Margaret Worthington and Clive Rouse on their Calliope property, which they are happy to share with the local wildlife.
Margaret Worthington and Clive Rouse on their Calliope property, which they are happy to share with the local wildlife.

From the sea to treechange

THERE can’t be too many better ways to enter Gladstone than by sea.

In the early 1980s that is how Clive Rouse and Margaret Worthington came to Gladstone.

They had left South Africa in their Bermuda sloop, Clipper, and while they were sailing they decided they should settle down somewhere.

“It was getting bad at that time because every time you pulled into port they’d think you were a drug smuggler, so we gave it away,” Clive said.

They chose Gladstone because there was work available here.

A year later they had an offer for their boat so they sold it and bought four hectares along the Bruce Highway, then planned, designed and built the home on Talaba Road, north of the Calliope Crossroads, that they still live in now.

Clive said the Gladstone region suited them at that time and in many ways it has been good to them.

“It was a nice place, but maybe it’s changing too much now.”

Both Clive and Margaret have an artistic bent which has paid off for them. Their sculptures and other art work are gradually filling many corners in Queensland.

Margaret said one of the most important things about being in Gladstone was the support that local people, including businesses, were willing to give.

“That has helped us in our contract work because we can get our hands on state-of-the-art equipment and knowledge of materials that workshops are happy to assist us with,” she said.

Margaret said her art was inspired by the environment – the bush, the reef and the islands.

Margaret and Clive’s other interests are building up their native garden , growing their own vegies, being involved in Land for Wildlife and assisting the Gladstone Botanic Gardens catalogue seeds native to this area.

Although Clive and Margaret have no intention of leaving the Gladstone region, she feels there is now less dynamism in the community than there used to be.

“It is sad that a lot of intelligent and skilled people are not staying here when they retire, so perhaps there needs to be something done so that we don’t lose them and their abilities.”