Colleagues and scholars from coast to coast, across Bass Strait and all the ships at sea.
In a recent conversation with my mother (now 80) she told me about an event in her childhood that quite surprised me.
It was a lovely warm day in April 1945 and she was walking along one of the many cosmopolitan streets in Alexandria, Egypt, just enjoying the day, when she heard a news bulletin breaking over a radio playing outside a store.
It was announced that President Franklin D. Roosevelt had died. Immediately my mother burst into tears. She was almost inconsolable.
Even though at the time she had little understanding of international affairs (she was only12) and had suffered terribly during the Second World War, including losing her father (a non-combatant) in an air raid in 1941, leaving her mother to care for seven children; the loss of the leader of the United States had affected her profoundly. A sadness she still felt all these years later.
When I asked her why, she replied by saying "I remember he was a good man, who wanted to do good things. He gave us hope for something better."
It illustrates how important hope is to us. How crucial the people who provide hope are; how much we need them; how much we love them; and how devastated we are when we lose them.
Aristotle said that "hope is a waking dream" and when we lose that hope, or the symbols thereof, those dreams can become bad dreams: empty, desolate and full of fear.
There are those who are said to be great, and then there are those who truly were. The difference is the latter provided hope, whereas the former were incapable of doing so.
Sadly, however, we only fully realise the importance of the hope that great people provided when they are no longer with us. Only then do we truly understand the magnitude of what we have lost.
The following words of our great symbols of hope and our reaction to losing them, speaks for itself.
President Franklin D. Roosevelt 1882-1945
"In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.
The first is freedom of speech and expression - everywhere in the world. The second is freedom of every person to worship God is his own way - everywhere in the world. The third is freedom from want - which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants - everywhere in the world. The fourth is freedom from fear - which, translated into world terms, means a world wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbour - anywhere in the world.
That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called 'new order' of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb."
State Of The Union Address. January 6, 1941.
President John F. Kennedy 1917-1963
"In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility - I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavour will light our country and all who serve it - and the glow from that fire can truly light the world.
And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country.
My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man."
Inaugural Address. January 20, 1961.
Senator Robert F. Kennedy 1925-1968
"It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centres of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance."
Day of Affirmation Speech. University of Cape Town, South Africa, June 6, 1966.
Crowds that gathered to witness Bobby Kennedy's funeral train.
John Winston Ono Lennon 1940-1980
"Imagine all the people, living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope some day you'll join us, and the world will be as one."
Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin 1922-1995
"I, I.D. Number 30743, Retired Lieutenant-General Yitzhak Rabin, a soldier in the Israeli Defence Forces, and a soldier in the army for peace; I, who sent regiments into the fire and soldiers to their deaths, I say to you: Today we are embarking on a battle that has no dead and no wounded, no blood and no anguish. This is the only battle that is a pleasure to wage - the battle for peace."
Speech to US Congress. July 26, 1994.
Diana, Princess of Wales 1961-1997
"I think the biggest disease this world suffers from in this day and age is the disease of people feeling unloved, and I know that I can give love for a minute, for half an hour, for a day, for a month, but I can give - I am very happy to do that and I want to do that."
Panorama interview, BBC, November 1995.
And yet, and yet; even when our dreams are dashed and all hope seems lost; sage words from another inspiring leader: