Royal Commission. Thankyou Bryan. Anthony John Foster, quintessential family man, atheist and plumber, began a legacy which lifted the hopes of many devastated, innocent childhoods from the deepest chasms of their humanity. Given voice and wings so we can continue to fly higher than we ever dreamt! So as we bid farewell, on behalf of every other man, women and child affected by the disease of paedophilia, we say thankyou. I will always cherish the moments we talked; we listened; we walked; we danced; we wrote; we toiled; we laughed; we cried; we wined; we dined; we dreamt; we flew. But most of all mate, we lived. As eternity beckons, Anthony, leave your iron hand and big stick behind. Take your soft voice and velvet glove, you deserve now to rest in peace. Thankyou.

Lyle Bullock

June 8th, 2017 at 6:35 pm

As a friend Anthony was kind and gentle. He should be remembered as a brave man who in conjuction with Chrissie was prepared to denounce the Catholic Church and its hieracharchy for the way they were prepared to hide the many vile paedophile within its ranks.

Julia Janai

June 7th, 2017 at 12:34 pm

I just cried all the way through ABC Melbourne radio's broadcast of Anthony's state funeral. So healing. So inspiring. For anyone who has been abused and betrayed in any way by any one at any time, Anthony and Chrissie are, and will forever remain, true super heroes. Rest in Peace now Anthony. To Chrissie and the whole Foster family I wish you the many blessings that you deserve for the rest of your lives. My deepest sympathies to you on the passing of Anthony. Julia

Helen Basili

June 7th, 2017 at 7:55 am

Thank you Anthony, for your dignity and grace and for all you have done to make the world a better place. Your courage is inspirational!

Raymond D'Brass

June 6th, 2017 at 11:42 am

My love and thoughts go out to the amazing Chrissie Foster along with all of Anthony and Chrissie's family and friends. Like many others, I have been inspired by Anthony's example of dignity, love and courage through tragic and extraordinary circumstances. His sudden passing does nothing to extinguish this spark left in myself and others, now and in the future. Many survivors of abuse have been supported and countless numbers of children have been protected, in part, due to the efforts of Anthony. I feel honored to have briefly met Anthony and to thank him for what he has done and what it means to me. For those few minutes in the company of Chrissy, Anthony and a couple of their close friends, I couldn't help but feel that I was surrounded by Love. Rest in peace you Good, Brave Man.

JOHN & LIZZIE MOORE

June 5th, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Anthony, a shining comet in an indigo sky. What a gift you were! You are right up there, with our great Australian war heroes. Thank you for every single little thing you have done for survivors and for your tireless, educational preventative work, over so many years. We are shocked and very sad, that you can no longer be on earth with your soul-mate Chrissie, with Katie, Aimee and her husband and your beautiful grandchildren. You fought valiantly and you suffered much. We know that Eternal Light shall shine upon you. Requiescat in Pace. Lizzie and John Moore, Longlea, Victoria.

David O'Brien

June 4th, 2017 at 9:29 pm

Tragic loss to Victoria - for a family that suffered so much I was always increasingly impressed by Antony, Chrissie and family's courage, determination and dignity to do everything that they could to ensure that truth and justice prevailed and that what happened to the daughters would not happen to others. A lovely man whom I'm sure will be sorely missed by all who knew him especially his family. May he rest in peace with the knowledge that his family's courageous has already contributed greatly to the better protection of many children and vulnerable Australians.

Lookout, Healesville.

June 4th, 2017 at 1:01 pm

Lookout, Healesville.  We are inspired, Chrissie, by you and Anthony. When others would have hidden or turned their face away, you have faced the world with a quiet determined demand that church people own up to what they've done. In the Victorian Inquiry and Royal Commission you have been there with courage and support for victims abused as trusting children. Anthony is taken too soon, but we will not shrink back. We will continue to confront the evil, for healing, with compassion, in truth and love. Anthony, you're gone, mate. I am heart-broken. You leave behind you a heap of priceless lessons on how to deal with adversity, a heartless church, and grief. I am the richer for having met you, mate. Cheers. Ian Lawther

Amy Shields

June 4th, 2017 at 12:11 pm

Dear Anthony, Thank you to you and your family for inviting and welcoming me into all of your lives. You showed me the strength of a united family unit and what such a bond can overcome and achieve. Thank you for always making the time to listen and let others be heard, providing logical advice when needed. Your patience, kindness, strength, loyalty and determination continues to inspire. Thank you for the gift of your presence, it is an honour to have known you. A genuine excitement for life sparkled through your eyes and will forever shine into the distance. With love, Amy.

