This story has been put together by our local news group below.
I & the Fraser Coast Community thank them for these great words
30th Sep 2017 2:06 PM
The Fraser Coast is mourning the loss of one of its greatest benefactors. Warren Persal was a legendary figure in the Queensland power line construction industry but will be remembered on the Fraser Coast for quietly helping thousands of individuals and generously supporting causes in the region. The man with the big heart died on September 23 aged 75 after battling ill health for several years.
HE WAS devastated and bewildered. His beautiful young wife had died from a blood clot a few days after giving birth to their first child. Rarely in his life would Warren Persal ever feel such a sense of helplessness.
He had lost his partner, had a new baby to care for and his job was way out west, building power lines in the dirt and the dust, the heat and the cold.
His mother Josephine stepped in, saying she would look after her new grandson Graham. Her son should go back out west and work through his grief.
Warren might have always been destined to become a legendary figure in building power lines on the coalfields and the Fraser Coast’s most generous benefactor but his family believe the experience had a powerful influence in shaping his extraordinary achievements.
“He and my mother had a plan to succeed,” said Graham. “When she died he felt he couldn’t stop – he had to honour that promise.”
Over the next 50 years Warren became synonymous with integrity, capability and reliability as he built thousands of kilometres of high transmission power lines in Queensland. His word was an iron-clad guarantee. His knowledge of the industry, equipment and logistics was startling: he knew what could be done and he delivered.
Said second son Brian: “The bottom line was ‘Get the job done’. Regardless.”
Brian’s sister Janet added: “And it always had to be good quality and on time.”
In a tough business working in remote and difficult conditions, Warren prospered on the back of an intensely loyal workforce. Back home quiet stories emerged in the community about surprising acts of generosity for staff, old friends and other individuals in need.
He valued his privacy and looked for no recognition but he paid for an expensive operation here, a university education there, supplied manpower or machinery elsewhere. Widows and families battling financial hardship had a helping hand.
Beyond the power lines, another legend was taking shape. Warren was looking after his own in the community he loved dearly. How many individuals were helped will remain a mystery but over the next 30 years he became one of the greatest benefactors in the history of the Fraser Coast.
His devoted wife of 47 years, Raelene, and her children agreed the figure would be in the thousands. “He liked to give. But we probably only knew about 20 per cent of it.” The larrikin son of John and Josephine Persal was born in Maryborough in 1942. His ebullient school days were marked by fun pranks but he could walk into exams and earn high grades – an indication of a remarkable memory and assimilation of detail that would characterise his business ability and social networks.
As a teenager he worked with his father building power lines in south-west Queensland before starting an apprenticeship with ‘Nutty’ Watkins. At night he would make box trailers to sell.
“He was always looking for a way to make a dollar,” said Graham. “He would work 24 hours a day to do it.
“With Watkins Electrical they would use an Ariel and a sidecar with a 12ft ladder along the side. Dad used to be in the sidecar and they would head off to the Bay or somewhere to do a job.”
After finishing his apprenticeship as an electrician he went to work with his father contracting to build power lines throughout the Wide Bay and Burnett, digging holes with a bar and shovel and standing poles with a shear leg crane on a Bedford truck. He bought two highway borers on Bedford trucks and in 1973 bought his first proline borer lifter on a C1800 international truck. Warren also found time for fishing, crabbing and water-skiing. He loved motorbikes, perhaps a little too well: rumoured to have clocked the fastest time along the length of Kent St he also long rued the day when he was fined a month’s worth of wages for undue noise at The Pocket.
In 1964 he married Gloria Harvey and was working building power lines around Injune and Miles. After her tragic death two years later, he ploughed his energy into his work.
Tragedy struck the Persal family again early in 1970 when his younger brother Bernie died in a road crash.
A blessing also came that year when he married nurse Raelene Keene of Howard, a quiet pillar of strength in the challenging early days in western Queensland who shared her husband’s unswerving values as his empire grew.
“Life with Warren was flat out all the time,” says Raelene.
Soon after they were married they were making regular trips out west, living in caravans with Graham and Janet, born in 1971. Occasionally they rented a house but a caravan was usually their home as they went to where the contracts were. The no-frills lifestyle often included no roads. A contract with MIM delivering power to the Kianga mine near Moura in the early 1970s signalled the start of a lucrative association with the coalfields. The Persal reputation grew as Warren left no stone unturned to deliver quality on time.
