Senate Speech – Tribute to legendary Darling Downs sportscaster Pat O’Shea

8 September 2015

I rise tonight to pay tribute to a very prominent and great Queenslander, the late Pat O’Shea, who was lost to us just recently. Pat O’Shea was a great identity in my state, particularly in the Darling Downs and the Lockyer Valley areas. He was actually known as the ‘Voice of the Darling Downs’, having started a career in media in about 1978. He went on to serve the people of our region and our state for over 30 years. He was a very respected media personality in both radio and television, particularly in the area of sports and most particularly in the area of racing. But Pat did not just concentrate on calling races. He was also a caller of football, boxing and any other number of competitive sporting events throughout the region. More recently, Pat took on the role of the sports reader for a local TV network, again with a distribution that was broadly through the Darling Downs and the south-east part of Queensland. Pat was prominent in racing circles and was often responsible for introducing people to what he and others referred to as the ‘sport of kings’. Pat would often lead large delegations out of Queensland to allow people to walk them through the wonderful experience of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Pat was also well known as a tipster. Many people relied on his advice and many reported sound wins on the back of Pat’s tips for the Saturday races. A close friend of his, Des McGovern, remembers most prominently an event at the ‘Brisbane dogs’, where they were having a celebrity hurdle race, and Pat had entered as a celebrity identity. By that time, Pat was no longer the captain-coach of the Whites football club—All Whites in Toowoomba—and had apparently put on a few pounds. So he had attracted not bad odds from the bookies who were at the dogs that night, getting 30 to 1. Des remembers that he and Pat wagered $50 and $20 each way, respectively. Des also remembers Pat being way out in front. He describes it as ‘a mile in front’ before Pat was inflicted with a condition known as ‘platted legs’, with him burying his nose into the turf—apparently leaving both of them with insufficient resources to have the traditional Chinese dinner on the way home from the races. While that will be Des’ memory, along with others, Pat will obviously be remembered by his family as being a wonderful partner to Cecile, a great father to James, Kate and Karen and a terrific grandfather to his three grandchildren. Pat has been taken away from his family and from us all far too soon. He will be greatly missed by the people of the Darling Downs in Queensland. More broadly, Pat will be remembered for his mateship, his decency, his integrity and his unselfishness as he put tens of thousands of hours over the decades into community services, not just in sport but in chairing community events at no cost, as is the case with many prominent people in the media in our area. He was a true professional in the media and in all the work that he did. I am prepared to make the call tonight that he was probably the best, longest-serving and most professional sports media identity in my home state. Can I say, Pat, whilst you are gone, there are tens of thousands of Queenslanders, particularly around the Darling Downs and the south-east part of our state, who will never forget you. Rest easy.