Thursday, November 20, 2008

Art honours true believer in Classifieds' community

A SON of Moreton Bay was returning to his roots when Ipswich publican Gordon Field decided to sell his hotel and take his young family back to the island where he grew up.
When the Fields’ jam-packed truck rolled off the barge in 1968, Gordon and the Mackay-born barmaid he married, Phoebe, were dedicating their lives to his family’s half-century-long tradition of farming the rich soil of Russell Island.
Raising two young children, Victor and Cindy, the couple grew papaws, bananas and small crops including tomatoes, which a trucking contractor picked up twice a week to catch the mainland barge for the trip to Brisbane markets.

JUST four years into the idyllic lifestyle, Gordon was killed in a car accident on the mainland.
Phoebe must have overcome many tough obstacles as she kept working the land, which she says produced avocados commercially until 1998.
But she kept everything together. In 1980, she married Erik Dupont, who had migrated from Holland in 1956, found work on a Wellington Point farm, branched out into farm work through the bayside region and, in 1967, bought his own Russell Island farmland.
Phoebe reflects on her family history this week as she prepares for a happy annual event that springs from a tragedy in her life – Cindy’s death from a brain tumor in 2003, aged 36.
EVERY November since 2004, Phoebe has organised the Cindy Field Memorial Exhibition of Arts to celebrate her daughter’s life. Cindy’s birthday was November 28.
Known in the island community as a cheerful deckie on the passenger ferries, Cindy joined the Bulletin and Times in the mid-1990s and was a consultant for the Classifieds when she received a grim diagnosis in 2001.
Phoebe says the diagnosis came just as building on Cindy’s dream home on Karragarra began, but the house was finished quickly and was Cindy’s refuge as she battled on, with radiotherapy giving hope for a time.
THE exhibition venue for the first three years was Colours Art Gallery on Macleay and last year about 90 artworks featured at Karragarra fire shed.
The continuing growth is evident this year, with about 120 paintings, priced from $15 to $4800, to go on show at Russell Island Recreation Hall.
The exhibition will open on Thursday night, November 20, and daily until Monday morning. Cindy’s portrait by Lamb Island painter Joan Seal features at each annual exhibition, which raises funds for Queensland Institute of Medical Research.
Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times, Cleveland, Redland City, Queensland, Australia.

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