Veterans' shock at Cockscomb founder's death
A ROCKHAMPTON psychologist who has made a world of difference to war veterans and emergency service personnel died last week, leaving a community in mourning.
Bruce Acutt, who had offices in the Old Rockhampton Supreme Court house, died on October 25 in Brisbane aged 65.
The Zilzie Bay man gained his psychology credentials through University of Queensland before returning to his home town where he worked with war veterans, emergency service personnel, indigenous communities and others.
While working at the CQUniversity and running his private psychology practice, Bruce recognised the need for veterans and their families to have a space to unwind and take time out.
He opened up the block of land he and his wife owned called 'Cockscomb' which had a old railway carriage and basic facilities on site.
Seeing the success of this much needed safe place, more of his veterans approached Bruce and asked if they could develop the area a little more, and the idea for Cockscomb Veterans Retreat was born.
The Cockscomb website stated the retreat was a "place where fellow veterans could go, when things were getting tough, or when they felt the need to be out of it and alone for a while, or the need to lean on someone for moral support, or find someone that could walk the walk, talk the talk and understand the burden.
It was promoted as an idea amongst interested parties."
After many years of growth, Bruce offered a section of land that he and his wife owned at Cawarral - 1.01 hectares of their land was surveyed off and donated to the veteran community.
"Prior to this, the incumbent Veterans had decided to continue the property name and call the area Cockscomb Veterans Bush Retreat," Cockscomb member Nick Quigley said.
He said originally Bruce only had a railway camp wagon that was set up as a headquarters.
"The isolation of Cockscomb suited Veterans because it was quiet, no electricity and marginal phone," Mr Quigley said.
"Bruce was a worker and joined veteran working parties.
"He was an amazing man, he saw veterans in a professional manor, build a special rapporteur with them and was highly spoken of within the veteran community."
Cockscomb has become one of the biggest Veteran camps in Australia. Now an Incorporated body and a membership of some 300 members and now open to Emergency Services, Police, QAS, QFS, Rural Fire and the SES and run by an elected committee.
"It is with great sadness that I heard of the passing of one of the CQ veterans and indeed all vets, good mate and sometimes mentor Bruce Acutt," Cockscomb president Herb Elliot said.
"Bruce was always a friend first but was always had an ear for our troubles.
"As you know he was instrumental in the founding of the Cockscomb Veterans Bush Retreat with his generous donation of the land on which it sits.
"It is only in the last six months that we had spoken of naming the large building that Michelle Landry got for us."
The Cockscomb members had decided some months ago to name the new building 'the Bruce Acutt Centre', which will take place this month at a date to be set.
"He will be sadly missed by all," Mr Elliot said.
"Rest In Peace Bruce," the Cockscomb veterans said.
Bruce also taught at CQU from the early 80's to the early 2000s where he co-authored a paper with Karen Becker and Paul Hyland in relation to human resource development interventions.
He also co-created the Customer Service Predictor (CSP) tool with colleague Associate Professor Tony Ward which was rolled out throughout the world in 2005.
When: Friday, 2pm
Where: East Chapel, Rockhampton Crematorium