INTERESTING: Local history buff Paulette Flint. INSET: Top to bottom, Gail Sellers, Judy Whicker and Peter Corones.
INTERESTING: Local history buff Paulette Flint. INSET: Top to bottom, Gail Sellers, Judy Whicker and Peter Corones. Christine McKee

Tanna tops Paulette Flint's list of most influential people

FROM the past to the present, who were the people with the most influence on the evolution of Gladstone region?

The Observer's much-loved history columnist, Paulette Flint doesn't hesitate to name Reg Tanna at the top of the list.

"He was a wonderful man,” she said.

"He led the big corporation. He led the Port Authority, but he was such a down-to-earth, humble man.

"He did what he could for the community and made sure people were employed.

"That was in the days when the Port Authority would go and mow the sports fields and that kind of thing.

"Reg was the president of the green belt organisation that made sure all those sporting fields were situated down on Glenlyon Road.

"To him it wasn't just heading up the wharves, he was really influential - a humble man who died before his time.”

Col Brown was the mayor during the period when the city was rapidly growing (1979-1994).

Paulette said his influence lay in that growth and as the mayor who decided that cats had to be registered.

"He hated cats,” she said.

Gail Sellers, mayoral candidate 2016
Gail Sellers, mayoral candidate 2016

"Peter Corones was a very good mayor too.

"And Gail (Sellers). They had the town's interest at heart.

"Gail saw the town through some very hard times.

"People might not have agreed with either of them in some things, but they certainly did what they thought was best.

"Peter would always go in to bat for Gladstone. If someone said no then he would go and argue the point with them.”

Peter Corones also drove the Gladstone Skate Centre, a now-infamous place where kids could go to have fun and be safe in the 1970s and '80s.

GEA EXPO: Peter Corones (GAPDL), at the GEA Business Expo luncheon held at the Leo Zussino Building, CQ University. Photo Kerry Thomas/Gladstone Observer
GEA EXPO: Peter Corones (GAPDL), at the GEA Business Expo luncheon held at the Leo Zussino Building, CQ University. Photo Kerry Thomas/Gladstone Observer Kerry Thomas GLA010611EXPO

"He loved skating, he grew up skating over at his dad's place at Barney Point,” Paulette said.

She also named Liz Cunningham, the female independent MP who fought for the male, Labor-dominated town in State Parliament for 20 years.

How was she able to do it?

"Because she was that sort of person, like Marty Hanson, he was a very influential man as well.

"Liz cared about people and she cared about Gladstone.

"She has a very good head on her shoulders, she's a very intelligent person.

"She was very open and that's what people liked about her.”

Friends of the RSPCA president Judy Whicker was delighted to officially open the new kennels at the RSPCA Pet Adoption Centre. Photo: Paul Braven / The Observer
Friends of the RSPCA president Judy Whicker was delighted to officially open the new kennels at the RSPCA Pet Adoption Centre. Photo: Paul Braven / The Observer Paul Braven GLA250315RSPCA

The woman who spearheaded the Harbour Festival for 20 years, Judy Whicker also earned Paulette's respect as someone who had tremendous influence on Gladstone.

"It's the big event for Gladstone, so to head that up for 20 years is remarkable,” she said.

"We had some really big stars perform at the festival ... Russell Morris played there when he was a huge star.

"There's a lot of history tied in with the Harbour Festival.”

These people and many others have played a significant role in influencing the journey Gladstone has taken to where it is now.

Over coming months, The Observer will be looking to identify the 50 Most Influential People as we move towards the future.



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