Airlie tourism pioneers remember good old days
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.