NORTH Queensland's last great adventurer Louie Komsic was found dead on his boat in Princess Charlotte Bay north of Cooktown early this month.
He was buried in Cairns on October 6.
The 82-year-old commercial fisherman, gold miner, roadhouse operator, cattleman, crocodile shooter and bushman was alone on his boat when he suffered what is believed to have been a heart attack.
News of his death was raised after another fishermen travelled over to Louie's boat to pay him
No one who knew Louie thought he would ever die.
He was tough, thickset and as strong as an ox.
He could do anything and survive anywhere.
He proved he could survive anywhere on a couple of occasions when storms wrecked his boats, leaving him stranded in the wilds of Cape York Peninsula.
He was by himself hunting crocodiles in the Skardon River on the western side of Cape York Peninsula in 1963 when his small boat and his possessions were lost in a flood.
Louie had not been in Australia long and could speak little English.
For 11 days he walked through swamps and mangroves, surviving on what food he could catch with his bare hands.
He reached Coen where the police officer gave him a note which said he was a shipwreck victim who could be trusted.
Louie kept walking for another 18 days, showing the note to station owners along the way who gave him food in return for small jobs.
Eventually he made his way back to the east coast.
Cairns hotelier Paul Kamsler, who built the Pacific International Hotel, bankrolled the 25-year-old Louie's career as a croc shooter.
"I tried hard to get to know the people, the bush, the animals," he once said.
"I drink with bushmen. I fight them and we get along in the bush."
When younger and working alone in the bush he travelled with just his boat, swag, rifle and salt for the croc hides.
He wounded a 5m crocodile once and it rolled and smashed into his boat. His rifle went over the side and so did Louie.
"I swam to the bank and walked back to my camp and got another rifle. When I came back the wounded croc was lying on the bank looking at me. I shot him," he said.
He prospected for gold in the hungry hills of the Palmer River and owned the former cattle station Marina Plains.
He and his wife of 56 years, Luba, a German-born Ukrainian immigrant, took over and rebuilt the Palmer Roadhouse that they bought from Tom Edwards in 1978. The roadhouse was an institution, made famous by the friendliness of its hosts, Louie and Luba.
Louie would drink travelling groups of fishermen under the table at night and be up bright and early in the morning, fixing engines and making sure everything was shipshape.
The hard-drinking fishermen were sustained by Luba's legendary Palmer River barra burgers, made from the Princess Charlotte Bay barramundi caught by Louie. It was a mortal sin to drive past the roadhouse on the old dirt road south of Cooktown without calling into say hello to Louie and Luba.
On most occasions the "quick visit" turned into a party that could last for two days.
Louie really was the original Crocodile Dundee.
He could do anything, survive anywhere.
He shot a groper once that ate his dog. Even at 82 he still thought he could do it all.
"Louie never thought of himself as old. He always kept doing what he had always done," Luba told the Townsville Bulletin this week.
"When he went away on that last trip we told him not to go, but he said if he died on his boat he would die doing something he loved. He got his wish,"
Louie is survived by Luba and his children, Anna, Stewart and Kim.
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