Chloe Bailey seemed to notice that something was missing from the Food Shack fish tank in Mary St yesterday. Mary, a 50cm gourami, has left a big empty space to fill in the tank and in the lives of her grieving owners.
Chloe Bailey seemed to notice that something was missing from the Food Shack fish tank in Mary St yesterday. Mary, a 50cm gourami, has left a big empty space to fill in the tank and in the lives of her grieving owners. Renee Pilcher

Cruel death of our icon

"THERE are some sickos in the world," Vern Burgess said yesterday as he described the cruel and apparently deliberate killing of one of Mary St's most recognised characters.

Vern and Karen Burgess are mourning the passing of the fish they called Mary, who was also a close family friend.

Mary had become not only the mascot of the Burgess family's Food Shack Cafe in Mary St, but had also become a much-loved part of their lives.

"She was a big bit of fish," he said.

"She was an icon.

"The number of times I would pull up here after hours and there would be people in the street watching her through the window."

She was 25 years old.

"They live to be 100," Karen said of her sub-aquatic friend.

Mary was a gourami, a beautifully marked Asian fish variety which grows quite large.

But Mary's potentially long life was cut short, possibly as an indirect result of her size, about 50cm long.

Mary became mysteriously ill last week and appeared to be making a recovery before "giving up" and dying on Friday, an emotional Vern Burgess told The Gympie Times yesterday.

"We bought her from the pet shop across the road when it closed.

"But I really wish we hadn't, the amount of abuse I've copped," Vern said.

Some people thought Mary's tank, facing the street from the Food Shack window, was too small.

Now, Vern and Karen have had to deal with the fact of Mary's passing and the suspicion that it was someone who did not like to see her confined.

But if setting her free was the motive for last week's killing, those responsible should know their one act of self-righteous "kindness" caused Mary an agonising and prolonged death, for Mary and other smaller fish in with her.

Gympie Times


Student leaders join local homelessness cause

Student leaders join local homelessness cause

Year 10 GSHS leaders will develop care packages, sleepout theme.

Letter: Gympie Council's financial suicide

Letter: Gympie Council's financial suicide

The council needs to live within its means: letter

'Mother goose' worries over wayward gaggle

'Mother goose' worries over wayward gaggle

Geese having a gander in Kybong might be in danger.

Local Partners