Remembering Les Bax


By Sheree Hoddinett 

With a charisma and personality that drew others to him, Les Bax lived life to the fullest, making the most of every opportunity that came his way, right up until the end. Sadly, Les passed away on Saturday April 30, aged 89. His affiliation with Bribie Island goes back to long before the Island was even connected via bridge to the mainland (that came along in 1963). A keen fisherman and regular patron at Scoopy’s, his knowledge on some historical aspects of the Island and a love of telling a good story are just some of the many things that made Les the lovable character he was. 

Les was born in Childers on September 29, 1932, but it was Bribie that he called home and the place where he met and settled down with his wife Mavis. He first started coming to Bribie in 1958 and was doing a painting job for his Uncle on the Island, when he was invited to eat at the local hotel, known as Bluey’s. Mavis worked at the hotel, romance blossomed and they married in 1960. Although they moved to Geebung for a period of time they continued to visit the Island. Bribie still beckoned and they later resettled at Bongaree.

Although Mavis passed away in 2019, Les continued to live on the Island until about 18 months ago before he was hospitalised with a kidney infection, moving into care at Regis Caboolture. Daughter, Kay has many fond memories of her Dad and was proud of the way he adapted his life to his surroundings.

“Mum and Dad lived on the Island for well over 30 years,” Kay said. “He really loved the place and knew a bit about the history of the Island. He knew about the Cormorant, as he was on the boat which towed it to the Island. Dad had a hard life when he was young. Back in those days things were really tough. He talked about his childhood and not feeling loved. He said Mum was the first person who ever really loved him. His favourite saying was ‘I’ll never give up’ and we’re going to put that on his plaque in the memorial gardens.”

Kay recalls how hard both her parents worked to ensure their family was well looked after. When Les married Mavis, she already had two young daughters. Kay admires her father for the role that he took on and admits she didn’t make it easy to start with, but felt that Les was an amazing man who showered them with love.

“We did talk about the time where we both sat on the back steps, both of us crying, and he told me how much he loved my mother and how he wanted to give us a good life. And he did give us a good life,” Kay said. “Mum and Dad worked really well together. They saved money and had their first little house and then sold that to build another home. Coming from no money, to what they eventually established, was just a testament of how well they worked together.” 

Les was close to his grandchildren. In total he had five granddaughters and ten great grandchildren.

“Mum and Dad also had a daughter together. She’s 17 years younger than me,” Kay said. “She has two girls (Casey and Caitlin) who were very close with Les. They saw him every day until he passed away.”

Although based in Sydney, Kay often travelled north to visit her parents. Covid closing borders certainly made an impact on visiting her father over the last two years, but once she was able to get back up here, Kay visited as often as she could.

“There’s so much I could tell you about my Dad,” she said. “He had a charisma about him that people liked. He had friends that were a lot younger than him and he had a personality that people really loved. He loved Scoopy’s going there every morning. He’d get out of bed, get on his scooter and go meet some of his friends. One of his friends, Big John, that he caught up with regularly, actually passed away two days after Les. He loved fishing and heading out on his boat. He loved telling stories, always having lots to share. Believe it or not he had a really good voice and was a lovely singer, often singing at weddings when people asked him to. In his day he actually sang for the Queensland Youth Choir and he also joined the choir at the nursing home. He also liked to drink red wine with me. People would say they knew I was visiting because Dad had a hangover.”

A memorial for Les will be held on what would have been his 90th birthday (September 29) at the Bribie Island Memorial Gardens.

Recent Posts

See All

I first met Bribie Island’s Heinrich van Rensburg, a couple of weeks ago through my dear Dalmatian, Bertie. But let’s get the background to this story sorted out first. It all started a little after B