DIARY OF A RETIRED RUGBY LEAGUE WRITER – WEEK 47 2016
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 24
Steve Haddan delivers a copy of his book, ‘Our Game’. We have a great chat about footy. Former Easts’ (Brisbane) skipper, Les Geeves gave Steve some wonderful photographs for the book. Steve had former Test skipper, Wally Lewis and his wife, Jacqui over for dinner recently. Steve also attended a meeting of a St George (Sydney) Supporters Club chapter at Tweed Heads. Just retired Test forward, Ben Creagh was there. Steve is a Dragons’ man, and in Brisbane supports Valleys.
FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 25
Address senior age students at Redcliffe Leagues Club (re the media) at the invitation of Gary Bishop. Gary is a son of former British Test halfback, Tommy Bishop, who now lives at Redcliffe. I fondly recall attending a get-together of former British Lions’ league players in Sydney during the 2006 Tri-Series, which I covered for The Courier-Mail. Mick Barber – son of former Redcliffe prop, and later coach, John Barber – is among the staff with the senior age students. Lunch at Morgan’s Seafood, where Marie and I run into former Courier-Mail chief sports photographer, Jim Fenwick. He is about to holiday at Brunswick Heads, where, back in 1972, he was holidaying at a caravan park near the Pacific Highway bridge, when there was an horrific accident, involving a petrol tanker, a semi-trailer laden with sheet metal, and a car towing a caravan. In the ensuing fireball, the drivers of the heavy vehicles lost their lives, but the couple in the car towing the caravan survived, by jumping into the river, if my memory serves me well. I was in the office of the Murwillumbah police station, as part of my rounds for The Daily News newspaper, when word came through of the accident. Photographer, Doug Collision drove me there, at breakneck speed, over the treacherous Burringbar Range, thinking we would be the first media on the scene. But we were scooped on two fronts. Jim Fenwick got picks of the fireball, as did a photographer from the Northern Star (Lismore), who was out on the river doing a story on the fishing industry (I think it was Tom O’Connor). All Doug Collision got were photographs of the smoldering wrecks. It was a grisly scene.
Drive home from Redcliffe, via the beach front, and it is sad to see vacant land where Filmers Palace Hotel once stood. The Hotel, which has been knocked down in the name of progress, was the first venue where famed local band, The Bee Gees, played for money.
I remember having a beer there, with my dad, watching boats return from Moreton Island.
SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 26
Neighbor, Sue Ellicott has coffee with us. She is moving. Her first husband, David Moore, from Hall in the ACT, was involved with the Graziers’ Association. They had trade postings to Italy, Yugoslavia and Korea.
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27
At Brothers, I run into our youngest son, Lliam’s business partner, John Degotardi and another close mate, Nick Braban, who is spokesman for Fortitude Valley entertainment venues. One of our drinking group reckons controversial trade union, the CFMEU, will go the same way as the Painters and Dockers, a union which was deregistered in 1993 because of its alleged criminal dealings. My drinking mate worked on the docks.
Photo: Scene of the Brunswick Heads crash.