Family and friends mourn loss of happy Joel
AT JUST 23, Hervey Bay's Joel Hampton had seen more of the world and his own backyard than most.
Known for his ever-present smile, the keen adventurer was out in the bush doing what he loved best when his young life was cut short on a remote road near Mt Isa at the weekend.
Having grown up in the northern New South Wales country town of Murwillumbah, Joel felt most at home in the great outdoors.
Travelling in the passenger seat back to town, Joel was killed instantly when his driver lost control and crashed into a power pole.
The driver was critically injured and died later in hospital.
On Monday, Joel's devastated family and friends paid tribute to an irreplaceable son, brother and mate.
Early on Sunday, Joel's parents Damian and Loraine received the news their son had died.
Still in disbelief, Mr Hampton said, like every-one else, he had always thought this kind of tragedy happened "to other people".
He said it seemed impossible that his family would be able to go on without Joel but the best they could do was remember the good times - dad-and-son fishing trips and BMX riding to name a couple - and be grateful he packed so many experiences into his short life.
Over the years, Joel had also lived in Melbourne and Airlie Beach, travelled around the outback working in the mines, visited Taiwan, Thailand and recently returned from a trip to Europe and Turkey.
He had a large circle of friends, worked hard, "loved a drink", was fiercely patriotic - his dad said he was particularly proud of his recent visit to Gallipoli and hoped to return - and was a dear sibling to his big brother Matthew and little sister Teija.
"He was always happy, always energetic and just wanted to be around people," Mr Hampton said.
He didn't die wondering, he was never one not to give something a go."
News of Joel's passing triggered an outpouring of grief on social media.
Joel was one of eight people to die on Queensland roads at the weekend.
His funeral details will be announced at a later date.