To help celebrate Queensland Seniors Week on 18–26 August, we caught up with some local senior citizens whose contributions to our community deserve our thanks.
Born in England at the start of World War II, Brian Lane was determined to join the Navy when he became a teenager.
“By the time I was 15 I was a Leading Seaman,” says Brian, who cites being at the coronation of the Queen as a major highlight.
“I was on an aircraft carrier called Ark Royal that was full of parliamentarians and it was my job to usher them in for the coronation.”
Drawn by adventure and warmer climes, Brian migrated to Adelaide before he reached what we now consider adulthood.
“I was a five-pound Pommy and only 17 when I migrated to Australia on my own,” Brian says.
“I landed in Adelaide where I built up an air-conditioning business, met my first wife and became a father of two.”
Attracted by Townsville’s sunny disposition, Brian and his second wife moved North in 1988.
“My wife and I loved holidaying in Fiji and we read the weather in Townsville was much the same, so we made the move,” Brian says.
Brian opened a swimming pool business in Cranbrook, which he ran for 20 years, but he’s perhaps best known as being the first president of the Townsville Jazz Club.
“Back then it was called the NQ Jazz Club,” he says.
“I used to play the bugle in the Navy and my parents and brother taught music and ballroom dancing so there’s a family connection there.”
Brian was also keen to start a junior jazz movement and contacted all the schools from Cairns to Mackay and Charters Towers.
“I ended up with around 180 students,” he says. “It was non-competition — we just invited the school bands to the jazz club so they could learn from our local musicians.”
Brian is still mad about jazz and wore a sequined vest adorned with musical instruments to his 80th birthday party recently.
“Instead of birthday gifts, we asked guests to donate to Cancer Council Queensland,” Brian says.
“It was such a great night and everyone loved my vest!