Memories flow for former mayor, cattleman Col Leather
THE innings of a former North Queensland mayor came to an end this week, but his reputation as a sport loving larrikin will ensure he remains 'not out' long into the future.
That's the message from the community following the death of long-time Bowen resident Col Leather, whose crowning achievement is the creation of the Bowen Sporting Complex.
It was one of the many achievements of the Queensland native who represented Bowen for three terms as councillor, including two as shire chairman.
He just loved sport, Mr Leather's daughter Chris Storrie said.
"He played cricket, he was a boxer, and he did horse riding. So one of the biggest things Dad was involved with was the sporting complex.
"There was no real complex at all to speak of in Bowen until he came along and got it up and running."
Born in Gin Gin in 1930, Colin Thomas Leather spent many of his childhood mornings having to get up and milk the cows before school.
Always preferring hard work to that of school, he got his first job as a horse tamer, before working as a hunter, a tree cutter and eventually a railway cleaner.
But his passion for sport eventually took over leading him to move to Brisbane to become a professional boxer.
"He loved boxing all his life," Mrs Storrie said.
"He watched it on the telly, always ducking and weaving and often used to spar in his sleep."
After moving to Bowen in 1953, he bought his first farm on Collinsville Road where he grew tomatoes.
Always believing that hard work was the key to success, progress had always been his aim in life, said Mrs Storrie.
Which is perhaps how he ended up running for council.
Whitsunday Councillor Mike Brunker, who succeeded Mr Leather as mayor in 1997, said Col was a man who got things done.
"He was instrumental in getting the sports complex up," he said.
"He was an old character and very well known in the grazing industry. It was a steady ship when Col was there."
Member for Whitsunday Jason Costigan met Mr Leather while working as cadet journalist at the Bowen Independent. He remembers him as a good community leader and above all else, a good bloke.
"He always struck me as a very decent person and a well-respected person," Mr Costigan said.
Mr Leather passed at age 87.
The funeral for Colin Thomas Leather will be held Friday at Whitsunday Funerals and Crematorium in Bowen at 1pm.