Doing what he loved
By TOBY WALKER
THIS time last week, Yamba fisherman Roy Alan Bradbeer had set out alone through the Yuraygir National Park for a morning of fishing several kilometres south of Angourie.
All day his wife June had expected him to walk through their front door with his catch of the day, but the 70-year-old never returned.
The light was already starting to fail when local anglers, armed with torches, joined police and SES volunteers in the search.
Mr Bradbeer's fishing gear was found on rocks at the popular Old Man's Bluff fishing spot, but an intensive land, air and sea search yielded no more clues to his whereabouts.
Yesterday, friends and well-wishers visited Mrs Bradbeer at the couple's Yamba home, offering flowers and their support in her time of need.
Over the last week Mrs Bradbeer has waited anxiously for any news on her husband, but as the days pass, she has started to come to terms with the fact that she may never know the real story behind his disappearance.
"We might not ever find him, I just want some closure but I might not ever know," she said.
Mrs Bradbeer said her husband was a highly-experienced rock fisherman who had warned her about the dangers of turning her back on the ocean when he taught her to fish off rocks in Shellharbour.
"The water was calm when he went, the tide was down and his knife wasn't with his fishing box when they found his gear so they reckon he might have been down getting cunjevoi," she said. "He was very experienced so I really think something happened, that he bumped his head or had a heart attack because otherwise he would still be here now."
Originally from the picturesque harbour town of Poole on England's south west coast, the Bradbeers moved to Australia in the 1980s before settling in Yamba 15 years ago.
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Wife of missing
Mrs Bradbeer described her husband as a 'typical Englishman' ? a gentle man who was reserved and well-liked by his fishing companions around the Lower Clarence.
The couple shared a love for exploring Australia since relocating, having travelled the length and breadth of the country and, of course, stopping at its many fishing spots along the way. But it was the natural beauty of Yamba and Woody Head that drew them to the area, with Mr Bradbeer quickly finding himself at home among the local anglers.
He even featured in The Daily Examiner's fishing pages occasionally, making an impressive showing with a 6.8kg groper back in 2001. Mrs Bradbeer said she and her husband had decided that if one of them were to die, then the other would scatter their ashes into the ocean.
Although she is yet to receive the closure she so desperately wants, Mrs Bradbeer continues to pray and accepts that if her husband is dead, he is where he'd want to be.