Andrew Goldfinch.
Andrew Goldfinch. NIKITA WATTS

Hundreds farewell fisherman

HUNDREDS gathered yesterday to farewell commercial fisherman Andrew Goldfinch whose body was discovered in Water Park Creek on June 5.

Mr Goldfinch was cremated after a Pagan ceremony at Rockhampton Crematorium during which he was described as a true Aussie character with a passion for nature, fishing and the sea.

His partner Sharon, described as his soul mate, fought back the tears as she told the congregation that Andrew “called it as he saw it” and sometimes rubbed people the wrong way because he spoke his mind.

“But he was ready to give a helping hand to anyone who asked. He was trickster, nature lover and a man without fuss,” she said.

Mates were asked to stand to recall their memories. One described Andrew as a bloody good mate who, during the last two years of his life had enjoyed his best and happiest times.

“He met his soul mate and there were no more wild days,” he said.

Another described why, although his name was Andrew, he was known to many as Mal or Mel.

He said that when he was a skinny youth apprentice motor mechanic in Rockhampton he had been so thin he was called Mal for malnutrition.

“He was a man of intelligence who often wrote letters to the editor defending commercial fishing,” he said.

“But what he believed most was that he had finally discovered the woman who could put up with him. He was happy and content.”

Celebrant Helen De Palma Day, who guided the gathering through the Pagan rights, read some of Mr Goldfinch’s own words.

“What’s done is done, get over it,” she said.

His sister, Greer, said her brother had lived a wonderful life.

“He was the true Aussie character, a larrikin with a passion for fishing and the sea.”

He died doing what he loved. The 48-year-old had left on a fishing trip to Corio Bay, north of Yeppoon, on Tuesday, May 31.

The alarm was raised when his empty tinny was discovered in mangroves the following morning and there was a massive search involving helicopter rescue crews, police, SES, coastguard and Yeppoon’s boating fraternity.

Police confirmed last Tuesday that his death was the result of a tragic accident.

As yesterday’s ceremony concluded, scores of his friends lined up to place flower petals on his coffin.

One of his caps was also on the coffin and when the crematorium curtains closed and the room emptied, all that remained was a pair of thongs facing the curtain.

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