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R.I.P. Nelson @ Cabbage Tree Point

R.I.P. Nelson @ Cabbage Tree Point

There is this place that seems to step back in time. The trees speak of age and the scenery reminds me of a page in the Australian Classic Storm Boy. This quaint seaside village uses only tank water and exudes peace and quiet. This suburb of the Gold Coast is at the most northeastern point and includes the lowest part of Southern Moreton Bay. Local personalities refer to it as the official entrance to the Gold Coast.

A TRAGIC STORY – A blue boat stands out on top of Leslie and Yu Jefferis’ Cabbage Tree Point General Store and Boat Hire. The blue boat is clearly marked as a seaman’s boat with the words NELSON and R.I.P along with a lucky horseshoe. Steiglitz, also known as Cabbage Tree Point, was named after pioneer family Kleingschmidt’s hometown in Germany. First settled in 1869, the district was originally known as Rocky Point. The land was used for farming, and this area “is referred to as an island because of the number of lagoons and swamps that isolated the area during the wet season making it good for growing sugar cane”. And this is still common to this day. Many of the local landowners descended from the original settlers. Steiglitz has an approximate population of 500 people who commute daily for work and many are involved in marine industries. This area also boasts seven aquaculture farms.

Les and Yu Jefferis bought Cabbage Tree Point General Store six years ago, seeking a sea change, and left busy Melbourne behind them. “Every year, for the past six years, something has happened in this community,” says Les. Most devastating of all was the sad loss of local person and family man, Nelson Raebel. Nelson was well known throughout the area for his exemplary character and professionalism.

Nelson Raebel was regarded a local with a strong connection to Cabbage Tree Point community. He was a ship designer and had trained all the local engineers. On the 31st of March 2017 Nelson became a fatality to the aftermath of ex-tropical Cyclone Debbie, deemed the strongest tropical cyclone and most dangerous to impact Queensland since Yasi in 2011, devastating South East Queensland, New South Wales and New Zealand with massive flooding.

Nelson was 77 years old. His property backed onto the Logan River. He was rescuing horses when he drowned. His family and community are devastated and shocked by this tragedy. And it was by coincidence, sometime later Les enquired about a blue, wooden fibreglass boat that was a giveaway on a community Facebook page.

Marina Raebel, Nelson’s daughter, was offering a boat Nelson had built himself. Although there was a lot of interest in the give-away boat after talking to Les, Marina gave it to him. With Marina’s permission, Les turned the boat into a monument for the community in memory of Nelson Raebel.

Thanks to Les and Yu Jefferis, and with Marina’s permission Nelson Raebel will always be thought of by his community and by visitors. May you rest in peace, Nelson Raebel.


By Selena Nelson