Phil Cave served with Noosa Surf Club since 1946.
Phil Cave served with Noosa Surf Club since 1946.

Phil Cave was a colossus of a man in stature and achievement

THE Gympie region and Noosa will farewell a strong stalwart on Monday when it celebrates the life of a man who grew up in this region and saw Noosa grow from a small fishing village into a tourism icon.

Phil Cave and a Noosa Surf Club boat crew from the 1950s
PROUD MAN: Phil Cave and a Noosa Surf Club boat crew from the 1950s

A Noosa Surf Life Saving Club life member, Second World War veteran, rugby league tyro, councillor, farmer and father of five, grandfather to eight and great grandfather to four, Phil Cave was a colossus both in stature and achievement.

Born in Gympie on September 18, 1924, he passed away at the age of 94 after experiencing two centuries and enormous change.

Schooled first at Imbil, he moved from the family Mary Valley banana and dairy farm to continue his education at Tewantin, walking daily from his aunt's place at Munna Point.

War service was first with the Light Horse Brigade and after it was disbanded, the 2nd Machine Gun Battalion.

The war's end was to see him join Noosa Heads Surf Club in 1946 and secure his bronze medallion the following year with his brother Maurie.

Days at the beach while their father Phil Cave did patrols were the centre of early memories for he and wife Nancy's five children.
Phil Cave with Noosa Surf Club president Ross Fisher.

By 1949 Mr Cave had been selected in the Surf Life Saving Association of Australia Instructional Team to visit Tasmania to promote lifesaving and help local clubs.

In 1950 he was made a surf lifesaving examiner.

In the day he was regarded as the master of the art of body surfing, a water knowledge shared by grandson Dean Brady who was to forge an impressive record as a professional surfer.

In rugby league, his skill and size playing for Gympie Rainbows was to earn representative honours.

When the first Olympic Games came to Australia in 1956, Mr Cave first ran the Olympic Torch from Hill St, Pomona, towards Cooroy and then drove to Melbourne to be at the Olympic Games.

His was a life richly spent with his wife Nancy, who he first met on Noosa Main Beach in 1952 and married in 1953.

The couple owned farms in Pomona and Eumundi where they raised pigs, beef cattle and dairy cows.

As well as his community service as a Noosa councillor, Mr Cave was a Freemason, a Lions Club member, public speaker with Jaycees and president of the Pomona Primary School Parents and Citizens Association.

His daughter Judy Brady recalls weekends at the beach with a father who lived for the present.

She said his strong will had allowed him to shut out the horrors of war he had experienced, leaving a proud, fairly reserved, intelligent gentleman who was always willing to help others.

Chipping oysters off the jetty at Tewantin, fish and chips after a day at Noosa Main Beach - every weekend made for fond family memories.

Phil Cave's funeral will be held at Gregson and Weight, Noosaville, from 1pm on Monday, February 18.