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Former AAP Editor Lyall Rowe dead at 93

AAP logoAAP 10/10/2016 By Mike Osborne

Lyall Rowe, a veteran Olympic reporter and former editor of Australian Associated Press, has died a month shy of his 94th birthday.

Rowe joined AAP in 1949, worked in the news agency's London bureau in the early 1950s, becoming news editor in 1957, and then editor in 1975.

He organised and ran the coverage of a total of 16 Olympic and Commonwealth Games for AAP, receiving an MBE for services to journalism in 1980.

A depression-era kid from the Victorian country, Walter Lyall Rowe started his journalistic life as a proof reader's assistant on the Sunraysia Daily, Mildura, in 1938.

After five years war service in the RAAF, he worked at the Melbourne Sun News-Pictorial and the Warrnambool Standard before joining AAP

For the next three decades Rowe was the energetic heart of the national news agency and one of the major architects of its continuing expansion.

"Lyall Rowe will be remembered as a formidable figure in the newsroom who set a standard for the hard work and organisational skill that underpinned AAP's transformation into a modern news operation during the communications revolution," said AAP Editor-in-Chief Tony Gillies.

"The strong foundations he laid during his time are a significant part of the news agency's DNA and we are forever grateful for his contribution."

Rowe's involvement with major sporting events started with the Empire Games in Auckland in 1950.

Two years later, he and the late veteran newspaper editor and author Harry Gordon covered the Helsinki Olympics.

He regarded the 1972 Munich Olympics and AAP's coverage of the tragic massacre of 11 Israeli athletes as a career highlight.

Rowe's regime of early starts enabled AAP to be the first international news organisation to report the start of the massacre, feeding the breaking news to Reuters.

Despite finishing with AAP at the end of 1982, Rowe came back to play an advisory role at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.

His later life was spent at Nelson Bay, north of Newcastle, where he died on Monday. He is survived by his wife Peggy, 92, and sons Adrian and Neil. Two other children pre-deceased him.

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