Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 14 February 2007

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Parliamentary Record 12


Debates for 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; 10th Assembly 2005 - 2008; Parliamentary Record; ParliamentNT




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Wednesday 14 February 2007 3900 On 5 February - this is awful, all these deaths lately long-time Pine Creek resident, Earl Gano, died. While Earl has been having health issues for many years, it was still a shock to hear of his death. He has contributed so much to the Pine Creek community and to the tourism industry through his love of gold and heritage values. He was a character and will be long remembered by the people of Pine Creek and the thousands of visitors who have experienced gold panning with Earl. I was going to read into the Parliamentary Record some of what his long-time friend, Des Fishlock, and his wife, Sandra, had to say on NT Country Hour following Earls death. I will do that tomorrow night when I have more time. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend Earls funeral in Pine Creek last Sunday to share in the celebration of his life with his wife, Elaine and daughters, Holly and Crystal, but I extend to them my deepest sympathy for their loss and that of the Pine Creek community. Mr KNIGHT (Daly): Madam Acting Deputy Speaker, I would like to acknowledge the death of a very prominent Territorian and certainly a major influence in the Pine Creek community, who, of course, is Earl Gano. Earl was born on 12 April 1948 and died on 5 February 2007. He lived his life to the full, and right to the end. I spoke to him in Australia Day this year and he was still full of life, still undertaking his maintenance contracts around the town. He has been through numerous operations over the last 12 years. He has had a number of significant diseases, but he has fought his way through them. He just would not accept that these things could take their toll. There was a lot said at the funeral, which was attended by many. There were people from a cross-section of the Territory and a cross-section of time in the Territory, from people he met only a few weeks before to people he met when he first came to the Territory in 1977, I believe. He influenced everyone. This short philosophy reflects his life the way that he saw it: Life should not be a journey to the grave with an intention of arriving safely in an attractive, well-preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, body thoroughly used up, beer in hand, totally worn out and screaming: Woo hoo! What a ride! That is the way he lived his life. Earl was born in Calgary, Alberta in Canada, the eldest son of Ross Bud and Irene Gano. A blizzard left the country roads impassable and Irene had to be airlifted to hospital. The irony of that situation is that Earl was born in a plane, and he died in a plane in transit from Katherine to Darwin. Earl grew up with his family on a farm where he developed skills, his love for the bush, birds, insects and history. He learnt the workings of all the machinery on the farm. He inherited his fathers love for story telling and enjoyed recounting his childhood adventures. He attended Water Valley School and, at the end of Grade 10, he began an apprenticeship as a boilermaker welder. In his spare time, he attended art classes and produced and sold a number of artworks and sculptures, all while still a teenager. It was at this time he met the love of his life, Elaine Treleaven at the Copper Kettle Caf. It was love at first sight and they were married in Madden, Alberta in 1969. Leaving Canada in 1971, they travelled throughout New Zealand, arriving in Australia in 1973. Earl fell in love with Australia and embraced every aspect of life in his adopted country. After four years in Mataranka as a ranger, they moved to Pine Creek in 1977 and started Back O Beyond Tours in 1981. During his 24 years in the Territory, Earl made an invaluable contribution to Pine Creek. He ran buffalo hunting tours, and was one of the driving forces for many projects in town, including the locomotive restoration, establishment of the Miners Park, Railway Museum and the Repeater Station. In 1996, he finished the vehicle tours and concentrated on his gold panning in Gun Alley. Anyone who has been to Pine Creek, and there have been thousands over the years, would know of his gold panning exploits in the town. He was a painter, poet and story teller, a husband and father and a good friend. He had a fascination for gold and the skills to create something from nothing, proved by building a front-end loader and backhoe on the front of a lawnmower. I have seen this lawnmower, which is a fantastic device. He had an enthusiasm for life and believed that you only go around once, so you have to grab it with all the gusto you can. Earl died after a 20-year battle with leukaemia while being airlifted to Darwin. He was buried at the Pine Creek Cemetery with his legendary Akubra hat and his lizard skin boots. Earl has left Elaine and their daughters, Crystal and Holly. To Crystal, Holly and Elaine, Earl will always be remembered, he left a legacy in Pine Creek and, I believe, the rest of the Territory. I will conclude my comments about Earl with a poem he wrote, which both Crystal and Holly read at the funeral. It is called The Dream: