Enduring tribute binds community
AN ENTIRE community has come together to erect a lasting memory for three men killed more than 40 years ago.
In 1972 Ronald John Holzberger, Evan Parker Becker and Douglas Thomas Becker were killed when a semi-trailer carrying ammonium nitrate exploded on Fitzroy Development Rd.
The explosion destroyed the prime mover and trailer, leaving a crater in the road two metres deep, five metres wide, 20 metres long and left two families reeling.
Parts of the truck and trailer were scattered up to two kilometres away.
The explosion was heard and shook houses 88km away in Moura and 55km away in Theodore.
On Easter Saturday, the families of the three men killed in the explosion unveiled a memorial for their loved ones.
"I knew I would do something there but I thought I would just get a good rock that no one could pinch and put a plaque on it," Owen Becker, brother of Evan and Douglas said.
The idea of a memorial grew after the Taroom Historical Society members approached Owen.
After the unveiling of a memorial for the men in Taroom, talk turned to doing something at the site of the accident.
"There is nothing there, so you would never know that is where it happened," Owen said.
"We retrieved the bulbar off the truck and cemented it in. The Taroom Historical association got the main plaque, and Ron's brother got one for him and we got two done for my brothers."
"Everyone helped out a bit.
He said wet weather delayed work.
"It could have been done two years ago but it had been too wet to get the rocks with the low loader."
Banana Shire Council also pitched in organising for the path around the memorial.
More than100 people attended the unveiling. Most were family or had been involved on the day of the accident.
Ron's brother Bill Holzberger, Bill McDonald, who was first on the scene after the explosion, and Rodney Hopson, who drove a second truck from the scene after the accident, attended the unveiling.
"It is adjacent to our property, so we drive past it often for the last 40 years. So it doesn't really bother us anymore.
"But Bill Holzberger and Bill McDonald haven't, so it was good of them to come because it would have been gut-wrenching for them."
Owen said he believed the new memorial helped heal many old wounds.
"I always intended to do something like this and I feel like I have done my bit.
"I have spoken to some people who didn't even believe in closure but have said they now feel like they now have that."