Central Queensland has lost one of its great political characters from the past century with the passing of Neville Hewitt.
Mr Hewitt, a former state National County Party MP from the Theodore district, passed away aged 96.
He played a pivotal role in representing various parts of Central Queensland in the National Country Party (later the National Party) as far back as the early 1950s.
He was born in Theodore, but spend much of his life in Rockhampton while his children were being educated.
The eldest of six children, Mr Hewitt was born on a kitchen table on a Theodore cattle property in 1920.
He started his education at Theodore State School in 1926, finishing at Rockhampton Grammar School from 1934 to 1936 after a stint of distance education.
Despite facing the constituents of a blue ribbon Labor seat stretching from Sarina to Cracow, Mr Hewitt won Mackenzie in 1956 for the then Country Party.
The seat was later renamed Auburn, and abolished ahead of 1992 state election. It was largely absorbed into the pre-existing district of Callide, with parts also going to the new district of Fitzroy.
Mr Hewitt served as an MP, and later a cabinet minister, until his retirement from politics in 1980.
During his tenure as the longest serving Minister for Water Resources nearly all Queensland's major dams and weirs were built.
This long-term vision on water storage, as well as his involvement with the Brigalow Land Development Scheme, has formed a large part of his political legacy.
Member for Capricornia, Michelle Landry paid tribute to the respected National Country Party stalwart.
“I think one of the great testaments to his work and legacy is the fact that he had major infrastructure like the Neville Hewitt Bridge (new bridge) which crosses the Fitzroy River in Rockhampton City, named after him while he was still alive,” Ms Landry said.
“It demonstrates the sense of esteem that he was regarded with by the community.”
Up to 36,000 vehicles cross the bridge in the city each day.
Another testament is the th Neville Hewitt Weir built in 1976, and totally changed the uses of the Dawson River.
The weir gave water to Baralaba, to nearby properties on the local Benleith Water Scheme, the Baralaba Golf Club, and for the town of Woorabinda. Properties access irrigation for hay and grain crops and cotton production, while there has also been some diversification into fruit and vegetable farming.
Ms Landry said Mr Hewitt not only served his state in parliament, but served his nation with exemplary service in World War Two.
After 24 years in State Parliament, Mr Hewitt returned to the land, managing cattle properties in Central Queensland.