CYRIL Golding was known for his generosity, but he also helped shape the culture of Gladstone's multi-billion-dollar business community.

Experienced hands in Gladstone say he forged a legacy combining entrepreneurial success with a commitment to the people around him. His professional life has become legendary across the Gladstone region.

At the age of 13, Mr Golding discovered the true meaning of a hard day's work when he left school to join his father's building company.

Two years later, in 1935, a new state high school was opened in Gladstone and he took the opportunity to further his education.

The hard graft of digging holes and shovelling concrete had convinced him he needed an education to make something of his life.

That belief in the power of education remained a powerful force throughout Mr Golding's life.

The story of the company which bears his name, Golding, began in 1942.

At the time, Mr Golding was working at his father's sawmill. In a move that would change his life, he purchased a half-share in a second-hand five tonne Ford truck.

He began hauling logs and a year later bought the truck outright and became a sole trader.

"I was in a few right places at right times," Mr Golding once said.

"That said, I never let an opportunity pass."

The business grew gradually. He bought more trucks, employed more workers and diversified his services.

The pivotal moment came in the 1960s when the QAL alumina refinery was built.

Cyril Golding Earthmoving, as it was then called, became a major contractor on the project, which not only changed the course of Gladstone's history, it also allowed Mr Golding's business to grow rapidly.

Earlier this year Golding chief executive Geoff Caton said the QAL project had given Mr Golding new confidence in his ability to win and tackle major contracts.

Mr Golding remained owner and chairman of the company until his retirement in 2008 and his legacy lives on at the company, which now employs 1700 people.

"The memory of Cyril Golding will live on in the company he founded and the strong values he engrained in the business," Mr Caton said this week.

"We are very proud of the company he created and we are honoured to continue to operate under the Golding name."

Cyril Golding proved that businesses born in Gladstone had the talent and determination to succeed at the highest level.

He also proved that businesses in this region are at their finest when they are embedded within the community.

This story is from The Observer's eight-page tribute to Cyril Golding, published on November 10, 2012.

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