WATCH: Bay tourism pioneer farewelled at sea
THE founder of Hervey Bay's whale watching industry has been farewelled by friends and family at sea.
With whale watching boats surrounding Brian Perry's former boat the Quickcat II, his ashes were placed into the ocean in a 1metre-long whale-shaped paper mache urn by his wife Jill.
On the boat's return to the Urangan marina, a plaque was unveiled in honour of Mr Perry's contribution to the area.
Mr Perry's daughter Sarah spoke on behalf of the family.
She said it was special to be able to send her father off on his pride and joy.
"Dad loved family and loved everyone being together and this just would have been the perfect day for him," she said.
Fraser Coast Tourism and Events General Manager Martin Simons recounted the legendary tale about the day Mr Perry saw the big picture and potential in the industry at a time when the whales were seen as nothing more than a pest to fishermen.
"Brian was a gregarious bugger and in those days helped other people get into the industry," he said.
"He knew one boat wasn't going to create enough momentum for an industry so was very helpful to others.
"He was a stubborn bastard who didn't take no for an answer and proved that he could do things that other thought were impossible."
Mr Perry passed away in July, aged 72 after battling illness.
A private funeral was held during COVID-19 restrictions and a public memorial set for the October long weekend.
After the plaque unveiling on Monday the crowd walked to the Boat Club and celebrated his life over stories and drinks.