Island icon farewelled in moving service at Maryborough
THE stories had to be heard to be believed.
The time one of the region's tourism pioneers, Sid Melksham, laid on top of a roof on Fraser Island during a cyclone for 15 hours, afraid the tin sheeting would fly away because he didn't have the money to replace it.
The day he realised flying would be the easiest way to access the island and despite having poor reading and writing skills, locked himself away until they were up to scratch so he could take his pilot exam which he would pass on first go.
The way he refurbished an old eight-seater boat that had sunk in the Mary River and single-handedly started a tourism industry on the island he had grown to love.
Sid was an extraordinary character and everyone who attended his funeral at the Heritage Chapel in Maryborough on Friday knew it.
But they might not have been as familiar with the softer side his longtime partner Angela Burger and children, Monica Pryor and Bill Melksham, gave those gathered a glimpse into.
Angela told of a protective partner with whom she had shared 40 years of love and adventure.
Her stories brought laughter and tears as she reflected on the time she had spent with Sid.
Monica remembered a beloved father and grandfather.
And through tears, his son Bill told of how he told his tough old dad, whose difficult childhood meant he rarely shared his emotions, that he loved him when he was about 7 or 8.
His dad hesitated then told his son he loved him too.
The words, once spoken for the first time, were used to end each phone call from then on.
Sid had turned 84 in August.
He packed a lot of living into those years.
Starting out as a welder, he travelled to Fraser regularly to visit his brother and a big dream was born - one that would see him develop Eurong Beach Resort and Fraser Island's ferry service.
It was a business that would transport hundreds of people a day to and from the island, a far cry from the eight Sid could originally take.
He went on to sell the resort and ferry service for $30 million in 2002. He lived on the Gold Coast in his later years but returned to Fraser Island in 2017 for the World Heritage Listing 25th anniversary.
On Friday, he was remembered as a local tourism legend, someone who never took no for an answer, a bloke who, as Angela said, lacked the education to know when something wasn't possible, and so found ways to make it possible.
But he was also remembered as a dad who loved his children and gave them a lifetime of memories, running around Fraser Island, eating Sauers Pies and chips and flying in planes to get to school.
"We got to do some pretty cool things as kids," Monica said
"We got to bear witness to a legend who was living a larger than life life."
Following the service Sid was laid to rest in his hometown of Maryborough.