VALE John Pike
Born 13th September 1946 died 13th January 2019 (72 years)
John was a man of great principles, loyal and trusted, a well-read man of great intellect, a man who
could be described as larger than life itself, but most importantly John was a man who loved and was
loved by his family and friends and was well respected by all who knew him.
John started school at Wesley Grammar in Melbourne going on to study Business and Marketing at
Business experience in owning and managing the Bruce County Hotel in Victoria, (a very
innovative conference centre and hotel in its time ), held him in good stead in Port Douglas where
he established the Lazy Lizard Motel. He realised Port was growing rapidly and saw the need for
accommodation for its workers and built Tropic Court Apartments.
John’s love of history and tourism soon led him to start a bus tour company known as Reef and
Rainforest Connections, where he trained drivers to pass on lots of history of the
region as well as information about the rainforest and areas to the visitors. The Port Douglas
Information Centre was his booking office and he soon became aware that joining Vince
O’Flaherty in the business would mean they could offer their services to other companies working as
the General Sales Agents for many of the smaller and new companies starting up in town. John’s tours
visited Kuranda, Daintree and Mossman Gorge, Cape Tribulation, Bloomfield, Mareeba Wetlands,
Chillagoe and the Atherton Tablelands.
With a group of friends, john purchased and operated the vessel known as Hardys Courier, renaming it Sailaway Low Isles, and ran day tours to Low Isles. John was in the first group of people in the region to be accredited with ecotourism which fitted easily with his conviction of looking after our world. His strong sense of community led him to being a very active member of many organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce, Travel League, and the Carnivale Committee. When the Pilot Strike struck the area, a group of like-minded people called a meeting and formed the Douglas Shire Tourism Association. John was the inaugural Vice President, going on a couple of years later to lead as President. The Association lobbied the Federal Government and were successful in receiving the only grant which was used to put together a brochure and then go out and market the region to the rest of Australia. This put Port in the forefront when airplanes were up and running once again.
John had strong links to Council and was instrumental in negotiating that the power lines and their huge pylons not coming down the valley into Port, creating a scar on the escarpment.
He covered many road shows through connections with Sunlover Holidays, Queensland Tourist and
Travel Corp and both airlines and exhibited many times at the Australian Tourism Exchange.
John and his wife Margie left Port Douglas in 2009 for family requirements back in Victoria.
His daughter and son said at his funeral,
We will remember a man who was dedicated and passionate, detailed, time taking, and considerate.
Genuinely interested in life, adventurous, cheeky and not afraid to try something new.
He was a “take the road less travelled kind of guy…”
With thanks to Cathie Jones, Jeanette Walker, and Keithea Schaedler for their contributions.