Catherine Dooley On Behalf Of Survivors Of Child S

June 3rd, 2017 at 8:56 pm

Thankyou Anthony for showing our world that a broken heart can beat with such enormous strength. Your testament lives on in the resolve of many you have inspired in your commitment to justice and compassion. Our thoughts are with Chrissie, Katie and Aimee at this terribly sad time.

Barbara Leighton

June 3rd, 2017 at 9:00 am

I have admired both Anthony and Chrissie Foster for decades. They have helped me remain strong and determined in exposing coverup within the church. Though I have never met him I will never forget his obvious gentleness, yet profound strength despite the grief and burdens he had to bare. I wish I could adequately express my admiration for both he and Chrissie. I extend my deepest sympathy to all the family. He will never be forgotten.

Jean Parry

June 2nd, 2017 at 10:53 pm

Chrissie and Anthony Foster became a powerful source of compassion ,support and guidance for the voiceless, institutional sexual abuse victims, the lost victims and the wounded families of people abused as children. They came from a position of dire tragic experience in their own family. I won't forget my recent connection with them. I extend my support and condolences to Chrissie and her daughters and grandchildren. Jean Parry

Sheila Corcoran

June 1st, 2017 at 7:49 pm

My tribute is in the form of an acrostic poem for Anthony Foster, a person I never met but admire enormously. An ardent supporter, Nothing phased him. Tirelessly campaigning with Honesty and integrity, Only to be rebuked. Never giving up through Years of determination with Chrissy.

Terry And Patricia Hamilton

June 1st, 2017 at 3:35 pm

We send love to Chrissie, her daughters and family. When we met Anthony and Chrissie last week in Ballarat we couldn't find the words of comfort that we needed. Now we express our enormous pride to have stood with the most inspirational couple that we are ever likely to meet. We are so grateful for the tireless example of love and compassion that you and Anthony portray in the fight for justice. You helped those who could speak and spoke for those who couldn't. We send our love and gratitude for a devotion both personal and public that has changed the world enormously for the better.

In Good Faith Foundation Board And Staff With The

June 1st, 2017 at 3:30 pm

We extend our deepest sympathies to Chrissie, Aimee, Katie and your extended family at this most painful time. We know Anthony as a tireless campaigner for survivors and their families in Australia and internationally. His courageous witnessing and presence particularly throughout the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry and the Royal Commission has given inspiration to us all. Undoubtedly Anthony’s accomplishments over the past three decades has ensured that the needs of survivors will continue to be heard. His legacy will continue to inspire and influence our work at the Foundation and our advocacy and service to survivors now and into the future. Anthony will be remembered by us all and his leadership will be sorely missed.

Karen Flanagan AM

June 1st, 2017 at 2:11 pm

I had the privilege of working closely with Anthony and Chrissie over the years in our quest to protect children from institutional child sexual abuse.We have cried and laughed together, in particular the day we did 62 media interviews between us up in Sydney several years ago. I was only just asking Anthony a few weeks ago what his plans were post Royal Commission. Now we know, he will be with his precious daughter, which will be of some consolation to the family. Your work will continue Anthony, rest assured. Thinking of Chrissie and the girls at this incredibly sad time.

Rhonda Garad

June 1st, 2017 at 6:23 am

I never met Anthony but I have enormous respect for him and his family. I am so grateful for the work he and his wife did in bringing the sexual abuse that was enabled by the catholic church to light. He was articulate, erudite and effective in highlighting he immense suffering of the victims of church abuse. He was tireless and credible and did to much for so many. May he rest in peace.

Karen Gosse

June 1st, 2017 at 5:22 am

Dear Chrissie and Anthony, you both have done more for humanity than any other person I have ever known. There can be no greater crime than the abuse of children. I believe Anthony is now in a beautiful place with your gorgeous Emma, and hopefully my Angel Mikayla has now met in a beautiful place, a place where the Evil on this planet will never get too. Your legacy for the children of this country and the world is the greatest achievement, may your strength live on for the betterment of humanity Love to you and your daughters Chrissie and to all who loved this outstanding man

Matt Hogan

May 31st, 2017 at 8:32 pm

I have never met Anthony nor his family my thoughts are with you all. As a victim myself of horrendous acts, cover ups and lies by the catholic church, and going through the process of the melbourne response at the moment, which will only offer a band aid compensation offer, I can see a feel why Anthony and Chrissie fought for justice and committed themselves the past to decades to make the church accountable for the devil the church has created has created. A great loss to all and real leadership and commitment shown by both Anthony and Chrissie I will be attending your funeral to pay my respects to you and your family and may your fight continue in the name of justice RIP old mate

