The Perfect Picture of Passionate

Posted on 20th June 2016


So, how many passionate people are out there?

Don’t try to an answer; it’s far too confusing. But throughout history, people of “passion” have emerged and do every day, to make their own and mostly under-the radar mark.

The Heart of Australia project was born of the passion of Dr Rolf Gomes to break the barriers of distance to deliver reliable specialist medical services to the bush in Queensland.

Along the way since it’s 2014 start, HoA has encountered so many individuals wanting to share that passion and we’d like to introduce Rob Buchan, from the Far Southwestern town of St George.

Rob’s family found its way from NSW to St George in 1948 and as very young men, Rob and his brother David started, in Rob’s words, “running all over Queensland following jobs” including up to Julia Creek, Richmond and Mt Isa.

They got a couple of breaks – salvaging kangaroo bones by the truckload to help fuel stockfeed manufacturers battling grain shortages, and as earthmoving contractors building dams and roads employing ex-military machinery sourced from the US.

Along the way, the Buchan Boys became cotton farmers and renowned house-movers because, Rob says, “we did the big house removals, 11-foot ceilings and such, that all the experts said couldn’t be done”.

At one time, when St George was without an undertaker, Rob stepped up to the job temporarily.

Now, at 74 and with triple bypass heart surgery behind him, Rob, who’s married to local GP Dr Desley Marshall, is thriving at the abiding passion in his life – helping people, the locals and streams of tourists to know St George, it’s surprising artistic “secrets” and its colourful history.

“All my life, I’ve just tried to contribute something,” he says, while admitting that “just about every day, I randomly talk to people in town, point out interesting things not on the tourist brochures and even take stray people on town tours”.

And Rob is passionate about the Heart of Australia project. He reckons what he calls “the heart bus” is too-long-overdue recognition that bush Australians “are Australians too”.

He made it his mission to help the service and managed to score the special HEART1 registration plates for the Heart of Australia semi-trailer.

In Rob’s words: “The smaller the community, the bigger the heart”.

– story by Peter MacDonald.

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