MONDAY, APRIL 25
Moving ANZAC Day dawn service at Surfers Paradise. Former Test rugby league prop, Glenn Lazarus lays a wreath. One bloke near me wears a Roosters’ rugby league polo, another sports an All Blacks rugby union jersey, a real ANZAC scene. Local schools are well represented. The parents of a deceased Afghanistan vet., lay a wreath in his honor. Later a RAAF Hornet flies over.
My brother, Andrew watches the NRL double header on television in Da Nang Vietnam. Greg Ashton, former Tweed Heads Seagulls’ player, represents his late father, deceased Roosters’ legend, Ferris Ashton (who served in the Royal Australian Navy) in the pre-match ANZAC ceremonies at the Sydney Football Stadium. The military marching band is magnificent. That’s all the ‘entertainment’ you need before a footy match.
Fox Classics feature the movie, ‘40,000 Horsemen’. I remember my dad telling me they filmed some of the scenes in the sand hills at Cronulla/Kurnell and he was correct.
TUESDAY, APRIL 26
Calamari and whitebait fritters on the water at Noosaville before checking into our apartment at Noosa. 1992 match – Gold Coast Seagulls v Illawarra Steelers – is shown on Fox. I covered that match at Tweed Heads, with the Coast winning 18-8, despite the loss of Kiwi Test prop, Brent Todd, who was sent off by referee, Eddie Ward in the first minute for a high shot on David Walsh. Later Seagulls lost their two premiership points because of an inter-change stuff-up. It was my exclusive story, courtesy of a tip-off from a fan at Gatton, that alerted the authorities to the ‘illegality’. It gave me no pleasure writing the story, but League boss, John Quayle told me the mistake would have been uncovered later in the week, as all matches were reviewed. What particularly upset me, was the fact the finger of blame pointed at ‘Gulls inter-change official, Elwyn Walters, a former Test hooker and one of the game’s nice guys. He didn’t speak to me after that.
Marie and I to ‘The Sheraton’ bar for a drink – barmaid commutes from Pomona. Next stop, the surf club, where Coopers’ schooners are $9!!!! Dinner at Rococo, with Spanish guitarists providing background music. The manager, originally from South Australia, and previously at Pier 9 in Brisbane. He brings out a Sherrin (Australian rules) football to show a diner, a rep. from Ladbrokes, who lives at Manly in Sydney, but is an AFL fan!
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 27
Great surf at Noosa’s main beach, followed by spa. Watch movie ‘A Royal Night Out’. Pleasant enough. Jew fish for dinner. My grandfather, William Ricketts, caught many fine jew fish off the Clarence Coast – Yamba, Iluka, Brooms Head – in northern New South Wales.
THURSDAY, APRIL 28
Lovely early morning surf, then a light lunch at Sunshine Beach. St Andrews College kids lunch in park. Dinner at Sails, including oysters from Camden Haven, where my good mate, Malcolm Minns once lived. Our waiter is from Galway in Ireland. Late night drinks at Miss Money Penny’s where parents allow their kids to run riot, with one kid almost charging in front of a car cruising up Hastings Street. The kid’s father seemed very casual about the near miss, but appears a little chastened after a senior citizen from Charleville (he owns half the town, evidently) chats him.
FRIDAY, APRIL 29
Some real dumpers making surfing at Noosa’s main beach hazardous. I remember as a kid deliberately catching the worst dumpers for the thrill of it, not realising the potential for a broken neck. Drinks tonight at ‘Village Bicycle’ bar at Noosa Junction. Great name. Bought Mahi Mahi from seafood van – for dinner.
Back in Brisbane, our daughter, Melanie is in an Uber, which is pulled over by the relevant authorities, with the driver fined, as part of a clampdown.
SATURDAY, APRIL 30
Melanie joins us at Noosa, and mum and daughter shop in Hastings Street, while I watch Mitchell Pearce make his comeback (from suspension) for the Roosters, against Newcastle. Marie, Melanie and yours truly have a lovely night at Miss Money Penny’s (dinner and drinks) followed by live music at Rococo.
Learn of the death of the mother of my English photographer mate, Andrew Varley. She was a lovely, elegant woman, who lived in the beautiful village of Ledsham in West Yorkshire. Ledsham is also the home of rugby league legend, Malcolm Reilly.
SUNDAY, MAY 1
Lovely surf. Ordinary looking Pom near me, boasts to his girlfriend that he stole a fishing rod from Coles. Walking back to our apartment, Marie and I spot a strange looking dog in the bush. Looked like a Tasmanian Tiger. Scary.
I receive a nice email from Terrie Farrell, the daughter of former prominent Newcastle footballer, Bob Pannowitz. She was referring to the photograph (on my website) of the 1969 Murwillumbah Brothers side, which Bob captained-coached to the Tweed-Gold Coast premiership. Bob, now deceased, was the older brother of Australian representative forward, Terry Pannowitz. I played alongside Bob in 1970, when he made a comeback to help the struggling first grade side, and I had to double up, after playing under-18s. The star of our under-18s, Kel Sherry, played at least half the season first grade. When I left school at the end of 1970, I worked a few days at Bob’s passion fruit farm in the hills, to Murwillumbah’s east. I was next to useless, but Bob showed admirable patience.
Our eldest boy, Damien and his wife, Emma, do their last patrol of the season – at Main Beach (Southport).