Muriel West

May 31st, 2017 at 5:45 pm

Dear Chrissy, Katie and Aimee. I am very saddened by Anthony's passing, he was a wonderful kind generous man who loved his family and respected others, I remember when our children were at school together and how gracious and full of love your family was. The horrible times your family have had to deal with over the years is incomprehensible and many families would have been beaten, but Chrissy, you and Anthony never gave up. Your family is truly amazing and loved by everyone. I am keeping you all in my heart x

Pamela Chambers

May 31st, 2017 at 5:34 pm

What a brave, stong and compassionate couple you were. So sad to end in such a tragic manner. I can only hope that his family find strength to get through yeat another sad challenge in their lives. RIP

Nihal Fernando

May 31st, 2017 at 5:12 pm

Urged by the tragedy perpetrated on his daughters which no parent should have to bear, ever, Anthony Foster fought a battle for all the innocent children of the world, that they may be safe. His is a name that should be writ large in the annals of human history for all to see for all time. May he Rest in Peace. My deepest sympathies to his family and other loved ones.

Alliance For Forgotten Australians - Caroline Carr

May 31st, 2017 at 2:42 pm

The Chair, Board, Members, friends and staff of The Alliance for Forgotten Australians are deeply saddened by the death of Anthony Foster. We extend our love, sympathy and thoughts to Chrissie Foster and her family. With Chrissie by his side, Anthony campaigned for many years for justice for the survivors of abuse. He did so tirelessly; with great dignity, poise and determination. For many, he will always be a hero. For many, he was an inspiration. For the Alliance for Forgotten Australians, he was a true friend. Vale Anthony.

Denis Healy

May 31st, 2017 at 1:26 pm

I am deeply saddened by the loss of a very fine man. I never met Anthony, but since the publication of Chrissie's book, I have followed their intense struggle on behalf of their children and other victims of clerical abuse. He will be remembered as a man who epitomized decency and humanity.

Bob Munro

May 31st, 2017 at 9:14 am

Anthony's approach to dealing with the abuse of his and Chrissie's children and subsequently the way he was treated by church authorities was plain and simple - speak the truth. He was there at every stage of the Victorian Inquiry and the Royal Commission as a reminder to those giving testimony that in representing the abused they knew the truth. While their faith in the human face of the church was shattered, they represented the best of humanity and tried valiantly to achieve a just compensation scheme for those who's lives were irrevocably affected. Anthony & Chrissie as husband and wife were united in their love for each other and their family. Anthony will be sorely missed by the many people he supported and encouraged. Valé to a man of integrity and courage.

Parent Committee Mentone-Parkdale

May 31st, 2017 at 7:43 am

So sad to hear of the passing of our friend Anthony, who unselfishly gave of himself to make our community better. His advice, support, strength of character and moral resolve were inspirational to us and we are eternally grateful to him. A humble bloke who achieved great things. A giant amongst men who epitomised Australian values - defending the vulnerable despite personal cost, standing up to bullies, voicing his opinion and never, ever giving up. Our thoughts are with Chrissie, Katie and Aimee. Parent Committee Mentone-Parkdale - Andrea Wilkins, Ivan Bobetic, Sarah Joseph, Lachlan Mullins, Dina Watterson, Andrew Pope, Brie Richardson

