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Byron Shire
February 27, 2021

Vale Col Hadwell, a true son of the Bay

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Well known Byron identity Col Hadwell. Photo supplied
Well known Byron identity Col Hadwell. Photo supplied

Colin (Col) Hadwell tragically died on July 4 while riding his bike, which was his favourite pastime.

To Col, bike riding was a passion, whether it was his weekly rides to Brunswick for coffee and cake with friends, touring the Shire with the biking set, pedalling those 1,500 km trips with the Queensland Bike Association, touring with his wife Anne and friends in England, New Zealand and Slovenia, or touring by himself in Europe.

Our boy Col loved to ride his bike. Maybe Col’s love of riding started as a boy growing up in the late 40s, 50s and 60s in the industrial town that was the Bay.

Shirley Street pack

As part of the Shirley Street pack he, like all his peers, roamed free-range around the town fishing off the jetty or Belongil, bird nesting, swimming, having fun, being part of a friendly and protective community, where his roots grew deep and strong and where he developed lifelong friends whom he kept close to his heart.

Col attended Byron Bay Primary School and Mullumbimby High School. He was a Cub Scout leader ‘Akala’, and a dedicated member of the Byron Bay Surf Club. Being a robust ‘ranga,’ and strong young bloke, Col was a respected member of the Surf Boat crew, the R&R team and a strong participant in beach events.

He was a total ‘Club Man,’ serving the Surf Club committee as secretary for many years, and contributed greatly to the research and writing of the history of the Byron Bay Surf Club. He also oversaw the construction of the current Surf Club, and even designed the stained glass windows.

Col laboured for NORCO in Byron Bay before training as a draughtsman with the DMR in Grafton. He then worked as an engineering assistant with Blayney Council, then for Rankine & Hill Sydney doing road design and traffic engineering.

In 1972, Col travelled Europe with three mates in a Kombi before returning home to Byron Bay in 1979 with his wife Anne and first child Matthew to commence work as the town planner for Byron Shire Council for the next 27 years.

Once back home, Col again became involved with the Surf Club, the Byron Bay Historical Society, the RSL Club, The Oasis Club, and most recently a photography course.

Col was the person who if he said he would do it – he did it. A quiet achiever, Col got on with things, and was always happy to do the heavy lifting where and when needed.

A many-faceted man was Col. A ukulele player of questionable status, and fluent in German.  However, he was mainly renowned for his wonderful wit, and insightful poetry. He published several books of poetry, and performed his poems at many public recitals.

He also won the most coveted award for bush poetry, The Blackened Billy, in 1999. Col’s writing ability was recognised by his peers in the Australian Bush Ballad Society.

Col was a man who loved and respected his town and community and was loved and respected in return. You never heard him say an unkind word of others, or others say an unkind word of Col.

The community of ‘The Bay’ and the Byron Shire feel a great loss, and our hearts, love, and prayers go out to his wife Anne, and children Matthew, Aidan, Christopher, Lara and brother Tom.

The Bay is a better place because we had a son called Colin Hadwell.

Story supplied by Col’s family


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2 COMMENTS

  1. My thoughts with Anne and her family. It was a privalege to have worked with Col, a most kind, generous and caring man, always smiling, and always fun. Paddy.

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