The skills of Maritimo craftsmen shone in Surfers Paradise on the weekend with the unveiling of a memorial to one of the area’s great characters, “suntan man” Al Baldwin.
Al Baldwin became a local identity on the Surfers Paradise beach, spraying sunscreen lotion on locals and holiday makers for more than 30 years. At the height of summer he sprayed as many as 600 people a day and is thought to have sprayed about three million bodies over the years.
Sadly, he died in 2004 from the effects of lymphatic cancer.
The Gold Coast City Council commissioned a memorial to Al. Local artist Frederick Berjot created a bronze replica of Al’s famed deck chair and his peaked cap. The memorial also includes a plaque honouring the suntan man.
Berjot’s challenge was to cast the large sculpture of the deck chair.
Maritimo came to Berjot’s aid to cast the work in its foundry.
“Our day-to-day role is to cast propellers and other components for Maritimo luxury cruisers,” said foundry manager Jim Mowbray. “We were delighted to turn our skills and resources to this special project for the Gold Coast community.”
Al’s family came together for the unveiling ceremony on the beach foreshore. Daughter Amber dedicated and unveiled the memorial.
Amber Baldwin said her late father was passionate about the Gold Coast and its beach culture.
“Dad loved the beach and had a strong connection with the community at Surfers Paradise,” she said.
“It’s fantastic to have a permanent place for him on the foreshore overlooking the beach he loved – I know he would have been chuffed at that.”
Gold Coast City Council Economic Development and Tourism Committee Chair Councillor Susie Douglas said the tribute to Al Baldwin would bring back a lot of memories for many locals.
“I think many people will look at Al’s chair on the new foreshore area and it will take them back to a time when he was a fixture at Surfers beach,” said Cr Douglas.
She thanked Maritimo for the work in casting the memorial.