RIP: George Edward Hughes.
RIP: George Edward Hughes.

End of an era as region farewells George of all trades

FROM running the Kin Kin Pub to delivering block ice as a boy, the passing of long time Cooroy personality George Hughes may be the end of the era.

The archetypical self-made, self-educated Australian bushman, George was the third eldest of a family of 17 children born in the outskirts of Wallangarra on the Qld/NSW border.

He grew up in a house without power or water and one of George's earliest chores was to fetch two buckets from the creek every morning.

These were the war years and George spent time with the kids of the families of US armed forces camped in town.

He would trade food stamps for American luxuries like condensed milk and chocolate.

George shunned school and earned his way hunting rabbits and loading carriages at the border train stations.

At the age of 14 George was off to find his own way in the world.

He had many jobs including a block ice delivery boy in the Brisbane Valley, a canecutter in North Queensland, laying tracks for the railroads near Cairns, a Jackaroo west of Longreach, a butcher in Rockhampton, a farmer in Joskeleigh, a grocer in Bundaberg, manager of the Kin Kin Hotel and a wood slab furniture maker in Noosa through the 90s.

During his time at the Kin Kin pub, He and Jill brought a strong sense of community with cheap meals and events.

Out of all his jobs, he most fondly recalled his years on horseback as a drover in the tablelands around Longreach.

He loved the slow life with the wonderful bush characters and watching for the Min-Min lights in the winter.

He was a champion boxer, a fine athlete and a skilled horseman.

George met Jill Thorpe at the Wellshot Hotel in Ilfracombe and they married in 1959.

Jill's Mother was the publican of the hotel and Jill learnt the trade.

They had five children as they moved around Queensland in search of new adventures, settling on the Sunshine Coast in 1979.

George had two speeds in life, flat-out and family time.

He loved to stop and tell the grandkids of his adventures in the bush and his time as a boxer. George would travel to towns with the big tent promotions of the time and hop in the ring to take on anyone in his weight category.

The boss would tell George to look troubled and weak in order for the odds to rise against him.

Then finally, the boss would tip his hat giving the OK for George to finish off the fight.

It seemed the stories like this would never end. George was an environmentalist before his time.

He despised waste and taught the kids about the importance of natural resources and instilled love of nature and the outdoors.

George is survived by Jill and his five children, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Rest in peace George Edward Hughes May 22 1936 - May 9 2020.