Blacktown mayor dies on flight back to China

The mayor of one of Sydney The council’s largest areas have died on a return flight from China after a study trip.

Blacktown Council mayor Tony Bleasdale, 77, was leading a delegation to the council’s sister cities in South Korea and China.

He has been a councilor since 1996 and mayor since 2019.

Tony Bleasdale, Mayor of Blacktown during a press conference on housing affordability.  Forest Lodge, February 15, 2024. Photo: Rhett Wyman / SMH
Blacktown Council Mayor Tony Bleasdale has died aged 77. (Rhett Wyman/SMH)

Bleasdale was awarded the Order of Australia in 2010 for his charity work and service to the Blacktown community.

Blacktown deputy mayor Chris Quilke said he learned of Bleasdale’s death with “great sadness”.

“First and foremost, our thoughts are with Nina, Tony’s wife, his children and his extended family,” Quilke said.

“Tony’s warm and engaging personality led him to forge many friendships across Sydney after arriving from the UK in 1963.

“Starting as a bricklayer, he worked for 40 years in the construction industry and, with tremendous drive and energy, established his own successful labor hire business.

“Tony served the community he loved with the same energy and commitment.

“First elected as a Blacktown City Councilor in 1996, Tony was a strong supporter of the area and a champion of Western Sydney.

Tony Bleasdale, Mayor of Blacktown Council
Blacktown Council Mayor Tony Bleasdale has died. (Facebook)

“He was proud of the incredible diversity of Blacktown City and was passionate about providing services and opportunities to its residents and businesses.

“Tony was also a passionate advocate for First Nations people.

“When Tony was elected mayor in 2019, he proved himself to be a visionary leader in transforming the city to better serve a growing population.

“He was instrumental in negotiating Walker Corporation’s $2 billion Blacktown Quarter project, which will deliver investment, jobs and growth.

“Tony was loved by his community and he loved her back, with a generous heart and a genuine commitment to a bright future.”

Premier Chris Minns said Bleasdale was a generous man with a big heart.

“As mayor of Blacktown, he worked to develop western Sydney, with a particular passion for helping his disadvantaged constituents,” Mr Minns said.

“His legacy is written all over the city he loved.

“Our thoughts and love are with Tony’s family and friends, including his beloved wife, Nina.”

Mayor of Blacktown Council, Councilor Tony Bleasdale OAM and Prue Car
Blacktown City Council Mayor Tony Bleasdale and New South Wales Deputy Premier Prue Car. (real car)

New South Wales Deputy Premier Prue Car said she was deeply saddened to hear of his death.

“Tony was well loved within the Blacktown community and fiercely defended local residents for over 30 years,” Car wrote on social media.

“He was also a great friend and mentor to me as we worked together in our shared communities for many years.

“My thoughts and love are with Mayor Nina Bleasdale and her entire family and loved ones.”

Federal Minister of Industry and Science Ed Husic said he is not just a mayor, but a “decent and caring person.”

“He was generous and always there for our people,” Husic said.

“I was never afraid to speak out, I believed I had a role to play in advancing social justice, bringing better outcomes to our community because they deserved better.

“I always thought a lot about him, I was lucky to know him.

“We have no control over when our departure will be, but something was not right about him leaving us the way he did.

“I am truly sorry for his family and know that many in our community will be deeply saddened to learn of his passing.”

Federal Communications Minister Michelle Rowland said Bleasdale fought passionately for the people of Blacktown for 30 years.

“Their sense of community and commitment to countless charities over the decades helped make Blacktown City the vibrant place it is today,” Rowland said.

“Tony really loved Blacktown, and I know there are many people today who will recover from this loss.

“Tony and I served on the Council together in the early 2000s.

“I will always remember his wicked sense of humor and his direct, no-nonsense way of communicating.”

Blacktown Council has been contacted for comment.