Anthony Beezley

Anthony Beezley has spent 30 years helping young people lead productive and fulfilling lives - a passion built from his own life experiences.

Anthony is the son of a Kanaka slave and grandson of the Stolen Generation. In the early days, he lived traditionally just outside Gladstone where his father, Immanuel, hunted dugong and turtles and gave away most of his catch.

When Indigenous Australians were taken off the Flora and Fauna Act in 1967, his family moved into Gladstone. Grog and violence among many neighbours drove him to leave home at 14 and head north.

He cut cane, picked tomatoes and mangoes, made concrete blocks, painted and worked in the Proserpine sugar mill.

At the mill he noticed many Indigenous and non-Indigenous young men hanging around the streets with nothing to do. He persuaded his bosses to put them to work on machinery during its 4.30pm-7pm downtime. He trained them for free and many of the mills' leading hands did the same.

"The young fellas took to it like a duck to water," he said.

Mackay TAFE college heard about what he was doing and asked him to carry out the work under its banner. He's never looked back. He's now 51 and manages Cherbourg Employment Services.

Anthony now encourages all people to find their passion and follow it into a career.

"I did a lot of survival jobs but it led to my passion," he said. "If you love your job, you'll love your life."

DESCRIPTION: Anthony Beezley, educator, Cherbourg