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News Source: The Courier-Mail (3rd September 2007)
by Glenis Green
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TWO very different pioneers were recognised as patriarchs of the year yesterday by the Queensland Father’s Day Council.

Dr John Quayle, 70, who developed the cochlear implant bringing hearing to thousands of deaf children has been named Queensland’s father of the year.

And in an interesting twist Bob Irwin, three years Dr Quayle's junior, has been recognised as grandfather of the year.

But the father of the legendary Crocodile Hunter, the late Steve Irwin, and grandfather to Bindi, 9, and Bob, 3, was unable to attend the awards ceremony in Brisbane yesterday.

"Sorry mate, but I'm too flat out catching crocodiles," he said from Lakefield National Park in north Queensland.

Irwin family friend and manager John Stainton said of Mr Irwin: "He’s very, very proud and would have loved to be there – just at a different time."

Mr Irwin also has two other children, Joy and Mandy, and four other grandchildren. His award was accepted by son-in-law Frank Muscillo and grandson James.

Queensland Father's Day Council chairman Reverend Alan Male said he though Mr Irwin had been forgotten a little in the mass of publicity surround Irwin’s death in a freak encounter with a stingray a year ago.

"Yet he's so wonderful – he inspired his children and grandchildren to be wildlife warriors. His legacy is still being felt," Rev Male said.

He described father of the year Dr Quayle as a "sterling role model".

"Dr Quayle has combined his professional skill and community commitment to help thousands of hearing-impaired people and their families over many years," he said.

"As a doctor and a father he has set an excellent example."

Dr Quayle has been chairman of the Queensland implant program since its inception in 1992.

He and wife Patricia Ann have four children – Douglas, Edward, Pauline and Elizabeth, all University of Queensland graduates – and 10 grandchildren.

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