Vale Scallop King: Community farewells Ross Bradford
HE WAS a larrikin, family man and a leader of the scallop industry but on July 5, Ross Bradford died suddenly aged 62.
He is survived by his wife Shelley and son Hayden.
About 1200 people attended Ross' funeral on July 13 at Hervey Bay Baptist Church highlighting the impact he made on the community, particularly through the seafood industry. Ross was born on September 22, 1955 in Gayndah.
He spent much of his early life in Maryborough where he met Shelley, whom he married in 1975.
The couple had their daughter, Hayley who tragically died aged 11 and a few years later their son, Hayden was born.
In 1978, Ross transferred to Emerald where he met Rod Turner, a train driver who would remain by his side for the rest of his life.
"His work ethic was unbelievable,” Rod said.
"At one stage he was a greenkeeper in Gayndah, pouring beers at the Burnett Hotel and shunting of a night time.
"On his days off he'd work at the slaughter house and between that he'd play football on weekends.”
In 1985, Ross and Shelley became homesick and returned to Hervey Bay.
Looking for work, he stumbled across a small shop on Main St for sale where he opened his first store.
A few years later, he sold the business and opened up another dedicated to seafood at the old Condor Lakes supermarket. About five years later he sold up again and moved to a shop on Jetty Rd, Urangan which later became Boat Harbour Fisheries.
Rod, who later became manager of the business, said the pair had no idea what they were doing when they first opened the doors.
"I still remember the first day where we unloaded a boat called Night Raider,” he said.
"We had 400 baskets filled with scallops and it took us two days to unload it.
"We didn't know what we were going to do but it worked out.” Scallops were originally caught for the local market but in the early 90s, the export industry started.
"There was about 1200 boats on the east coast catching scallops during the Christmas period,” Rod said.
"There were only about six major factories doing the scalloping.”
Little did they know the business would sky rocket and they'd be exporting Hervey Bay's famous scallops to Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and China. Throughout his time in Hervey Bay, Ross donated much of his time and money to local organisations, acting as a sponsor for many events.
Aside from being passionate about his work, life and family, Ross was dedicated to his favourite sporting teams - the Broncos and Maroons.
"When they lost it was like the whole world ended,” Rod said.
"I remember I came back (to work) one day and the Broncos team was here eating crabs.”