ONE of the longest serving sports contributors to the Central Queensland News passed away on September 5.
John Brendan Campbell was the first child born to Jim and Aileen Campbell on November 23,1944.
His carefree childhood at the family cattle property - “Belmah” - was brought to a sudden halt in 1950 when an abnormal lump was discovered on John’s side.
There was a big flood at the time and after some coordinating, Aileen took him to Rockhampton only to be told there was no hope for him – to take him home and make him comfortable until the end.
Fortunately this advice was ignored and with the support and prayers of family and friends, a couple of operations, quite radical treatment for that time and John’s fighting spirit, he arrived back home.
The weekly mailman brought much of the family’s meat, groceries and mail. as well as the regular lessons from the Primary Correspondence School. His mum supervised this schoolwork so it was complete and returned in the next week’s mail run.
Growing up on the property, John had a keen eye for cattle and his enjoyment of horse riding started at pony club level and race day was always special.
Both John, 9, and Peter, 6, were most upset that their sister was born on a Saturday afternoon on a race day and they had to stay home to wait for news from the hospital.
The racehorses John owned or had shares in were to salute the judge in many races in the Highlands and further west. Very seldom he would have a bet, even on his own horse.
John was a life member of the Emerald Jockey Club and in almost 40 years on the committee, he held many of the positions including president and judge for many years.
From baptism to the last rites, John was committed to his faith and his devotion to the mass was unwavering.
He was involved with the YCW, he manned the holy goods stall as a member of St Vincent de Paul, and the group provided wonderful companionship and outings for John.
John loved his tennis from the early days at St Pat’s courts and he was on the committee and was publicity officer at the town courts.
After he could no longer play, he still loved to attend and be part of the tennis community. The tennis notes he provided to the CQ News kept him in touch with players and supporters from all grades.
One time when Peter was visiting he said, “John nearly needs a secretary with all the phone calls about races and tennis”.
When basketball started in Emerald, John not only played but also was on the committee and quite happily fouled you off for the slightest misdemeanour. He also did the CQ News notes for the club.
If the family had been to Rocky for business or a holiday, they knew when they were about at Yamala when John was driving home, because he would start whistling. He really loved being in home territory.
His faith in Emerald and the great residents has been repaid many times over, especially after he had such a tough year in 2008.
Only a couple of weeks ago John was talking about the good things that had happened in the last couple of years and you couldn’t get the smile off his face when he recalled the day he rode his buggy along the Capricorn Highway to Ag-Grow last year.
The buggy provided him with a lot of independence as well as a couple of spills.
We not only farewell a battler but it will be the first time in over 130 years that there will not be a descendent of the pioneering Campbell family living in Emerald.
He is survived by his brother Peter and sister Mary and their families.
‘We not only farewell a battler but it will be the first time in over 130 years that there will not be a descendent of the pioneering Campbell family living in Emerald.’
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