Tributes flow for James Houghton

Published 2:00pm 2 December 2023

Tributes flow for James Houghton
Words by Kylie Knight

Tributes are flowing for former Moreton Bay Regional Councillor James Houghton who died earlier this week.

Community leaders and friends have shared their thoughts on the man who was passionate about the Redcliffe Peninsula and the Dolphins.

He will be farewelled during a service on December 11 at 10.30am at Citipoint Church, 195 Elizabeth Ave, Clontarf. 

City of Moreton Bay Mayor Peter Flannery:

“I first meet James Houghton pre-amalgamation days when we were both Councillors first our respective Councils and then had the pleasure to work with James when I was first elected as Division 2 Councillor for Moreton Bay Regional Council in 2012 until his retirement in 2020.

“James never shied away from what he believed in and was a strong advocate in achieving the best outcome not only for his local community, but for the entire region.

“He took the responsibility he had for his constituents very seriously and was respected for his sharp eye for detail when it came to Council reports. He was passionate about his communities and always spoke up for the community.

“He was a man of the people with a strong belief in the power of local politics to make a difference, and a staunch love of his local area. His kind nature and larrikin style saw him do just as well on the football field for his beloved Dolphins as he did in board rooms.

"He loved his Dolphins and was over the moon when they entered the NRL as well as continuing his love of the Redcliffe Dolphin's in the State competition. He enjoyed speaking with people and always had a story to share that would make anyone laugh. Loved his cup of teas and was very particular about how to make a great cuppa.

“His kindness touched people from all walks of life and his love of life was contagious to those in his company. Although his father's name is synonymous with the Redcliffe Peninsula, he made his own name and legacy through years of dedication to his community.

“He was a much-loved figure in his community and a larger-than-life character who will be missed.

"He was a good mate and I will miss him greatly."

Federal Member for Petrie Luke Howarth:

“James Houghton was a man of Christian faith, who lived to serve and ‘do his bit’. James had a passion for the local community and to make the world a better place. He was a straight-talking and widely respected true Redcliffe local, who loved his footy, theatre, travel, family, and friends. He will be missed.”

State Member for Redcliffe Yvette D’Ath:

“I would like to pay tribute to James Houghton and his contribution to our community over so many years. James was a character who spoke his mind and loved his community. I would like to pass on my condolences to his family and friends. James may have passed but his memory and legacy will live on.”

Former Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland (also Mr Houghton’s cousin):

“He was more like an older brother than a cousin. I never had an older brother, but Jimmy was as close to an older brother that you could get.

“He had an unquestionable love of history. He was a walking encyclopedia of the history of Redcliffe – the Peninsula and its people … the families in the area. I remember saying to him, ‘is there anyone in Redcliffe that you don’t know’.

“He was a really lovable larrikin but there was never any animosity or malice.

“He was an absolutely passionate councillor. He didn’t want a leaf on a footpath. He would do his own inspections. It was as though it was his own backyard. He would call up council staff if there was a rubbish bin overflowing on a Sunday and make sure it was emptied.

“He was absolutely passionate about his Division and the Peninsula as a whole. He went above and beyond. He had a genuine commitment to everything he did. If he invested himself in an issue, you would get 110 per cent of Jimmy every single time.

“He was so proud of the Dolphins playing in the NRL. He was their greatest ambassador in council that I think they’ve probably ever had. He fought hard because he had that vision that they needed the facilities and the playing fields to stand a chance with the NRL.

“He was an advocate for the out-of-the-box projects like the rail line, the university and the Dolphins. He was also instrumental in council building a museum in the old church building, the beautification of Redcliffe and the hydrotherapy swimming pool.

“We’ve lost someone who was a true treasure of Redcliffe. He was an icon. He’s done it all – he’s played football and was in the first premiership-winning team, served several terms in council, was in the amalgamated council and was one of the oldest councillors ever in a large metropolitan area.

“Jimmy held his own in a Division which was as big as a state electorate. He was fearless but made friends on both sides of politics … there were also people he didn’t get on with on both sides. He would go out of his way to build relationships.”

Dolphins Chairman Bob Jones:

“Jimmy was a member of our legendary ‘65 side who won our first ever BRL premiership. He was also a wonderful advocate and supporter of our club whenever we needed him. He will be sorely missed by all here at the Dolphins.”

Former Moreton Bay Regional Councillor Koliana Winchester OAM:

“I first met James Houghton when I was a candidate in 2004 Redcliffe City Council election. Over the subsequent 16 years, we both campaigned through four elections. James always proved to be a decent and competitive campaigner. Over this time, my respect for James as a person rather than politician, grew.

“During our time as Councillors on the Redcliffe City Council (RCC), we worked closely together towards improvements for our entire council area. After the amalgamation, individual Councillors were responsible for their own Divisions. James worked tirelessly representing Division 5 but also, being the person he was, took a keen interest in improving the lives of all in the greater Moreton Bay region.

“It is a measure of his personal approach that during the many years we worked together as fellow Councillors, not a cross word passed between us. Problems and issues that arouse were always carefully addressed and resolved in the interest of the residents.

“During his time in Council, he left many legacies and much of what we see in Division 5 today can be attributed to his hard work and tenacity. I am proud to have known and to have worked alongside James Houghton.”

Village Motors Managing Director Marlene Newcombe:

“I had the privilege to have known Jimmy Houghton for over 35 years. He was a very special human being and his love of his community was second to none. He had a very dry sense of humour which always kept me smiling. Jimmy played for the Redcliffe Dolphins and has always been a big supporter of the club. It was certainly his passion in life. He will be sadly missed.”

History Redcliffe’s Pat Gee:

“James was one of the instigators of the Redcliffe Historical Society. He said being a Redcliffe boy there was something about Redcliffe that inspired him, being the first white settlement in Queensland … what did we have to show for it?

“He and Councillor George Mavor decided to form a society and a meeting was held for residents to attend. That was in February 1967. He was the founding president.

“He was always a member, and an active member. He helped start the collection and raise money. He agitated for a real, dinky-di museum and spoke to council about buying the land where the museum is today.

“He was always very keen on the society and in the last few months had been more active. It’s a real shame that the society has lost him. He will be very much missed.”

History Redcliffe's Margaret Harding: 

"James was a fourth generation ‘Redcliffite’, descended from the pioneering Corscadden family who emigrated in the late nineteenth century.

"He contributed greatly to preserving Redcliffe’s history with his numerous stories in our newsletters, the Redcliffe Herald and in booklets. James’ relaxed style and knowledge of people and places made him an entertaining speaker at functions at which he was proud to acknowledge his relatives in the audience.

"He leaves us a worthwhile legacy."

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