Pi­o­neers re­mem­bered THE Dou­glas re­gion lost two of its most loved pi­o­neers in re­cent weeks with the pass­ing of one of Aus­tralia’s long­est serv­ing light­house keep­ers Ernie Lone and Der­rick Good­man, a rev­o­lu­tion­ary cane farmer. The pays trib­ute to their con

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS -

WHEN Ernest Lone ap­plied to the Com­mon­wealth Light­house Ser­vice in 1956, lit­tle did the self-styled boat builder and Glad­stone wharfie know he was des­tined to be­come one of Aus­tralia’s long­est con­tin­u­ous serv­ing light­house keep­ers.

Ernie’s first post­ing was North Reef - a tiny, iso­lated atoll about 99km from Glad­stone - where he lived in sin­gle men’s quar­ters sep­a­rated from his young fam­ily who re­mained on the main­land.

Af­ter a stint of 10 months, Ernie trans­ferred to Lady El­liott Is­land with his wife, Bev, and two chil­dren, John and Sue.

John re­calls a “very unique and some­what dif­fi­cult life­style”. But de­spite the iso­la­tion and lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion, Ernie loved his life as a light­house keeper. So, too, did his fam­ily.

“It was a life many men and women could not adapt to but mum and dad thrived on it,” John said. “I re­mem­ber the first time dad went to give me a hair­cut with the man­ual clip­pers, he took off a chunk of flesh from be­hind my ear. I bled like a stuck pig and mum gave him the biggest blast. I never let him near me with those clip­pers again.”

In 1960, Ernie and his “light­house fam­ily” moved to Low Isles which the chil­dren re­mem­bered as “par­adise”. The stint was short-lived, only 10 months, be­fore a pro­mo­tion earned Ernie the po­si­tion of head keeper at Dou­ble Is­land Point for six years.

He never for­got Low Isles and re­turned there in 1967 to serve out the rest of his ca­reer in the com­par­a­tively mod­ern set­ting of a new home, 240-volt power 24 hours a day, elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances, gas stoves and later, even the wire­less tele­phone. Stores and mail came ev­ery fort­night and the cou­ple left the is­land only once a year for an­nual leave.

Ernie re­tired with an OAM af­ter 29 years ser­vice and moved with Bev to their new home at 35 Alch­ers Drive, Moss­man. Per­haps be­cause many res­i­dents had al­ready met them dur­ing fish­ing trips to Low Isles, the Lones were im­me­di­ately wel­comed and did not have to wait the manda­tory “20 years to be ac­cepted as lo­cals”.

From his life­long love of wood­work, Ernie grad­u­ated from an assem­bly line of toy trucks, trains and rock­ing horses for grand­chil­dren and lo­cal kids to mak­ing whirley gigs and other dec­o­ra­tive items which adorned the front fence and be­came a colour­ful icon of the town.

Ernie hardly missed a meet­ing of the Moss­man RSL sub-branch, hav­ing served 816 days dur­ing World War Two. An­zac Day and Re­mem­brance Day were spe­cial days in his cal­en­dar and he looked for­ward to school vis­its where he talked to chil­dren about the mean­ing of those events.

“Dad was a good man. He was hon­est and never, ever swore and was al­ways ready to help any­one out,” John said. “Not only was he a gen­tle­man, he was a gen­tle man and very proud of his fam­ily.”

Ernie passed away last Thurs­day. RE­TURN­ING from a hon­ey­moon to sleep on pineap­ple boxes in a cane bar­racks may not sound like a glam­orous start to a re­la­tion­ship, yet for Der­rick Good­man and his new bride, Mar­garet, it was the be­gin­ning of an en­dur­ing love span­ning more than 50 years.

When fam­ily and friends gath­ered re­cently at a fu­neral to farewell Der­rick, his son, John, de­scribed him as “a bit of a lar­rikin with a taste for cel­e­brat­ing any­thing that in­cluded a good laugh and cold beer”.

But, it was a strong love of his fam­ily and grow­ing up in Moss­man for which Der­rick Robert Parish Good­man was re­mem­bered best.

Born in Port Dou­glas in 1921, he was the youngest of five chil­dren of par­ents, Wal­ter and Florence. Der­rick grew up liv­ing in one of the Moss­man Mill houses and went to school lo­cally.

He walked most places in those early days ex­cept when com­pet­ing in ten­nis tour­na­ments. The Good­man broth­ers es­tab­lished quite a rep­u­ta­tion as the team to beat across the Far North, and the pre­ferred mode of trans­port for get­ting to matches was by horse.

As a 20-year-old, Der­rick en­listed in the army with his mate, Bob Johnston, and spent five years in B Com­pany, 2/25 Bat­tal­ion, 7th Di­vi­sion of the Aus­tralian In­fantry Force. He was el­e­vated to the rank of sergeant as he served in the Mid­dle East, Bor­neo and Pa­pua New Guinea on the Kokoda Trail.

He re­turned home in 1946 to lease a block of land from W.S Johnston at “Drum­sara” where he learnt how to grow sugar cane. Later, he bought a set­tlers’ block at Kil­laloe, south of Moss­man, and cleared it for cane.

It was here the fam­ily home was built af­ter his mar­riage in 1959 to Mar­garet, or “Mag­gie”, who was a nurse at Cairns Base Hos­pi­tal when they met. To­gether, they raised Jane, John, Sally and Judy in a strong fam­ily unit which later proudly ex­tended to in­clude 10 grand­chil­dren.

Der­rick was a com­pe­tent, hard­work­ing cane farmer and along with Eric Waugh and Colt Dwyer, was in­stru­men­tal in get­ting cane grow­ers to­gether to form the first green cane har­vest­ing con­tract in Moss­man. It proved a telling move with the ad­vent of trash blan­kets along the non-ir­ri­gated coast chang­ing the fu­ture of the in­dus­try.

His com­mit­ment to Legacy meant much of Der­rick’s time was spent vis­it­ing war wid­ows and their chil­dren, co­or­di­nat­ing the an­nual Legacy But­ton Day and in­sti­gat­ing the fa­mous An­zac Day “Dugout” at the Moss­man Golf Club where more funds were raised. Later, Der­rick and Mar­garet moved to Newell Beach for a pe­riod of liv­ing in “sub­ur­bia” be­fore mak­ing the dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion to leave Moss­man and those “beloved hills” Der­rick ad­mired so much, to ad­just to life at Farnorha in Cairns.

Der­rick passed away peace­fully on De­cem­ber 28. As was the case all his life, his fam­ily was close by.

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