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Remembering Ernie Goleby

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Many of us will remember Ernie as the quiet Rotarian. He quietly expressed his views, he quietly supported projects close to his heart and at times he quietly supported programmes financially without making a fuss. Yet, he was a very engaged and well respected Redlander.

Ernie, who passed away on 12th October 2018, joined Cleveland Rotary on 6th March 1973 and his Classification was initially Gladioli Growing and, as was the case in a small community, he probably later changed his Classification to Nurseryman to accommodate another new member who was also a Gladioli grower at the time. He resigned from Rotary on 30th June 2012, due to health reasons, having served his Community as an active Rotarian for 39 years.

Ernie proudly boasted 100% attendance record at Cleveland Rotary Club, something which very few members are able to achieve. That was Ernie’s way.

Photo courtesy of Redland Museum - Ernie & Shirley in the 1924 Model T Ford

Ernie was born Ernest James Goleby on the 20th May 1941. He was the third child of Phillip Eric Goleby and Carolena Amelia Goleby (nee Holzaphel).

At the young age of 5 he started school at Thornlands State School and continued his schooling through to grade 7. On finishing his schooling he went straight to work on the family farm at Mcleod Street Cleveland where they grew cabbages, cauliflowers, tomatoes, cucumbers and potatoes. ln those days the Redlands was known widely as the salad bowl.

At the age of 17 Ernie met Shirley Glennis Benfer at a church camp. Shirley was from Victoria Point and after a few years of courtship, at the age of 22 on the 27th of April 1963, Ernie and Shirley were married at the Victoria Point Methodist Church. They commenced their married life by moving into the family farm at Mcleod St Cleveland, and after a couple of years Ernie and Shirley had their first child a daughter named Janine, then 3 years later a son named lan and this completed their family.

 In 1973 Ernie and Shirley bought their own farm at Thornlands Road, Thornlands where they grew Gladioli, sweet potatoes and English potatoes. Every year Ernie and Shirley would do their annual trip driving to Victoria and South Australia to inspect their potato seed and gladioli bulbs before purchasing, to keep up with new varieties and to ensure he had virus free stock for the coming year to maintain the highest quality he could.

ln Ernie's early years he loved sport and played A Grade Club cricket with the Cleveland/Thornlands cricket club and also was an A grade tennis player. He loved Saturday afternoons playing club cricket and having the families coming to the games to watch with their children. During cricket season on Saturday mornings Ernie would coach the school boys cricket team.


ln Ernie's farming days in the Redlands he was the President of the Redlands Farmers Society and organised many things including their annual dinner. He was also Deputy Chairman of the Queensland Fruit and Vegetable Growers for 11years and in that time he was also a grower representative for Heavy Produce covering coastal areas from Beenleigh to Bundaberg.


As Farming in the Redlands became more difficult with development encroaching farm land, Ernie and his son lan expanded their farming into Bundaberg to grow sugarcane, sweet potatoes and potatoes.


Ernie and Shirley stayed in Cleveland with many trips to Bundaberg to help out, on many occasions with planting and harvesting crops and also bringing his granddaughters Carly and Sharna to visit their cousins where they had some amazing times on the farm together.


Ernie was a long-time member of the Cleveland Uniting Church and coming from a Christian family. He attended church from when he was born until he was no longer able to attend due to health problems.

On his last Sunday he was presented with a certificate of appreciation for his work over the years within the church with many kind words about his dedication.


Ernie had many other interests. He owned a stamp shop in the Brisbane CBD. He was the Treasurer of the Queensland Postcard Collectors Society until about 8 years ago when his health deteriorated.


He was a foundation member of the Redlands Museum, which commenced its life as a Community Service Project in Cleveland Rotary.


Above all he was a wonderful and devoted husband and father, father-in-law to John and Kathy, grandfather and great grandfather and always made time for his wife Shirley and family.


He adored his grandchildren and they all loved him so much, he was such a big part of their lives. Janine has two beautiful daughters Carly and Sharna and lan has 4 beautiful children 2 daughters Janessa and Tiara and 2 sons Joel and Riley and Ernie has 3 great-grandchildren Azariah, Briella and Eva.


Ernie will be sadly missed but will never be forgotten. R.l.P

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