Patrick “Paddy” Maguire (August 28, 1951 – August 10, 2017)

Patrick “Paddy” Maguire

Paddy was the firstborn son of Trixie and Pat, born in Smithton in 1951. Their early lives started at Mawbanna before moving to Hunter Island when he was 13 months old and followed by the birth of five siblings. Paddy enjoyed an idyllic upbringing on the island often barefoot and naked, a child at one with nature.

Even from an early age he told his mother he wanted to be a fisherman like Georgie French and Billy Dart. Trix remembers him always playing ‘boats’ and he always had the biggest boat.

Paddy’s love and responsibility as the eldest of his siblings was legendary. But he was often in trouble with Trix at an early age for playing in the creek on the island and always coming home wet through from trying to breathe underwater with a sauce bottle.

Paddy had a lifetime love of water. He could repeat the phrase ‘Don’t go near the water’ when he was only 18 months old. When Paddy was about four he ran screaming to the house to tell Trix that ‘Gill’s in the creek!’ and rushed away. Trix, pregnant with Tony at the time, was finding it hard to run and by the time she had arrived Paddy had managed to save Gill, hanging her from the edge of the bridge, her little head just out of the water.

Paddy, along with the other Maguire children, was homeschooled on the island. He left at the age of 11 to attend Marist Regional College as a full time boarder. Without the freedom of the island, Paddy was often in trouble with the priests. One night, he and another student escaped from the dormitory and caught the nun’s goat. They painted it with black stripes as Paddy was a keen Collingwood supporter. The priests however took a dim view and threatened a weekend detention for the entire school. As testament to his character, Paddy confessed.

Paddy left school at 16 and returned to the island to work with his father. He also started muttonbirding with Billy Vincent, catching 400 birds a day for seven and a half cents per bird. During this time he was able to purchase a 14 foot Clark dinghy with a 20 horsepower mercury motor.

Billy arrived one day with the mail containing a letter from the fisheries department stating he had been awarded an abalone licence. This was one of the last two offered. Within two hours Paddy was departing the island in his dinghy never to return to the farm.

He had an innate adventurous spirit. At 17, he saved and embarked on his first of two world trips. He backpacked, rarely staying in hostels, instead opting for bus stops and park benches. His passport is a marvel as he travelled to 50 odd countries including Afghanistan and Israel.

He was arrested in England after leaving Ireland as an IRA suspect due to his Irish sounding name. He also spent two weeks in jail in Rio for circumstances best left untold.

The stories he did tell of his time were incredible and the experiences shaped Paddy into the person he was. He could not bear inequality and always helped people not as privileged as he was, and he could not tolerate racism.

Spending time working in the cane fields in Mena Creek, Queensland, Paddy met his future wife Sue in Innisfail in August 1976.

On their way to the Opal Dance, an Aboriginal ball, Sue and her sister Diane stopped by the Grand Central where Paddy and his crew were drinking. Paddy ended up crashing the ball, the fairest person there, and the rest is history. Paddy brought his beauty back to Tasmania and they married at Star of the Sea in Stanley.

Along came Gabe and the new family put their roots in Christmas Hills. Not long after Gabe came Selina and Paddy was often seen out on the sea diving with two little ones in tow. And then along came Emmaly, and she too joined the fun that for the children often included fishing, shooting, cutting wood and feeding the cattle.

As his children grew to be adults, Paddy lovingly welcomed six grandchildren – the light of his life he was often heard boasting about them. Poppy and Nan’s place was a wonderland for children: motorbikes, boats, climbing trees.

A respected fisherman, Paddy and friend George Badenach were instrumental in saving the wharf in Smithton. After three years of countless meetings, the state government agreed to rebuild the wharf as it stands today.

Paddy considered anyone that worked for him a part of the family, a fact his deckies over the years can attest to.

Throughout his 49 years fishing, he also maintained a couple of hobby farms rearing beef cattle and keeping his farming roots.

Three years ago Paddy had a quadruple bypass. True to his spirit and against doctors’ and family’s orders, he was straight back in the wetsuit, stitches barely healed. In 2015, he received the devastating news that he had inoperable brain cancer. Still, with a zest for life and sheer determination he carried on. Right to the day when he had to be carried off the boat by his son. Paddy had a rare outlook on life, always seeing the positive in situations and people.

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