Tugboat tribute washes up two years after mate's death

Toy tugboat washes up at Lillies Beach after two years on the water.
Toy tugboat washes up at Lillies Beach after two years on the water. Declan Cooley

TWO years ago on a sunny afternoon Agnes Water resident Wayne Mellick swam out to sea and set sail to a plastic toy tugboat in honour of his good mate Craig Milroy.

Friends and family stood on the shore at Workmans Beach and watched on.

It may have been a small gesture but until Craig passed away from cancer in 2013, the "jack-of-all-trades" had always dreamt of buying his own yacht to live on and sail up and down the coast in.

The longtime Agnes Water resident was only 53 when he died.

But on Saturday the tugboat was found -- albeit a little worse for wear -- washed up in the sand on Lillies Beach at Boyne Island.

"This is unbelievable. It's amazing it got all the way up to Tannum Sands," Wayne said.

"That was such an emotional day when we went down to the beach to say goodbye. He loved the water and he had a heart of gold. He was a true blue Queenslander."

Wayne Mellick.
Wayne Mellick. Paul Braven


Kristy McMillan, whose husband found the boat while fishing, said she was very excited to find the boat and send it back on its way.

"When we picked it up we saw it had markings on it," she said.

"There was RIP written on top; Craig's name; his date of birth and when he died; and a message that read: 'May your travels in the next life be the fulfilment of your dreams and may you live in our hearts forever.'"

Kristy told the Observer she had been able to track down some of Craig's family after posting pictures of the toy boat on Facebook.

"I didn't expect to find someone so quickly but I was really chuffed to speak to Craig's family," she said.

"They never thought they'd find the boat again and they also thanked me for putting him back out there."

And so, just as Wayne did two years ago, Kristy had to swim far out to sea so the boat didn't return back to the shore on the waves.

Topics:  editors picks memorial toy tugboat

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