Yesterday was a remarkable day. It began with listening to an interview on the radio about lifesaving. My ears tweaked..Dad was a beach inspector and the historian was looking for information. After a flurry of emails and phone calls I related my Dad’s story.
I always saw him as special but to hear of his reputation as a “Waterman” was delightful. A term dubbed by the South Africans of Derban Beach for men that could take on any surf. A term of respect by lifesavers around the world.
I painted this work quite some years ago. It was an important painting to me, the beginning of my Windang series, my look back that is still yet to be completed. Dad was a huge man 6ft 3, legs like a thoroughbred racehouse. As a small child I was always running behind, viewing the world between two long neverending pink legs or propped from above, perched on shoulders riding the surf.
Trolling through Dad’s photos, clippings and ephemera his world encompassed the beach, stockman at Carpentaria Downs, shearer, Kokoda, steelworker, businessman and boatsman. I’m sure Dad would think that this is an ordinary life, I think more like an extraordinary man.