He doesn’t have a phone or a computer, but everyone in the small seaside town of Lucinda knows where Bob the Swan can be found.
Every morning as the sun rises, the 78-year-old begins his day knee-deep in water chasing the day’s catch.
“This is my office every morning,” he smiles.
“It’s a very bad place to have an office, but someone has to do it.”
Bob the pelican, whose real name is Bob Miller, moved from Adelaide to tropical north Queensland 20 years ago in search of a warmer climate.
It earned its nickname by feeding the swans that migrate to the sleepy coastal village during the dry season.
“Bob’s swan is a legend to Lucinda,” said Joan DeVietti of the Lucinda Advancement Association.
“He comes every day. If he’s missing, we’re all looking for him.”
Decades ago, Miller basked in the spotlight as the lead singer of a cabaret band.
These days, he feels most comfortable on the Lucinda foreshore, where he makes the 60-kilometre round trip every day to patiently cast his net and line.
“The thing I love more than anything else is giving away fish,” he said.
Both locals and travelers from all over Australia benefit from Pelican Bob’s generosity – especially those who fail to catch their own catch.
“I’ll get them a package of frozen trout or queen mackerel or whatever I have, and they’ll take it to the caravan park, thaw it and eat it that night,” he said.
“They came the next day and said, ‘That was beautiful.’”
Through his small actions, Pelican Bob has had a huge impact on the small town, which has a population of just over 400 people, Ms Divietti said.
The fisherman was immortalized in a simple tribute by a local painter, outside the local fish and chip shop.
“He says he receives more than he gives,” Ms. Divietti said. “But we know for sure he gives us here.”
“Non-local people worry about him being in the water with the crocodiles and whatever, but we’re not worried…because he’s here all the time.
“He’s living life to the fullest.”
Pelican Bob has no “desire to switch to technology” and instead encourages people to find joy in the little things.
“I don’t have a cell phone or a computer. I’m from the dinosaur era, so this suits me perfectly,” he said.
“I look at others and think: ‘God help you, my life is so simple compared to what you do.’”
“You miss out on watching the sunrise and sunset, fishing, feeding the birds — there are so many other things you can do.”
When the fish aren’t biting, the retired writer takes to the sand, where he writes down the names of people he meets and observations of the community around him.
“(It’s been) 10 years since I’ve had a brush in my hand, but I still have the beach to work on,” he said.
“That’s the sign of a bored fisherman, when he has to write in the sand at the local beach.”
Whether he’s bored or not, Bob the pelican won’t want to be anywhere but Lucinda.
“If you’re in Victoria or South Australia or any of the other states, do yourself a favor and load up the car (for) the school holidays,” he said.
“Come here for a while and I guarantee you’ll be like me – bitten by tropical bugs and won’t want to go back to the places you came from.”
This story is part of our weekly Postcards from Queensland series which showcases the lives of people who have built new lives in the state’s regions.
(tags for translation)good news