HONOURED: Nev Callaghan had a Browne Park grandstand named in his honour recognising years of contribution to rugby league in CQ.
HONOURED: Nev Callaghan had a Browne Park grandstand named in his honour recognising years of contribution to rugby league in CQ. Chris Ison ROK130612ccapras4

'A heart as big as Phar Lap': Nev Callaghan remembered

UPDATE MONDAY 6AM: RESPECTED Rockhampton businessman and rugby league icon Nev Callaghan is being remembered as a true gentleman after he passed away on Saturday.

Mr Callaghan, who celebrated his 80th birthday with family and friends in February, helped establish one of the region's most iconic motor dealerships and played league for Queensland.

His passion for the sport was sparked by Cyril Connell who started teaching at Allenstown State School as a 17-year-old in 1947.

 

Nev Callaghan in action
Nev Callaghan in action conributed

He started as a full back and ended with Fitzroy Football Club as a hooker, known as a rake in the 1950s.

He told The Morning Bulletin in 2012 football "has always been the greatest game in the world to me".

In 2008, the grandstand on the George St side of Browne Park was named in Mr Callaghan's honour, recognising the years of dedicated service to growing the game in Central Queensland.

While his league career was short, Mr Callaghan played in the local competition and represented Central Queensland before going on to play for the state in 1959.

It was in this year Mr Callaghan, then 24, also gave up playing the game he loved to focus on a new business after being approached by Mick Docherty.

 

MOTORING MILESTONE: DC Motors 47th reunion committee (from left, front), Nev and Noela Callaghan, (back) Noel Roberts, Joanne Whitfield, Lesley Bell, Sandy Glazebrook and Ann-Maree Richardson finalise details for the 2013 reunion.
MOTORING MILESTONE: DC Motors 47th reunion committee (from left, front), Nev and Noela Callaghan, (back) Noel Roberts, Joanne Whitfield, Lesley Bell, Sandy Glazebrook and Ann-Maree Richardson finalise details for the 2013 reunion. Jenny Lightfoot ROK280613callagh

Together with their wives Noela Callaghan and Cath Docherty, the pair started DC Motors.

Under their management, it grew from a mechanical garage to a full scale automotive dealership, at one stage with additional stores in Gladstone, Biloela and Emerald.

Mr Docherty passed away in 1981, but the business and the significant contribution of both families remains a lasting legacy to their partnership.

Mr Callaghan sold the business to Steve McCosker in August 2006

Former Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten remembered a "gentleman", who had left a lasting mark on the region.

 

Noela and Nev Callaghan continued to buy cars from the DC Motors dealership after retirement.
Noela and Nev Callaghan continued to buy cars from the DC Motors dealership after retirement. Lisa Benoit ROK

Mr Schwarten's late mother Bonnie grew up with Mr Callaghan and the pair remained good friends.

Recalling their friendship, Mr Schwarten said the pair had both remarked how lucky they had been to reach the ages they had when they last saw each other in a doctor's surgery waiting room.

Mr Schwarten said the region was poorer for Mr Callaghan's loss, but all the richer for his dedication to both sporting and business sectors.

He has no doubt Mr Callaghan would have pulled on the Aussie jersey as part of the Kangaroos were he playing in this day and age.

"The thing people don't know about him is his extreme generosity," he said.

"He was a great footballer, a strong, fair, tough footballer.

"He should have played for Australia. He was the best bloke in town in many respects.

"He had a heart as big as Phar Lap.

 

"For all his toughness as a footballer, he was a very quiet man.

"Just a gentleman through and through."

Rockhampton construction magnate Geoff Murphy also paid tribute to Mr Callaghan, reflecting on their shared passion for business and rugby league.

"He will be sadly missed. He's been a great man for Rockhampton and was very generous to the community," Mr Murphy said.

"He was a wonderful footballer and an icon of the car industry.

"Neville was very highly thought of around Central Queensland and is somebody I can say I'm proud to have known."

>>READ: Friends remember Nev: 'We were very lucky to have him'<<

Mr Callaghan leaves behind wife Noela, children Ann-Marie Richardson, Tony Callaghan and Frances Walsh, seven grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a service to celebrate his life at the East Chapel, Rockhampton Crematorium on Wednesday from 10am.

INITIAL: TRIBUTES have today begun to flow for respected Rockhampton business man and rugby league icon Nev Callaghan who passed away on Saturday.

Mr Callaghan played rugby league for Queensland in the 1950s, before going into partnership to run DC Motors from 1959 to 2006.

Mr Callaghan was hooked on rugby league from a young age, well-respected as a player locally and went on to represent Central Queensland.

In 2008, the grandstand on the George St side of Browne Park was named in Mr Callaghan's honour, recognising the years of dedicated service to growing the game in Central Queensland.

 

Nev Callaghan, Fitzroy Football club reunion.
Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin
Nev Callaghan, Fitzroy Football club reunion. Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin Allan Reinikka ROK

In 1959, Mr Callaghan stopped playing to develop what would become one of Central Queensland's most iconic motor dealerships.

In partnership with wife Noela, and Cath and Mick Docherty, Mr Callaghan built DC Motors from a small garage to a full dealership, with additional stores in Gladstone, Biloela and Emerald.

Former Rockhampton MP Robert Schwarten today remembered a "gentleman" who had left a lasting mark on the region through a rich contribution to the business and sporting sectors.

"The thing people don't know about him is his extreme generosity," he said.

"He was a great footballer, a strong, fair, tough footballer.

"He should have played for Australia.

"He was the best bloke in town in many respects.

"He had a heart as big as Phar Lap.

"For all his toughness as a footballer, he was a very quiet man.

"Just a gentleman through and through."

More to follow.



Check out the style trackside from the Yeppoon Races

premium_icon Check out the style trackside from the Yeppoon Races

Gallery: Were you snapped by our photographer?

Reports of home under threat from fire

Reports of home under threat from fire

Multiple fires across the region moving fast due to strong winds

'Heartbreaking loss': Cyclones beaten in QBL semi

premium_icon 'Heartbreaking loss': Cyclones beaten in QBL semi

Rocky team's championship hopes dashed by Townsville

Local Partners