Pat O’Shea ‘Voice of the Darling Downs’ dead at 64

Toowoomba identity Pat O’Shea.

Toowoomba identity Pat O’Shea.

AS tributes yesterday poured in for much-loved Darling Downs broadcaster Pat O’Shea, former colleague Alan Thomas recalled an evening where the pair sought to pull off an unlikely sting.

Thomas worked with O’Shea at 4KQ in the late 1970s.

“He was a good footballer as a younger guy and was very quick,” Thomas said.

“They used to have this celebrity hurdle race at the Gabba dogs and you could bet on it.

“Pat asked me ‘how do I get in?’ and I told him he would be eligible.

“No one knew him and because he was carrying a few extra kilos, they put him up at 33-1. Pat had $50 each way on himself and I had $20 each-way.

“It was a handicap and the handicapper took one look at Pat and put him off the front marker.“Anyway, the race starts and Pat’s a mile in front. I happened to be calling it and was counting the money as Pat came to the last hurdle. He was so far in front I was flat out seeing the others.

“He brushed the last and then his legs gave way and he came down. He got back up again, but then the legs gave way again and he missed the place and we did our money.”

O’Shea’s passing on Saturday night at the age of 64, was felt around the country.He had an operation to remove a tumour in his bowel last week and never recovered.

In a family statement, son James said the decision to switch off life support machines was made after receiving the pathology report.

“Even if he made it through the operation the outlook was very grim. Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers and well wishes for my family.”

O’Shea had battled ill health for some time and last year had part of his foot removed owing to diabetes, but he continued calling right up until August 15.

O’Shea called football for well over three decades and read the sports news on local television from 1978 to 2012.But racing remained his greatest passion. He called his beloved Weetwood 29 times.

“It’s a very sad day in Toowoomba,” trainer Michael Nolan said.

“He was a lot of things up here. Not just a racecaller.”

The Courier Mail’s Robert Craddock worked with O’Shea early in his career and credits him for his first broadcasting gig.

“Every country town needs a Pat O’Shea. Toowoomba will miss him very much,” Craddock said. “He would have done hundreds of sportsmen’s nights over the years and raised I don’t know how much for charity.”

Thomas said O’Shea was a man who “wouldn’t have had an enemy in the world”.

“He wasn’t one for pomp and pageantry. He would much prefer to be having a beer off the wood at the Breaky Creek than sitting in a five-star restaurant,” Thomas said.

“And he loved Toowoomba. Even when he was working in Brisbane, he refused to move.”

O’Shea will be remembered as “the people’s champion and everyone’s best friend”.

O’Shea is survived by his wife Cecile, son James and daughters Kate and Karen, three grandchildren and his brother John.

**Footnote  – David Fowler dedicated this morning’s Press Room Show to Pat, please click on the link below for the full replay, it’s a great listen.

Story courtesy Nathan Exelby Courier Mail


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