History of Heron ingrained in family’s memories

ONE of the last remaining children of Captain Cristian Poulson, the man who first started the Heron Island resort, had her ashes scattered at its surroundings yesterday.

Audrey Poulson passed away on December 9, 2018, at age 93, leaving behind her last surviving sibling, Pam.

Audrey’s daughter Linda Poulson said her family’s connection to the island dated to the 1930s.

Linda said it had been such a big part of her and her mum’s lives that it felt fitting for her to be laid to rest there.

“My mum was a part owner in the resort until 1971 and my Aunt Pam continued in her involvement for many years and is Cristian’s only surviving child, now 90,” Linda said.

“My mum used to say the sea was in her blood and I think the island is what started her love of the ocean.

“She loved the freedom of the island and being out in the water.”

Captain Poulson was the first to see the island’s potential as a holiday destination, building the hotel where it still stands today.

He also organised the ferrying of tourists by boat, initially with ex-RAAF seaplanes.

Heron Island was declared a national park in 1943 and five years later Captain Poulson went missing in nearby waters.

Audrey Poulson in her early years.
Audrey Poulson in her early years.

His upturned dinghy was found about 16km south of Gladstone and, despite an extensive search, his body was never recovered.

Captain Poulson was survived by four daughters and a son, with some continuing to control the resort until P&O Australia Ltd bought out the family business in 1980.

Aldesta Property Group is the current owner of the multimillion-dollar Heron Island Resort, offering the eco-minded tourist an opportunity to experience the island’s natural wonders.

Heron Island was recently named one of four Australian experiences to be featured in Flight Centre’s Wow List 2020.

Linda said the resort had changed since her childhood.

“I remember there being coconut palms and frangipani trees and now the flora is quite different,” she said.

“My siblings and I used to love running wild around the island just like my mum and her siblings.

“It was sad for them to sell it but the island needed to have money invested into it and my mum just couldn’t afford it.”

Linda will travel with one of her daughters, and her niece and her three daughters, to scatter her mother’s ashes today.

She said she hoped they would see turtles while on the island.

“My favourite memory of the island is the sea turtles,” Linda said.

“We would watch the big ones lay eggs and then see the little hatchlings.

“Sometimes we had to relocate them back to the water.

“It would be special if we saw the hatchlings when we go over for mum.”

Audrey Poulson recently.
Audrey Poulson recently.