EMOTIONAL RETURN: Biloela Rotary CLub president and owner of the butter factory Greg Lee (left) with special guest Michael Caton with his sister Robyn and wife Helen at the Last Chance Ball.
EMOTIONAL RETURN: Biloela Rotary CLub president and owner of the butter factory Greg Lee (left) with special guest Michael Caton with his sister Robyn and wife Helen at the Last Chance Ball.

Biloela day changed Catons' lives

MICHAEL Caton stood outside their old Kariboe Street home, unable to go in.

The famous Australian actor visited the house in which he spent his early years while he was in Biloela for the Last Chance Butter Factory Ball.

"I had no memory of the house, so it wasn't the experience for me that it was for my sister Robyn," the Packed to the Rafters star said.

"Robyn wanted me to come in, the present owner of the house was kind enough to invite us, but for some reason I didn't want to," Caton said.

The Caton family left Biloela after the death of their father, Septimus, who was accidentally killed while carrying out work on the engines in the Biloela butter factory on October 9, 1945.

Robyn shared her experience of her return after 65 years with Central Telegraph.

"It was so special to be invited in and to stand on the back steps and look across the back garden where dad would have walked every day to work," Robyn said.

"On the day he died, he ran back a couple of times to give my mother another kiss."

The Caton siblings visited the butter factory during the day before Saturday night's ball.

"Returning to the butter factory was bringing my Dad closer to me, because I knew I was walking in his footsteps, that this is what he did every day when he walked through our back garden and over to the factory," Robyn, who only has little vignettes of memories from that time, said.

"I was grateful that the machinery was gone and it was simply a big empty space.

"I didn't want to see the machine that killed him.

"Our lives changed forever that terrible day."

Michael said he had visited the factory before, a decade ago.

"I'd been up to clean up dad's grave, which is always pretty full on, and someone told me where the factory was," he said.

"I sat outside it and thought about how it had changed our lives.

"Walking into it last weekend was tempered by the fact it was an empty shell and there were 50 people working flat out getting it ready for the ball."

Robyn got to visit her father's grave for the first time.

"I always wanted to be able to put flowers on his grave and that was such a special moment for me too, to go to the cemetery and do that with Michael," she said.

"We told him how much we had missed his presence in our lives and how different it would have been for all of us, had he not been taken from us so early in our childhood.

"I am sure he has watched over us.

"Our sentimental journey was very special, we met some beautiful people and we hope we will return again."

The butter factory site, to be developed into care units, will be named Caton Gardens in their father's honour.


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