An Olympic Torch for the 2000 Sydney Olympics holds pride of place amongst other precious memories for this Wolvi local legend.
An Olympic Torch for the 2000 Sydney Olympics holds pride of place amongst other precious memories for this Wolvi local legend. Donna Jones

If you grew up in Wolvi, you know who this is...

THERE'S scarcely a person in Wolvi today who doesn't know Henry Bath.

A pillar of the community, dairy farmer, sportsman, rural firey, P&C president and hall committee member, Henry has a knack for making friends whichever hat he's wearing.

And a large majority of his close friends and most of his relatives turned out to celebrate Henry Bath's 80th birthday party this afternoon.

Almost 120 guests came along to the Gympie RSL to help Henry to celebrate this milestone, including his four children, eight grandchildren and five great grandchildren, his brother and sister and numerous cousins, inlaws and other family and lifelong friends.

There were a number of firsts in Henry's life - starting with his birth.

"I was the first baby delivered by a private doctor in the Gympie Hospital,” he proudly told the gathered assembly.

Henry Bath at his 80th birthday celebrations at the Gympie RSL today.
Henry Bath at his 80th birthday celebrations at the Gympie RSL today. Donna Jones

He and his brother Kevin were also among the first children to ride to school on one of Queensland's first school 'bus' runs aboard Ces Brown's cream truck when they attended Cootharabra Road school.

He was also the first in the family to leave school in Year 8 after his mother became ill and for nearly 60 years, Henry was a proud dairy farmer, combining three dairies into a single farm to great effect.

During that time, he saw many changes and the current woes surrounding the Dairy industry have been "discouraging to see it dealt with the way it has been”, according to Henry.

That didn't stop him from reading some of the more hilariously ambiguous notes left for milkmen from the old days when milk was delivered straight to the door.

Henry was proud to say that he has only ever lived on the family farm at Green's Creek, purchased by his father, Henry Snr in 1905.

Being naturally athletic, Henry excelled at sport, as have his children and grand children and sport has always been a major passion in his life.

A natural runner, Henry has carried two Olympic torches - one in 1956 for the Melbourne Olympics and one in 2000 for the Sydney Olympics.

He has also been invited to carry the Queen's Baton on March 26 during the torch relay ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast.

Still highly active, despite now joining "the over 80's club” as he put it, Henry intends, rather than running with the torch as he has done on both previous occasions, to walk - "... to soak up the atmosphere,” he said.

A member of the Rural Fire Brigade at Cedar Pocket for more than 50 years, Henry's community involvement also included being on the Cedar Pocket Hall committee and president of the Gympie East State School P&C for a number of years.

Now enjoying his retirement, Henry said he felt blessed with his family and his health.

"The only set-back was the loss of my best mate for 52 years, Thelma,” Henry said of the death of his wife five years ago.

Travel was a big part of his retirement and said he and Thelma had caravanned around Australia and had cruised to other countries.

He still likes to travel, despite the loss of his wife and has at least one more trip planned.

After his baton run next month, Henry hopes to visit his ancient ancestorial home in Cornwall in July, and in particular, the city of Bath.

He said the family motto is one that has always driven him throughout his life : "To have and to share with others.”

Judging by the number of people who came to share his birthday celebrations, we reckon that's on the money.

Gympie Times


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