Ian was born in 1946 and Beth was born in January 1948. There were two older siblings, Robert, and Janice. The Hunters went to Dunvegan Primary School at Upper Orara.
The family farm at “The Knoll”, Dairyville, was selected by their grandfather in 1888, when a selector could buy a block of land cheaply at auction. They then had to live on it and make improvements such as clearing, fencing, dams and buildings.
The farm was at the junction of the Dingo Creek Road with the South Branch Loop Road, with wide flat pastures overlooking the Orara River Bridge from the west.
Ian and Beth Hunter were both fair-skinned and fair-haired. Ian commenced High School in 1959 and Beth in 1960.
Bob Sinclair, Merita Quinn and Philip Wilson travelled on the Upper Orara school bus with Beth and Ian and also the late Brian Camm who lived near the Hunters.
Merita says: " I remember being with Beth on the day President Kennedy was assassinated, and how upset we were. We used to have long phone conversations in our last 2 years of school, but unfortunately, we lost contact after leaving”.
Ian was keen on woodwork, metalwork and tech drawing. He completed the Intermediate in 1962 and gained a Fitting and Turning apprenticeship with the Public Works Department at Illarwill, near Maclean.
Beth completed the Leaving Certificate in 1964 and began her nursing career at Grafton. Beth suffered from a respiratory condition that forced her retirement from Nursing in 2009 and she passed away in 2017. Her story is in the Profiles pages.
While working at Maclean, Ian met and married Aileen who was doing Nursing in Grafton.
Ian qualified as a Fitter and Turner and they moved to Brisbane when Ian took a construction job with Leighton Contractors. Ian later started his own fabricating business, Centerline Engineering, manufacturing stormwater grates. His main customer was the Water Board; he had a reputation for excellence in all he did and he was proficient at fabrication of all sorts.
Ian was very generous to people in need and he never stopped working. He was semi-retired and very active when he died suddenly from a stroke just before age 70. He was always busy, with his family and his work, his motorhome and his little dog. A busy man, who still had much more to finish.
He is sadly missed by his family: Aileen, two sons, and three grandchildren.
Merv and I (Robert Sinclair) first met at Coffs Harbour Primary School. From then on I was proud to call Merv one of my very best friends.
Like most school boys we lived for the winters and the joy of playing rugby league. He was a gifted, fearless and inspiring player, always the team's 5/8 and captain.
We also shared a common interest in the great outdoors and in following the NRL competition.
His resilience and bravery came to the fore again in his 12 year long struggle with cancer. In the latter stages he had many difficult setbacks with which his wife Bev admirably contended.
Merv began primary school at Coffs in class 3B and in Coffs High School in class 1C. In Year 3 upon completion of the Intermediate Certificate, Merv was accepted into RAN Naval College at Port Leeuwin,WA. He completed that and further training in the USA. He was assigned to the new missile destroyer HMAS Hobart as a Sonar operator (submarinne detection).
Merv saw action in the Vietnam War when the "Hobart" with the US Naval Fleet, shelled the coast of North Vietnam.
After 10 years service he left the Navy and joined the better paid security industry in Sydney. He met and married Bev and they lived at Milperra. He worked for a few decades.until sadly overcome by illhealth.
When his audible voice was lost to neck surgery, I found out he had an iPad and offered to email him. We were able to email each other regularly. with topics such as his latest health dramas, our old school experiences and the candid anaylsis of the latest sporting events, particularly the NRL competition.
I like to think our emails helped give Merv an outlet from the considerable worry of declining health.
He passed away in Liverpool Hospital on 13 August 2016. As per his wishes, he was cremated in a private service. His ashes are to be scattered into the waters of the Coffs Harbour.
I will miss him. He will always be remembered by us as a great bloke.
Of the many colourful phrases he regulaly used in emails, I particularly liked: "NUFF SED"