Memories of Ernie

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Memories of Ernie

Messages of support for the Baxter family are being received after community stalwart Ernie Baxter passed away on Sunday morning after suffering a heart attack. He was 65 years old.

Mr Baxter, who co-founded the Port Douglas Crocs AFL team and also started the popular Beach Shack restaurant, was known for his strong sense of community and willingness to help others in their time of need, and was particularly active raising money for local cancer sufferers.

Mr Baxter's passing comes just months after the region lost another great character, Ian 'Chisel' McCormack', in June last year.

Dave Evans, a friend of both men, was able to reflect on the man who who meant so much to so many, and whose name adorns the bar and the Reserves Best and Fairest trophy at his beloved Crocs.

"Ernie was an avid Richmond supporter and had a real passion for football," Dave said. "He was the (Crocs') first vice-president and he was just a great organiser probably due to his Army background.

"Everyone who has come through the club had an affiliation with Ernie."

Unlike the sometimes outrageous Chisel, Dave said Ernie had a dark sense of humour.

"He was as dry as a chip. His sense of humour was close to morbid. He found it funny when people were scared in some way and he took great delight in seeing people cower," he said.

But Ernie leaves a legacy not many other people can achieve in their lifetime, earning the respect of everyone he met.

Dave had been speaking with a man who was serving in the same army regiment as Ernie had some 30 years earlier. He spoke of the arduous training he and his fellow soldiers had been enduring.

Dave recalled the story; "We were in the pub one day and he said 'When you're out there and you're doing a weekend of carrying a backpack with one ration of water and people are complaining, they'd say "Ernie Baxter would not have given up."