GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Gary Cowburn, with his wife Joy, who passed away last year, at the 2017 NAIDOC march.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Gary Cowburn, with his wife Joy, who passed away last year, at the 2017 NAIDOC march. Julia Bartrim

'Gone but never forgotten': Gary Cowburn remembered fondly

CHAMPION Queensland boxer Gary Cowburn died on Saturday morning. He was 81 years old.

During those years he was married twice, first to Janice Guivarra, with whom he had six children - Alberto, twins Gary and Robin, Kimina, Rayna and Osman.

He later married Joy Cowburn with whom he had three children - Nicole, Melina and Peta.

Kimina said her dad passed away peacefully surrounded by family and friends.

Gary was a champion boxer. He was inducted into the Boxing Queensland Hall of Fame in 2009.

His career included 41 fights, winning 24 (13 knockouts) and two draws.

Gary's career took him around the country and world, taking on some of the biggest names in the sport at the time.

He was the only fighter to knockout former Australian champion George Barnes and fought World Boxing Council champions Roberto Cruz and Ralph Dupas.

He is a former Australian, Queensland and British Empire welterweight champion.

Gary was also a PCYC Gladstone life member/ trainer/ referee and judge of the Australian Amateur Boxing Association.

Gladstone Regional Council councillor Glenn Churchill penned these words in Gary's memory...


The Gladstone Region, our PCYC and the community has lost a great icon, mentor and truly great Australian.

Gone but never forgotten.

Gary was honoured with the prestigious Queensland Life Membership with the Gladstone Branch of the Queensland Police Citizens Youth Club.

His wife Joy, who sadly passed away last year, was also a recipient of this prestigious award.


Gary Cowburn throws on the gloves to show his birthday attendees how it's done.
Gary Cowburn throws on the gloves on his birthday. Contributed

This was for their long-time, continuous, meritorious volunteer service to our Gladstone Region PCYC, our young people and our community.

In fact, our PCYC a number of years ago, proudly acknowledged and paid tribute to his achievements with the development of the "Gary Cowburn Boxing Room".

He will truly be remembered as a genuine and magnificent man, respected Aboriginal elder, a great friend to many and a trainer/ mentor for young boxers, from all colours, races and creeds.

Gary dedicated much of his life to helping others and created so many fond moments, milestones and memories. He also produced regional, state, national and international boxing history as an athlete himself and as a boxing trainer/ mentor for others.

He also so much enjoyed dancing "in and out of the ring". He will now be dancing in the heavenly ballroom or ring.

His relationships were always surrounded by a ring of circumstances, joined together by boxing rings, a wedding ring, a ring of family and friends, and that ring of confidence to deliver positive outcomes.

He has left many legacies in and out of the ring through the eyes of young athletes (boys and girls).

I witnessed firsthand how he managed the development of athletic youth, especially building their self-confidence and pride, and driving/ encouraging them to reach their full potential as a solid member of the community.

He certainly deserves to be in our Gladstone Region hall/ wall of fame.

His depth of commitment, his quality of service, and the legacies he has left are now the product of his devotion - these are the things that make a difference to the lives of others, especially those less fortunate.

He passionately shared our PCYC vision to making a stronger, healthier and safer community for all, through the development of our young people.

I have no doubt that Gary is now at peace with his wife Joy - passing and laughing on his many life's achievements and stories.

On behalf of our Gladstone Region PCYC committee, staff, thousands of members, valued supporters and our community, we give a civic salute of honour to Gary Cowburn and pay our deepest respects and sympathy to Gary's family and friends as we stand united to celebrate the astonishing life of a great Australian.

  • Gary's funeral service is at 10am tomorrow at the Gladstone Entertainment Convention Centre.