In his spare time he took his building tools to Hervey Bay to build the Pine Lodge and Silver Sands units. His father John had already built the Pacific View units. By 1973 Warren and Raelene were ready to build their first home. It was going to be made of timber in John St but Warren decided if a Moura mine contract in the wings came through it would be brick. Brick it was. Warren’s young family continued to travel with him to jobs, growing to three when Brian was born in 1975. Life had another cruel blow in store that year: John Persal drowned in a fishing boat tragedy off Breaksea Spit on Fraser Island.
Five years later Warren looked around for a hotel investment and settled on the Carriers Arms Hotel, carrying out extensive remodelling and installing Angus Robertson as manager while he continued to build power lines in the mines and beyond. The early 1980s was a pivotal time as the mining boom started. It was a case of get big or get out. Warren bit the bullet and kept delivering quality.
He took power to Burketown, to the Ok Tedi mine in Papua New Guinea and to the dam pump at Lake Argyll. In 1987 he built three sections of the Brisbane to Rockhampton rail electrification scheme. In 1990 Persal and Co crews raised more than 1000 poles in six months in a 340km line from Kidston to Normanton. He was innovative, took risks and tackled complex contracts, such as the Cape Upstart project where lines had to be laid with helicopters.
Investing in his home community suited him: he had a passion for the Fraser Coast, keeping his main headquarters in Maryborough, creating opportunities for young people and buying local whenever he could. Staff loyalty at Persal and Co was intense and the backbone of customer service. If a power emergency arose on a big site on Christmas Eve and a crew or equipment was needed urgently, it would be done. Warren continued to invest in the Fraser Coast, setting up a hire business network and in 2014 buying the Beach House Hotel at Scarness.
Brian says Warren was driven by “good old Aussie have a go” and was always looking for opportunities. Janet said despite his extensive and intensive work, “Dad was always about family.” Although, she added, they never had a holiday in a caravan. He had enough of caravanning in the early days. He insisted that each of his three children went out in the world and “work it out for yourself” before he would give them a job. They readily admit he could be a hard taskmaster but saw him as a good teacher. Persal and Co. businesses have given valuable sponsorship to sports clubs, regional events, museum and Fraser Coast book publications. He provided cranes and containers to remove and replace St Paul’s bells when they were refurbished and was the main sponsor for the Duncan Chapman statue, extending that to be a partner in the second stage to be built this year.
He also sponsored the statue of St Peter at the Urangan boat harbour, the memorial to fishermen lost at sea. The name of his father John Persal is among those on the base of the statue.
On his office wall he kept a sign, “A man who makes up his mind to win does not know the word ‘Impossible’,” which sums up his courage in business but on the Fraser Coast Warren will always be remembered as the man with a big heart who made his region a better place.
In 2016 his achievements and his role as a benefactor to thousands of individuals and institutions in the region was recognised when he was named Fraser Coast Citizen of the Year.
Warren is survived by his wife Raelene, his children Graham, Janet and Brian and his six grandchildren, Rebecca and Kelsey, Natasha and Kaitlyn and twins Lachlan and Madison.
TRIBUTE: About 1000 people gathered at Maryborough’s Brolga Theatre to remember the life of Fraser Coast businessman and philanthropist Warren Persal.
NOTE> The editor & owner of this site sees many similarities to himself & our dear departed friend Warren. I too was an Electrician who later employed dozens of people in that industry & others, putting several apprentices through their time.During my time as an electrical apprentice served time with Power Line Constructions[PLC] in Papua New Guinea.& Queensland.
Later to become the owner of several businesses including the Bay Central Tavern in Hervey Bay Qld, Nightclub in the Sunshine coast. Many many more experiences.Later.
However this commemoration is for Warren Purcel Fraser Coast Qld Icon. R.I.P.
Today the 29th September 2017 the community celebrated the life that was Malcolm Ronald Chard. He gave so much to the local community in the Howard district & will be fondly remembered by all by what he did & gave to those around him & beyond.
CELEBRATING HOW HE LIVED NOT HOW HE DIED
Vic Burgess delivered an address to the respecting crown attending which esposed the virtues of the man that was Malcolm Ronald Chard. He will be fondly remembered by all.
We all share in the grief of his family & know that Mal will always be there close to our hearts.
I attended the ceremony with respect to the man who served his community well.
The following images are just some indication of the adulation the mourners felt.
R.I.P. Malcom Ronald Chard 27th March 1948-21st September 2017-69 years
LET YOUR MEMORIES LIVE ON IN THE HEARTS & MINDS OF THOSE YOU LEFT BEHIND
*This guy has his head screwed on right. Could not agree more [Henry Sapiecha]
Dr Sirolli said the council needed to start taking the ideas of those in the community seriously and that assets like higher education, a stable government and democracy would do the hard yards in allowing ventures to work. Alistair Brightman
*THE council needs to “shut up and listen” if the Fraser Coast region is to be revived, says a visiting international economics doctor.
