WEDNESDAY, MAY 27.
To Bundaberg for the funeral of Marie’s elderly Aunty Beryl Geraghty (nee Currie), who died last week. Her late husband, Laurie was in the Light Horse in World War II. Beryl’s grandson, Ben does a good job with the eulogy. The wake is held at Beryl’s daughter, Donna’s place. Ben tells us all about the community work he is involved with ‘Fred’s Place, Tweed Heads, a St Vincent de Paul refuge for the homeless. His mate, a former soldier, speaks at length about global conspiracies. Marie and I go to the ‘Old Bundy Tavern’ to watch the first State of Origin match. Queensland win 11-10 thanks to a Cooper Cronk field goal, but the match is not of a high standard. Marie rates Qld centre, Will Chambers the man of the match, and commentator, former Qld skipper, Trevor Gillmeister, later expresses the same view. Qld hooker, Cameron Smith is official man of the match.
Former Murwillumbah Brothers’ teammate, Alan Nunan phones on his return from a European trip. He loved Turkey, but rated Naples the disappointment. “A filthy place”, he says.
Learn of the death of Walkley award winning journalist, John Stubbs, in Lismore – from cancer. I met ‘Stubbsy’ a few times and he was always interesting company.
THURSDAY, MAY 28
Excellent coffee from Leaf and Bean in Bundaberg. Return to Brisbane via lunch (with backpackers) at excellent Behan’s Bar and Grill in Childers. The proprietor is a NSW State of Origin and Manly supporter, and also a great fan of that great cricket all rounder, Doug Walters.
Beenleigh High dominate the Pacific Conference Rugby League Tournament, a cause of great pride for our son, Damien, who teaches at the school.
Learn that the old Armed Forces ‘Drill Hall’ in Casino is up for sale and the local community wants it turned into a military museum. I stayed there one weekend on a bivouac with the Murwillumbah High Army cadets. I remember we carried one bloke, a heavy sleeper, on his camp bed, to an island in the middle of the adjoining (shallow) Richmond River, and that’s where he woke up as the sun rose. True story.
SATURDAY, MAY 30
Noted author, Adrian McGregor delivers a fascinating Ross Livermore Lecture about the 1990 Kangaroo tour of England and France, and the rise to greatness of skipper, Mal Meninga, who was voted BBC’s Overseas Sports Star of the Year after his deeds in Australia’s successful defence of the Ashes Trophy, notably, his last minute try at Old Trafford to win the Second Test and level the series. McGregor had moved to England six monhs before the tour, living at the Pennines village of Delph, researching the history of the code, and the club sides the ‘Roos would play. His book was to be the third in the trilogy on ‘The King’, Wally Lewis, but the Australian skipper was controversially ruled out because of an arm injury, hence Adrian’s focus on Meninga.
There is a bad crusher tackle (is there a good one) by Gold Coast Titans prop, Ryan James on Souths’ superstar, Greg Inglis in tonight’s match at Robina. James is cited, but escapes suspension.
A minutes silence is observed before the Salford v Widnes match in England, in honour of Martin Griffin who died of a heart attack, aged 58. Martin’s three sons, Darrell, Josh and George have all played for Salford.
SUNDAY, MAY 31
A lovely morning at the Gold Coast with our son, Damien, his wife, Emma and dog, Torres, including a walk at the dog-off-leash zone at ‘The Spit’. It’s hilarious seeing so many dogs run hither and thither. But the smell from the rubbish bin, on the walk to the beach, is ripe, to say the least. Coffee at ‘Beaches’, Main Beach where our waitress is from Tarporley in Cheshire, England, a place we know from several overnight stays with former Great Britain rugby league centre, Eric Hughes and his wife, Jackie. The (fox) Hunt used to go past their place.
Meanwhile, in Grafton, bitter rivals, Rebels and Ghosts battle it out for the Viv Hodge Memorial Shield, named in honour of former Rebels and Ghosts prop. Rebels win 28-20.