Surat stalwart remembered

Bruce McLean is remembered for his personality and sense of humour


Vale Bruce McLean.

The late Bruce McLean, Wellesley, Surat. Picture - supplied.

The late Bruce McLean, Wellesley, Surat. Picture - supplied.

The Surat community lost a true hard working bushman with the passing of Bruce McLean on December 8 last year.

Aged 67 years, Mr McLean was well known for his gregarious personality, infectious laugh, and sense of humour.

He bravely fought prostate cancer and he never lost his sense of humour and positivity till the end.

Mr McLean is remembered for his community involvements including as a councillor with Warroo Shire Council for six years, a judge with the Surat Diggers Race Club prior to the introduction of the photo finish and the jockey steward.

He was also cattle steward at the Surat Show, which involved carting dozens and dozens of portable panels, Rural Fire Brigade, St George Feral Dog Committee, Parochial Council Surat, Warroo Masonic Lodge, and P and C president.

Mr McLean was born at Mitchell and grew up at Abbieglassie, south of Mitchell, with his parents Don and Helen McLean and brothers Walter and Jonathan (Jondy).

He was home schooled by his mother Helen McLean, (Peep) for early primary, then boarded at the Mitchell Hostel, and attended The Southport School as a boarder from years 8-11. He won a scholarship to attend Longreach Pastoral College.

He married Elizabeth Eastgate in January 1976 in Brisbane, and they moved to Wellesley south of Surat, which became their much loved home for almost 44 years.

Together the couple had four children, Richard, Lachlan, Katherine and Alice.

When the children attended boarding school in Brisbane for their senior education Wellesley became a very popular spot for many city school friends to visit.

They all loved Mr McLean's wood burning barbecue he had made and, it was nick named the pie cart.

He loved the family holidays at Alexandra Headlands staying at the family unit at Mandolin, and he loved to body surf and taught all the children the art of body surfing, without a board.

Mr McLean was definitely one to make people feel welcome and many happy times were spent around the table after a hard day's work, all laughing and having fun.

He often partied all night with the young ones at a special party, just to make sure they behaved themselves.

Mr McLean experienced many droughts over the years and his family are sad he did not get to see the current green grass.

If stock had to be sold reluctantly, he would quote his grandfather, Walter Loughnan who said sell and repent, but sell.

Mr McLean was an expert at reading earmarks on sheep and cattle, and enjoyed working for Dalgetys at the Surat sheep saleyards drafting sheep.

He also loved sheep and shearing, and enjoyed getting to know the shearers and forming a harmonious relationship with them.

A very proud man, Mr McLean took pride in the improvements done to Wellesley and Elgin Park over the past two two decades, which enabled the carrying capacity to be increased.

Improvements include two new sets of steel cattle yards, which were built by him and the family.

Despite not enjoying english at school, Mr McLean could play a mean game of Scrabble. He was gifted at music, a trait he inherited from his maternal grandmother, Arlie Loughnan.

He could play almost any tune by ear. He knew the lyrics to so many songs.

At New Year's Eve parties, Mr McLean would disappear at 11.45pm searching for a suitable leaf so he could play Auld Lang Syne on the leaf at midnight. He was very gifted at playing the leaf. Not only did he have an ear for music, he could also write lyrics.

His family gave Mr McLean a guitar for his 60th birthday and he wrote the song, "seasons come, seasons go", which was printed on his service sheet and played and sung by his nephew and niece, Oscar and Sara McLean at his funeral.

Together with wife Elizabeth, the couple enjoyed many trips over the past 10 years.

An observant man, Mr McLean noticed many things with his bushman's eyes, especially when visiting the Telegraph Station at Alice Springs, he noticed a drop rail gate in camel yards, that had been made with an axe, chisel and hammer.

Mr McLean died surrounded by his family.

He is survived by his wife Elizabeth, children Richard and Kylie, Lachlan and Libby, Katie, Alice and Scotty, and grandchildren Archie, Sally, Ella, Phoebe, Arlie, Billy, Zoe, Hugo, Hamish, Ed and Lily.


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