Making bikes out of parts picked up at the local tip and swimming in the Logan River until dusk are among Mark Plunkett’s earliest memories of growing up in Beaudesert.
Family has always been the most important thing to Mark, who will turn 60 this June.
He’s the middle child of eight kids to Oliver and Betty Plunkett and grew up on the river at Bromelton across from the Beaudesert Racecourse.
Mark and wife Denise, who is also one of eight, raised their now adult kids Kayla, Olivia and James at Josephville and he counts becoming parents as the most defining time in his life.
Mark was on crutches with a broken leg when he married Denise at Tamrookum Church.
It was a hot day on 3 January 1987, and he was wearing bell bottom trousers to fit over the four pins and frame holding his leg together.
“Everyone had a ball, we celebrated in the old leagues club with no air conditioning, it was 40 degrees, and they drank an 18-gallon keg before we even got there,” he said.
He had been off work since 26 November ‘86 when he got mixed up with a cranky bullock at the Canon Hill saleyards while driving livestock trucks for Jim Salisbury.
Mark, who did his mechanical apprenticeship at Beaudesert Motors before carrying livestock, went on to forge a career in the fuel industry after returning to work from injury.
Now, he and two colleagues head up national fuel distribution business Bulk Fuel Australia.
“I’ve always said every decision you make can change the course of where you go in life. If you’d said to me when I was at school, I’d be doing this, I’d never have believed it,” he said.
“Life takes you on a journey and throws up opportunities – you can take the opportunities or just sit still.”
In 1862, Thomas Plunkett and Maria Ryan survived a long journey from Ireland aboard the Erin Go Bragh.
A trip which normally took 12 weeks took 25 weeks and 52 people died along the way.
Thomas and Maria – Mark’s great grandparents – married and lived at Waterford before coming to Tamborine. Mark’s grandfather Thomas Flood Plunkett took up property at Kerry.
Needless to say, Mark is related to a lot of people in Beaudesert and surrounds.
“There’s just this sense of family. We don’t live in each other’s pockets but it’s really special to have that family connection,” he said.
He finds satisfaction in giving back and is President of Beaudesert Historical Museum, President of the Heritage Truck Association Australia, Vice President of the Beaudesert Show Society and has been involved with St Mary’s school and parish over the years.
“If everyone sits back and does nothing, nothing will happen so that’s why I like to be involved and work with others to try and keep things happening.”