Constituency statement – Vale Bryan Conquest, Tom McLucas and Dick Bitcon
Mr PITT (Hinkler): Today I pay tribute to three members of the Bundaberg community who all, sadly, passed away last month. Bryan Conquest was a boy from the bush and a pillar of the Bundaberg community. Bryan passed away on 2 January at the age of 87. He’s survived by his wife, Beverly, and three children, Trevor, Darryl and Susan. Bryan became the inaugural federal member for the newly created seat of Hinkler in 1984, serving for one term as a Nationals MP. Prior to that, he was elected in 1970 as an alderman at the Bundaberg City Council, a position he held for 15 years. Before his entry into politics, Bryan was a local businessman. He began working at Glovers Printing Works in Bundaberg in 1955, where he first met Beverley, the boss’s daughter. They were married in December 1958 and were married for 59 years. Bryan later ran the family business with long-time friend and business partner Graham Evans. He served on many community committees and community clubs throughout the region. He had a passion for sport, playing rugby league in Gladstone before being lured to Bundaberg to play for Past Brothers.
Tom McLucas OAM was born on 30 August 1925 and died on 15 January 2018. He was a businessman, a sportsman and a war veteran. Although he never spoke about his experiences during the Second World War, he knew he was lucky to survive and involved himself in the RSL and Legacy to help improve conditions for veterans and widows of deceased veterans.
Of the many community groups and organisations Tom was involved with, there are several that stand out. He was the chief parade marshal on Anzac Day in Bundaberg for 50 years. For half a century he organised, led and inspired. For as long as I remember, if you went to the dawn service, Tom was guaranteed to be there. He and his wife, Estelle, were involved with the Bundaberg East State School, sharing their knowledge with students for its Anzac Day services and helping preserve the school’s wartime history. As well as competing in cycling, tennis and golf, Tom was a torch baton bearer in 1956 and in 2006 was involved with the drum corps of the Caledonian Pipe Band, the Bundaberg federal band, the Sandgate brass band, the Rockhampton brass band, the Mackay brass band and was on the executive committee of the national bands competition.
Richard ‘Dick’ Bitcon was born on 9 January 1929 and passed away 6 January 2018. Originally from Victoria, Dick moved to Bundaberg in 1968, becoming well known among political circles. He was a Wide Bay zone vice-president for the National Party for many years, was a life member of the Liberal-National Party and was a dedicated campaigner. He was a behind-the-scenes man for many elections in and around Bundaberg. Dick owned Produce Traders, now Boylans Produce, was a past president of the Bundaberg amateur turf club, patron of the current Bundaberg Race Club and was involved with the AFL.
These three men were stalwarts of our community. They each made a difference in their own way. Vale Brian, Tom and Dick, may they rest in peace. My commiserations to their families.