Air­lie tourism pi­o­neers re­mem­ber good old days

Whitsunday Times - - LOCAL NEWS - By Rhi­anna Bull

EMO­TIONS were run­ning high as 150 peo­ple from across the coun­try at­tended the re­union to cel­e­brate Air­lie’s early tourism pi­o­neers at the Air­lie Beach Bowls Club on Satur­day.

The large crowd wan­dered around the room slowly tak­ing in the beau­ti­ful dis­plays, mem­o­ra­bilia, pho­to­graphs, tourism brochures and videos of Air­lie Beach from the early 1930s to 1980s.

The im­pres­sive dis­play fea­tured the ma­jes­tic Golden Plover in her glory days, which brought a tear to the eye of sailor Hel­mut Ja­coby and many oth­ers, who mar­velled at the pieces of 200year-old tim­ber rig­ging.

Pres­i­dent of Air­lie Beach’s first so­cial club, the Rough As Guts (RAG) Ent., Ash­ley Kennedy, had a fan­tas­tic dis­play of sports mem­o­ra­bilia fea­tur­ing a slideshow of pho­to­graphs and clip­pings from the Great Whit­sun­day Fun Races in the 1980s.

For­mer owner of the boat Bac­chus D, Cliff Quinn, shared a laugh with Sue Lit­tle who, in 1981 was the first Air­lie Bird on the front page of the Whit­sun­day Times and Sue Dick­in­son who was one of the fig­ure heads aboard La­matai dur­ing the 1981 Whit­sun­day Fun Race.

Bill Smith, who started the Whit­sun­day Times al­most 32 years ago, was also among the guests at the re­union along­side co-founders of Club Croc, Peter Thynne and Phil Dick­in­son, art di­rec­tor of Up North Mag­a­zine, Adrian Van­der­lugt and founders of Man­dalay Coral Gar­dens, Tony and Cather­ine Moscato.

Lo­cal mu­si­cians Jim Hack­ett and Phil Camp­bell sang a clas­sic Air­lie Beach song writ­ten in 1978 by the late Norm Clay­ton, with Kieran McCarthy and Hel­mut Ja- coby also per­form­ing on the night.

Re­union or­gan­iser Dale Hell said she had re­ceived fan­tas­tic re­views from guests and was look­ing to re-cre­ate the event next year.

“Hope­fully next time we will be able to have three gen­er­a­tions of fam­i­lies at the re­union, it’s not just for the oldies,” she said.

The event was recorded by Adrian Con­nor Pho­tog­ra­phy, pre­serv­ing the mem­o­ries of the Whit­sun­day pi­o­neers. The DVD will be avail­able in two weeks.

BACK IN TIME: Eric Bot­tle, re­union or­gan­iser Dale Hell, re­union MC Reg Gillen and re­union as­sis­tant Bar­bara South­wood re­lived some of their fondest mem­o­ries at the Air­lie tourism pi­o­neers re­union on Satur­day.

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