Dr Ernesto Sirolli, a world-renowned Californian economist, says Fraser Coast Regional Council could fix the problem of a floundering economy if they listened to local talent.
Findings from the recent State of Regions Report 2014-2015 found the Wide Bay Burnett area to have one of the worst performing economies in Australia with the second fastest rise in unemployment.
However, Dr Sirolli said Australia’s wealth was phenomenal and there was no reason for local stagnation.
As residents struggle to hang onto or find work, Dr Sirolli’s fresh approach on a civic economy is needed to revitlise the area.
Finishing a two-and-a-half day conference today with the council and local business leaders, Dr Sirolli hopes his message is heard.
Key to Dr Sorelli’s proposal is for the council to guide the ideas of budding business minds, in a confidential manner.
“Local government needs to be responsive to those who want to do,” he said.
It is ultimately envisioned for the council to become a business consultant to encourage more risk taking in the area, he said.
Success using his approach is possible.
“Look to Coffs Harbour for inspiration, a city similar Hervey Bay, where there is group of IT entrepreneurs now employing 18 people to undertake work across Australia,” he said.
Dr Sirolli said the council needed to start taking the ideas of those in the community seriously and that assets like higher education, a stable government and democracy would do the hard yards in allowing ventures to work.
“FCRC needs to start listening and I want them to fall in love with enterprise,” he said.
“The experts need to have humility and respect for those with direction.”
Dr Sirolli said intelligence was not based on geography and that Australians were as equally smart as others.
“Local government just needs to support people to allow them to become inspired entrepreneurs.”
Hopeful of positive change nearby, Mr Sirolli said: “The FCRC want to understand how to put theory into practise and we are having frank and engaged conversations.”
Mayor Gerard O’Connell said now was the time to listen to Dr Sirolli and for the council to encourage private enterprise.
“We are already accommodating medium to large businesses and now we need to think about helping individuals operating out of their spare bedroom or garage,” he said.
“We need to be open, to hear the language from younger folk prepared to be entrepreneurial and to give them the space to do so.”
Succession planning and mentoring from business leaders was also on FCRC’s agenda.
“Our education city shouldn’t just been confined to bricks and mortar,” he said.
Chronicle readers are keen to see industry get back into swing in Maryborough and to make tourism an all-year-round money maker.
An increase in factory start-ups, more concerts, Maryborough hospital upgrades and a reduction in red tape have all been suggested.
DR ERNESTO SIROLLI
Dr Sirolli is the CEO and founder of Sirolli Institute.
He advocates a civic economy and has over 25 years experience in enterprise facilitation.
Sirolli Institute is engaged by local governments and corporations around the world.
His work has prompted more than 250 communities to take person-centred approaches to local economic development.
Woman learns not to bring a cattle prod to a taser fight
THIS IS THE POLICE VERSION TO THE PAPERS-OTHER VERSION COMING IN NEXT
HOWARD police say they tasered a man who assaulted police in a shock-weapon stand-off involving a woman armed with a cattle prod at Torbanlea.
Police said a routine task “turned to custard” when they attended to speak to the occupants of a house who had allegedly moved back in since it was repossessed in October.
Sergeant Martin Slack said two police officers had attended to make inquiries about 9.15am on Tuesday, but when the situation escalated to threats and violence, a stand-off developed and a Howard police officer used his taser on the 34-year-old man.
The Torbanlea man and his 31-year-old female partner were arrested.
He was charged with assault on police, trespassing and obstructing police.
The woman was charged with serious assault on a police officer, trespassing and obstructing police.
Both have been given notice to appear at Maryborough Magistrates Court on November 26.
“No one was injured in the incident,” a spokesman for the Howard police said.
Sgt Slack said the taser was used to create an opportunity for officers to restrain the person.
“It stops the person from being able to lash out,” he said.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly said the man was armed with the cattle prod.
Topics: hervey bay, howard, police, taser, torbanlea
The Torbanlea Taser & cattleprod Saga unfolds as the perpetrators say they are the victims.
Watch out soon for the other sides version of what happened >>
WATER BOARD WIDE BAY FRASER COAST RESUMED BY LOCAL FC COUNCIL.. COMMENTS BY TIM WALDRON EX-WATER CHIEF
The decision to put the Fraser Coast’s water and sewerage infrastructure and servicing back into total council control is a major step backwards, says Tim Waldron who ran Wide Bay Water Corporation for 10 years.
“You should never move something efficient into something less efficient such as a council-local government-style entity and that’s what’s happening,” Mr Waldron said.