Today in history: Heron Is owner missing, presumed drowned

ON THIS day (30 November) in Gladstone history: 


1947: 

Chris Paulsen, 60, Barrier Reef identity and owner of Heron Island, rowed away in a dinghy from a yacht moored off the island some time on Friday night.

Nothing has been heard of him since. He is believed to have been drowned.

He visited friends on a Brisbane yacht, the Irma, anchored off the island, on Friday night, and left in the yacht's dinghy to row ashore at 11 pm.

His absence was not discovered until late yesterday morning, as people on the yacht thought he was ashore and people on the island thought he was on the yacht.

A thorough search of the island was made by 50 to 60 people there.

The Barrier Reef Air Service Catalina which called at the island about 10 am, also joined the search.

A strong wind and choppy sea were operating when Mr Paulsen left the yacht, and the wind must have carried him out.

Captain Middlemiss of Barrier Reef Air said the wind would blow him away from the island and would carry him towards Bundaberg if Mr Paulsen had been able to keep the dinghy afloat.

Mr Paulsen is an expert boatman and has expert knowledge of the reef.

Mrs Paulsen lives in Brisbane.