Jacqueline Coss

May 30th, 2017 at 9:48 pm

What a Legend you are Anthony Foster but...too, too sad to think this is true... I have read lots about you. I have read Chrissie's book. It took a long time because I could not bear to read more of the pain you all endured for decades and the layer upon layer of pain at that. I met you and Chrissie and the Royal Commission on several occasions and was amazed by your ability to be 'civil', friendly and so caring and interested in others including myself and my children, after what you have experienced. And Anthony, I witnessed your tenacity... bravery...loyalty...love when you brought (dragged) the shameful Archbishop Anthony Fisher back into the hearing room on the afternoon of February 24, 2017 - for his disgusting behaviour when he failed to take an opportunity presented to him that day, as you and Chrissie sat directly in front of him - to publicly and honestly apologise for what HE said during World Youth Day, media conference in 2008, quote: "Happily, I think most of Australia was enjoying, delighting in the beauty and goodness of these young people rather than DWELLING CRANKILY, AS A FEW PEOPLE ARE DOING, ON OLD WOUNDS. " Most of us in the hearing room as well as many watching the life stream, were waiting nervously and impatiently for Archbishop Fisher to apologise to you and Chrissie on that day! He failed to. He neglected to. He thought he had got out of the hearing room. But Anthony, many in the room that day witnessed you, bravely and with complete love for your wife...bring Archbishop Fisher from the exit of the Royal Commission hearing room, back down to the front to Chrissy, to explain what he could have possibly 'meant' in that statement he made during the media conference in 2008. How courageous of you. I will never forget watching you do that! I am pleased Chrissie dedicated a whole chapter of her book to this appalling event, which now remains without closure for your family, and the untold numbers of other who care about this. As Chrissie wrote: "Emma had died just six months earlier...every day Emma was still dead...Katie had been almost completely disabled for the past 10 years...every day she was still disabled...WHEN DID THE WOUNDS BECOME OLD?" Archbishop Fisher's comments, behaviour and neglect are a disgusting example of human behaviour. I am so sorry that you and your family endured the indescribable pain that you did, right to the end of your life. It is not fair

Karen Glenn

May 30th, 2017 at 9:05 pm

To Chris, from our time working together at Police HQ when you were pregnant with darling Emma. You and Anthony fought for your children and others with dignity and grace. I doubt that I would have ever been able to be as dignified as you both have been. Many hearts ached for you before, and ache even more now. I am so sorry for the loss of your wonderful and special husband and father.

Kathy Tindal

May 30th, 2017 at 7:12 pm

A true Gentleman who fought hard and long, with his beloved Chrissie for all who suffered so tragically at the hands of the Catholic Church. You will be missed by everyone, but always remembered with love and thanks.

Bronywn Halfpenny MP

May 30th, 2017 at 3:52 pm

VALE ANTHONY FOSTER. I was so sad to hear the devastating news of Anthony's passing. I first met Anthony and his wife Chrissie during the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry, which culminated in the Betrayal of Trust Report. Together, Anthony and Chrissie showed immense courage and resolve by standing up for their family and so many others who had been silenced. I will always have the utmost respect and admiration for Anthony and Chrissie. The depth of love they had for each other and their children was clearly evident in their advocacy work, which will forever change how we as a society respond to child sexual abuse. My deepest condolences to Chrissie and her family.

Frank McGuire – Deputy Chair Of The Victorian Pa

May 30th, 2017 at 2:54 pm

Immediate response to Chrissie Foster after she informed him at 7.36 a.m. on Saturday, May 27, of Anthony’s death. Dear Chrissie, You and Anthony are the most courageous people I have met. You found the words for those who struggled, or could not speak. You gave hope to people who clung to the truth but had no power. Your perseverance means there can be no more wilful blindness. Your leadership has delivered cultural, generational and systemic change. Your fortitude in bearing witness saved lives. Your strength epitomised parenthood in standing up for your children and protecting so many more. The news is gut-wrenching, the loss is profound but the legacy will never be forgotten.

John Uglow

May 30th, 2017 at 1:30 pm

How sad and I hope his wife has strength in the knowledge that every decent person in Australia and elsewhere is thinking of her and their surviving daughter

Daniel Andrews - Premier Of Victoria

May 29th, 2017 at 1:30 pm

History will record that a man named Anthony Foster quietly and profoundly changed Australian history. Anthony fought evil acts committed against his daughters. He and Chrissie lost so much, but never their dignity, grace and strength. Anthony won't be forgotten and the fight for justice goes on. I offered his family a State Funeral in his honour. His wife, Chrissie, has accepted.

Justice Peter McClellan - Royal. Commissioner

May 29th, 2017 at 1:04 pm

VALE ANTHONY FOSTER The Commissioners and staff of the Royal Commission are deeply saddened by the death of Anthony Foster. We extend our condolences to Chrissie Foster and her family. Anthony and Chrissie dedicated many years of their lives to bringing about justice for survivors of child sexual abuse. Their tireless advocacy helped bring about the Royal Commission. They attended hundreds of days of public hearings and participated in many of our policy round tables. With a dignity and grace, Anthony and Chrissie generously supported countless survivors and their families whilst also managing their own grief. Commissioners and staff at the Royal Commissionare deeply shocked and saddened by this news.

Flora Macdonald

May 28th, 2017 at 10:26 am

I never met Anthony but he stands tall in my memory. For all his efforts on behalf of the children I thank him sincerely. May he rest in peace. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends.

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