John Gillard moved his young family halfway around the world in 1966 so his younger daughter, Julia, could enjoy a warmer climate and have some respite from the chronic chest infections that plagued her.

Only in his wildest dreams could he have imagined that his little girl would go on to become prime minister and champion the education she believed he would loved to have had.

It was a journey the ”Ten Pound Pom” described as ”not bad”.

Mr Gillard, 83, whom the Prime Minister described as her ”inspiration”, died in Adelaide yesterday morning after a long illness.

”He taught me that nothing comes without hard work and demonstrated to me what hard work meant as a shift worker with two jobs,” Ms Gillard said in a statement.

”He taught me to be passionate about fairness. He taught me to believe in Labor and in trade unionism. But, above all, he taught me to love learning and to understand its power to change lives. He always regretted his family background meant he had not proceeded on to higher education as a young man. He was determined that I had the opportunities he was denied. I will miss him for the rest of my life.”

The Prime Minister was attending the APEC summit in Russia when she learnt of the news.

About 3pm a message had just gone out inviting reporters to watch Ms Gillard as she met the President of Peru.

Ms Gillard had just finished recording a television interview with Australia Network when told of her father’s passing. S

he had been about to step into a car to drive to the formal welcome to the summit.

When Trade Minister Craig Emerson appeared in her stead, Russian President Vladimir Putin was told the news.

”At the onset of our meeting I would like to say that one of our colleagues, the Australian Prime Minister, had a very unfortunate tragedy in her family,” the Russian President announced to the 19 other leaders gathered in the hall.

”Her father passed away so I would like on behalf of all of us to express condolences to her and members of her family.”

Ms Gillard left Vladivostok for Adelaide to join her mother, Moira, and sister Alison.

She will be represented at the meeting by Mr Emerson.

Ms Gillard often referred to her parents in her speeches and spoke lovingly of the sacrifices they had made to ensure she was given every chance to succeed.

In return, Mr and Mrs Gillard were vocal supporters of her daughter, often speaking out in her defence and praising her achievements.

Mr Gillard, a coalminer and psychiatric nurse, described himself as a ”loquacious Welshman” in one interview when he said his daughter knew better than to confide any political secrets in him.

Ms Gillard asked for privacy for herself and her family.

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