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8 February, 2021

Much-loved teacher to be farewelled after tragedy

Always seen with a smile on her face, Emily Hutchinson was a great fit for Weipa.

By Matt Nicholls

After five years of teaching at Western Cape College, Emily was farewelled at the end of the 2020 school year.

She arrived in Cape York from the Sunshine Coast but left as a genuine North Queenslander.

With partner Ben Newman, they had found a “perfect place” to live at Julatten, along with a new school at Port Douglas.

But she would, of course, be back to visit Weipa.

Maybe not as a teacher, but to see friends, go camping and enjoy the Cape York lifestyle she loved so much.

Tragically, that wasn’t to be.

Mere weeks after starting her new life down south, Emily was taken from her friends and family last Saturday (January 30).

She died following injuries as a result of a tragic accident at Stoney Creek falls in Cairns.

Police said boulders dislodged from a rock wall and struck Emily, who was chasing a new swimming hole with Ben.

She was airlifted to Cairns Hospital but could not be saved.

News of the tragedy sent a shockwave throughout the state.

Friends and family could not believe the news they were being told.

Weipa can feel like a quiet place most Sundays, but it was particularly sombre last Sunday.

Virtually everyone in town knew her, or had seen her smile at some point.

Emily loved a beer, loved to roll up her sleeves and have a go at something and loved to be the life of any gathering.

FUNERAL SERVICE

A COHORT of staff from Western Cape College will next Monday (February 15) attend Emily’s funeral on the Sunshine Coast, while others will attend a live streamed service at the Carpentaria Golf Club, starting at 10am.

The school intends to operate a modified schedule on Monday morning to accommodate the staff wanting to pay their respects to Emily.

A spokesman from the Department of Education said the school communities in Port Douglas and Weipa were “deeply shocked and saddened” at the tragic passing.

“She was a highly respected and beloved member of staff who will be greatly missed by all her colleagues and students at Western Cape College and Port Douglas State School, where she had most recently been teaching,” the spokesman said.


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