“In an earlier life, Dick and Helen were school teachers and moved to Adelaide in 1969, after country service at Naracoorte, Loxton and Port Pirie, followed by several years at Norwood High School.
They have been coming here for more than 20 years and have been around for all important events in our families’ lives. They had four boys and one of them was Clayton who they all called Clarrie. He was a plastic surgeon and very highly regarded in reconstructive surgery for people that had cancer.
Dick had an outrageous laugh which was just one of those laughs where if you don’t know what he was laughing about you just laugh with the guy anyway—it was awesome. His son Clarrie had exactly the same laugh – it was classic!
Both of the boys were real adrenaline-junkies. Dick was obviously into planes and Clarrie was a skydiver. Both loved cars; competitive driving, rally and race-cars. It wasn’t any good enough unless your foot was to the floor. Helen was their beautiful, patient wife and mother just quietly rolling her eyes at the craziness.
Dick was such a storyteller and one of those people that relished in other people’s success. He was really adventurous; used go out bush on the weekends since forever and just loved it. For Dick, Kangaroo Island was another scrubby outback adventure. He loved flying to the Island for a weekend away – not to relax, but to mend fences and other myriad farm chores! They always went back to Adelaide more tired than when they’d arrived.
The pilot thing came along early in his life and through wanting to go to bush more. He started doing adventure safaris and he got his commercial pilot licence in 1975. This led Dick and Helen to Zimbabwe, Botswana and Papua New Guinea. Instead of picking everyone up and going in a 4WD, they would go in a small aircraft. It was insane. Most people from the island would definitely know his name. Many would remember the Sunday afternoon joy-flights from Adelaide Airport in those old DC-3’s.
He’d also do a lot of commercial flights from Adelaide to here in a small plane. He did that for a long time as a bit of contract work with Emu Airways since I was young.
The only reason they were out west on the 3rd of January was to help out Dad on his Gosse property. That’s the kind of great mates they were.
I just want people to know that Dick and Clarrie weren’t reckless with their lives or that didn’t hear warnings that day. I hand on heart believe that they left with Helen in their hearts and heads and they thought, we got to get home to her, back to their property at Smith’s bay. Really, it could have been anyone. They were just great guys and it’s such a shame the world has lost them. So many great stories. I feel privileged to have known them let alone some of their stories. To be able to sit around the table, having dinner, listening to Dick was the best. The world got ripped off when those two left—that’s how I feel.” Emma