Peter Bromage and his lasting reminder of lost brother Rob.
Peter Bromage and his lasting reminder of lost brother Rob. Sarah Harvey

Brother's tribute to flood victim

AFTER Peter Bromage's beloved younger brother Rob drowned in January's floods, he knew he had to do something special in his memory.

Robert Bromage, 50, died after driving his car into floodwater at Karrabin near his Walloon home on January 11.

The vehicle was retrieved the next day by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service and Mr Bromage was found dead inside.

At his Fernvale home, Peter Bromage, a crane driver at Bradken - near where his brother drowned - was shocked by the news.

He is the second oldest in the Bromage family of eight who lived on a farm in the Brisbane Valley and Rob was two years younger.

"We always done a lot together, ever since we were kids. Even when we got married and started having kids ourselves we still done things together," Mr Bromage said.

"I suppose the last 18 months we didn't get to see much of each other - he was away doing his own thing - and he ended up out at Walloon.

"In January when the floods hit, we found out he'd gone in the floods and it was a shock.

"I still have hard times dealing with it. We still don't know how or why he ended up in there.

"You just feel numb. It still affects me and it will never go away. You just have to deal with it how you can.

"It's never going to go away."

With that feeling in mind, he decided to get a permanent reminder of his brother on his left arm.

"I just had the urge that I needed to get a tattoo for him," he said. "I felt it was just something I had to do. I had a picture of him as a reference for the tattoo artist at Ultimate Image in Ipswich. I wanted it to be as much like him as possible.

"Apart from the portrait, I got some other stuff as well. He had a Harley Davidson Generator Shovel and I wanted to incorporate that into it as well then, 'RIP my brother' and his dates and his name.

"This was my first tattoo; my brother was always telling me to get one, saying how good they are, because he had a fair few, but I said I wouldn't want anything on my body.

"But then after he passed away I felt the need to memorialise him and to have something with me all the time. The people at Ultimate Image were really good; the artist that done it for me was Terry Cooper.

"I had a talk with him and he designed something up and he done a really good job.

"I was in the chair for six and a half hours.

"He was talking about doing it in a couple of sections but I wanted to do it all in one hit. The beard alone took about an hour."

Then last Saturday something told him to go to the Vietnam Vets tattoo show in Brisbane.

It was Rob's birthday and Peter felt he should go to the show and show off his tattoo.

"When I knew the tattoo show was on and realised it was his birthday I thought it would be perfect just to go in it, just to see how I went. I wasn't expecting anything," he said.

"In the end I won best portrait. I think it was meant to be."

He said he felt his brother's presence at the tattoo show, even more than other times since Rob died.

"I go to work every day knowing he went out near where I work," Mr Bromage said.

"I have feelings a lot that he's somewhere close. I thought something like this tattoo would keep him close to me at all times.

"Knowing you can't see him anymore is the hardest thing but now I know he's there with me all the time."



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