Sir Joh: the Dad behind the politics
By ZOE SINCLAIRzoe@gladstoneobserver.com.au
WHILE the name Joh Bjelke-Petersen means many things to many people, to Gladstone woman Meg Noack it simply means Dad.
Last night Meg and her family were at Sir Joh's side as he clung to life in a Kingaroy hospital.
Despite being close to death after he stopped breathing, Sir Joh, 94, rallied yesterday, according to his wife Lady Flo.
'He stopped breathing but believe it or not the old heart is still ticking along,' she told reporters. Lady Flo said she had been told by Sir Joh's doctor Isabelle Jonsson that if he had not been suffering from supranuclear palsy he would have lived to well over 100.
As one of Sir Joh's four children, Meg has seen most sides to the man who was Queensland's longest serving premier.
'It was a wonderful, warm household,' she said.
'Dad was away a lot but when he was home he really believed in quality time.
'He was a really good story teller.
'He told a story about a swagman called Charlie Chook Chook who used to visit the Danish community.
'Charlie Chook Chook was a bit of an alcoholic and a rogue but the community had a way of caring for him, and we loved the stories.'
As Sir Joh became busy with politics, Meg's life became dotted with camping trips and flights to Brisbane with her father.
'He was busy and interested in politics and people and there was often a stream of people coming through the house,'' she said.
'Every year he took us camping on the Bunya Mountains. Once we were bailed up because there was a scrubber, a wild bull, on the road.
'We just had to wait a while till he decided to move. No one was going to get him to move, not even Dad.
'We used to fly in a bi-plane with Dad. One trip was a particularly bumpy trip and I thought he was putting the bumps in for fun.
"Later we'd go to the tally room and that was always tense and exciting.'' Meg said she remembered her childhood as 'carefree' and she would always have fond memories of her father.