Last year, the longtime owner of Bayside Books – Wynnum Central’s only secondhand bookshop – David Ross, passed away. Many Wynnum locals will be familiar with his shop on Bay Terrace, which always used to be jammed completely full of old books and magazines. What you may not know was that David in a previous career was an award-winning journalist and for many years was the crime reporter for the Courier Mail.
Just in the past few weeks his widow, Wendy, has sold the bookshop to Darren McGreevy (pictured left), who has renamed the shop GiGGLEFiT PRODUCTIONS, although the shop will remain as a secondhand bookshop, with some new additions, including a secondhand vinyl collection.
The following is a short description of David’s life, kindly provided to us by Wendy…
David Ross was a Scottish born, New Zealand raised, naturalised Australian. He could turn his hand to any job, including advertising sales and taking core samples for the soon to be opened Greenvale mine outside Townsville in the early 1970s.
In 1974, on visit to Wellington New Zealand, he got a job as a reporter on the Evening Post. He became a crime reporter, TV critic and sport writer. His story on the 1978 rescue of a Russian fisherman by a New Zealand frigate in a storm in Antarctic Waters (David being on the frigate went worldwide and he was awarded the 1978 New Zealand Journalist of the Year).
Returning to Australia he worked on the Sydney Sun and then at the Melbourne Herald.
In February 1983 David was sent to report on the Ash Wednesday bushfires in south-east Victoria. Always having the “gift of the gab” he managed to talk himself into the fire zone at Cockatoo and when driving through discovered a kindergarten full of children and teachers huddled under wet blankets. Once again, his story went worldwide.
In 1984 David commenced work at the Courier Mail. After his death, Facebook posts from fellow journalists recall David as a hard working “old school reporter” who liked a beer and who had lots of contacts whose identities he kept confidential.
During this time, he also had a part-time job sub-editing the Wynnum Herald each Saturday.
All his life David read two or three books a week.
He was intending to turn it into a crime bookshop, but he soon realised that his customers had many diverse tastes in reading.
For the first five or so years he frequented Saturday morning garage sales, seeking stock including Westerns, Commandos, Mills & Boons and other types of fiction and non-fiction to satisfy his customers needs. He was still running the shop until his final illness in October.
For most of his life, David lived life to the full and even in the last couple of years, when his health wasn’t so great his investigative journalism genes kicked in finding out about issues such as the NBN and electricity charges.
After a serious illness three years ago (that saw him hospitalised for five months), he got back to his beloved shop and was there until four days before his death.