Monday, June 01, 2009

Widow mourns man of many talents

Image: The Commodore 64 computer (courtesy wikipedia), which introduced computing to homes around the world and started Goldon Oliphant on a path that earned him the tag, "real computer whiz".

AFTER a busy decade buying, renovating and selling houses in preparation for retirement, Gordon and Carole Oliphant planned their move to Macleay Island as their last.
The couple had a tortuous introduction to island life after the bank closed two minutes before their solicitor arrived for the settlement.
But after a flurry of faxes and approval from the owner to move in, the Oliphants and their beloved pooches – two Maltese-Shiatsu crosses and a faithful 14-year-old Labrador – unloaded at their new home on High Central Road.
About three hours later on that night of April 28 – less than one month before his 62nd birthday – Gordon, who had a respiratory condition, called for his medication, but his breathing difficulties worsened quickly.

THE tragedy of his sudden death reflected in the notice that Carole placed in the Classifieds to thank property agents Trevor and Helen Ehrlich, of Raine & Horne Macleay Island, for their help in "getting me settled".
"Trevor arranged for me to borrow a fridge and organised John from Motivated Maintenance Man to mow the lawn, put up a temporary fence and help deliver the fridge," Carole said this week.
"Even though this was a sad day it was made less complicated and [the support] gave me time to grieve for my loss. I can’t put in words the appreciation I owe these people for their help."

WHEN Carole and Gordon met in the late 1980s, she was working at Royal Brisbane Hospital and Gordon, despite his trade as a fitter and turner, was building fibreglass boats.
Gordon was already much experienced on computers after starting with a Commodore 64 in the 1980s. The couple ran a business using his imaging skills to present funeral and wedding packages.
In the late 1990s they opted for a new life in renovation and bought and sold in South East Queensland between Hervey Bay and the NSW border, and Gordon forged ahead with his multi-media computer work.
"It was a bit of a family joke – every time we sold Gordon would upgrade his equipment," Carole said.
"He was a real computer whiz, absolutely great. I have 200 DVDs -- all the back-up disks he used. He put a tribute to the BeeGees on Youtube."

BOATING and fishing were also among Gordon’s interests. Carole had to cancel his order for a 17ft Dominator, which would have set him up to fully enjoy the island lifestyle.
Carole and Gordon created a big family, bringing together a total of seven children from previous marriages. Eleven grandchildren are now part of the fold.
The family plans to gather at Tangalooma on Gordon’s birthday next May 23 to spread his ashes in Moreton Bay.

Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising. This column has appeared in The Redland Times.

Chauffeur recalls brush with famous 'Bazza'

Image from

ONE truism can fend off the gloom in any economic depression. Opportunities will keep arising, no matter how bad things get generally.
Those with courage and commitment to put ideas into practice can increase their chances of not only surviving tough times but also building their wealth.
For some in service industries, this may mean identifying a need, then meeting it with the right ‘vehicle’.
That seven-letter word with multiple meanings is close to the heart of Macleay Islander Stan Lewis, who is probably best known as ‘the man with the limos’ because of the many years he drove his former Ford LTD and Holden Statemen for Hughes Limousines.

WHILE gloom and doom have been on many minds, Stan’s latest venture, BAY-AIR, made its debut in a bright and eye-catching blue and gold classified notice, promising "good service, good rates".
He says the launch follows many requests over the years for airport transfers; his 13-seat Toyota Commuter and 11-seat Ford Transit aim to take the pain out of airport trips for Redland City residents.
A bus-rail airport trip from Redland Bay can take as long as three hours but he can get there in 45 to 60 minutes by road, depending on the traffic, and for small groups the service is cheaper than public transport, he says.
Stan, 54, certainly has engine oil in his blood. He grew up in Arncliffe, Sydney, as the son of a transport operator (also Stan) with 30 trucks – "and he parked them all in our yard".
The son did an apprenticeship as a motor mechanic but then decided to follow in his dad’s wheel tracks and devote his life to driving and transport.

STAN spent about a decade as a subcontracted courier with TNT in Sydney and Canberra before he moved to Macleay in 1995.
He still delivers ‘found luggage’ for Hughes although he has stayed out of the limo sector since his last Statesman reached its industry use-by age of six years.
The day he met actor-singer Barry Crocker has been a highlight of Stan’s many years behind a steering wheel. Crocker starred in the 1972 film, The Adventures of Barry McKenzie.
Stan says he took Crocker to the airport after a Brisbane concert about 10 years ago.

"I TOLD him how, when the film came out, I was working in the King’s Head in Earl’s Court (the London pub that featured in the film)," Stan says.
"I told him he had some great songs, like I’ve Got a Sheila Called Sheila and Chundering in the Old Pacific Sea.
"When I dropped him at the Ansett counter, he turned and sang Chundering in the Old Pacific Sea."
Stan undoubtedly has a lot more stories, including many from his eight years backpacking overseas, to share with airport passengers.
Thanks for joining me to meet the great people in the marvellous community of classified advertising.

This column has appeared in The Redland Times, a Fairfax Media/Rural Press newspaper servicing Queensland’s newest city on the shores of Moreton Bay.