Past port employees, board members honoured by street names
SOME of the best years of Graham Fenton's life involved laying down the grass roots to allow the Gladstone Port to become Queensland's largest.
The former Gladstone Port Authority board member, deputy chairman and chairman, has joined the elusive group of people and families with streets named after them in Gladstone.
He was one of eight former Gladstone Ports Corporation employees and board members who recently had Port of Gladstone roads named in their honour.
In what the now 77-year-old described as an exciting time for Gladstone and the port, some of the projects overseen during his eight years on the board were vital for the port's growth and are still used today.
Between 1982 and 1990, Mr Fenton oversaw the first stage of construction of the Clinton Coal Facility, carried out a major dredging program and helped create the plans for the Gladstone Marina.
"Myself and the late Colin Brown, the mayor at the time, helped put the (Gladstone Marina) plan together with the architects ... which is still a big asset for Gladstone," he said.
Mr Fenton said dredging of the Gladstone Harbour during the 1980s gave the port the deep channels which are still the advantage over other, shallower Queensland ports.
"I think you'll be shocked in the next 10 to 15 years in the expansions that will take place, especially within the port precinct," he said.
Mr Fenton's was appointed as a board member for the then Gladstone Harbour Board, now the Gladstone Port Authority, in 1982 by the Queensland Government. At the time the Queensland Premier was the Liberal National Party's Sir Jo Bjelke-Petersen.
In 1985 he was promoted to deputy chairman, and in 1988 Mr Fenton's was appointed as the chairman.
After two years overseeing the board's decisions, Mr Fenton's was stood down when Labor won the state election in 1989.
The new premier, Wayne Goss - the first Labor Premier in more than 30 years - appointed a new Gladstone Port Authority board.
"It was the highlight of my life really because of the things we did, we used to go overseas quite often and look at how other ports operated and we'd come back and compare," he said.
"We compared well, we were up with the best and we're still up with the best."
Mr Fenton's owned Fenton's Motors before his time with the port and later worked at Gladstone Area Promotion Development Limited and as an insurance agent. He retired in 2002.
Gladstone Ports Corporation chief executive officer Peter O'Sullivan said all eight employees and board members made had significant contributions to the corporation's assets.
"It is fitting to acknowledge their commitment with a lasting legacy that GPC employees are reminded of every day."
Graham Fenton Drive
Ian Drury Drive
Noel Bowley Way
Bernie Muir Esplanade
Ian Brusasco Drive
Christine Martin Place
John Bates Drive
Les Jones Avenue